Car prices slashed as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Blue 4WD with bike on roof driving through forrest

Tim Nicholson

Posted May 27, 2020

If you’re ready to buy, now is the ideal time to save thousands on a new car.

The coronavirus outbreak and economic fallout has prompted a lot of people to take a long hard look at their finances and reconsider big purchases. For many, the prospect of buying a new car at the moment simply isn’t feasible. But for those who are ready to buy, now is an excellent time to be looking for a new set of wheels. (More: Australia's Best Cars for 2019)

A few factors have combined to make it a buyer’s market, most notably, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government regulations to help limit the spread have kept most of us inside for the past couple of months. In that time, online shopping for groceries, food and clothes has soared, but customers have stayed away in droves from car showrooms, even though most dealerships remained open throughout.

That resulted in a 48.5 per cent decline in new-vehicle sales in April compared with the same month in 2019 – the biggest monthly drop since sales figures were first recorded in 1991. May sales figures were little better, showing a 35.3 per cent drop on last May’s sales.

New car sales in Australia had already been falling before the COVID crisis, with May marking the 26th consecutive monthly decline. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries blames falls on “environmental, economic and political factors, along with tight credit lending restrictions”.

At the same time, some manufacturers had an oversupply of vehicles on the ground in Australia before the pandemic struck, which has also caused issues for dealers.

The good news is dealers are open for business and have put in several measures to ensure the safety of customers and employees. (Plus: How car manufacturers are helping the fight against COVID-19.)

Many brands have introduced contactless servicing – some will even pick up and drop off your car for you. 

Some manufacturers have ramped up their online presence to minimise time spent in the showroom. Audi, for instance, has launched an online buying tool for its entire model range, while Subaru has online buying for its range and contactless new-vehicle delivery. 

All of this shows that dealers are keen for business and, depending on what you’re looking for, you could save yourself thousands right now. In fact, it should be a good time to buy for a few months yet, especially with the usual flurry of discounting around end-of-financial-year sales. 

You’d be hard pressed to find a manufacturer that doesn’t have special offers or discounts at the moment – and that includes some of the premium brands.  

Remember to drive a bargain. Sales staff are keen to move stock and will be willing to negotiate. Ask if they can throw in some extras for no additional cost, such as floor mats, an extended warranty, or an upgraded audio system. It never hurts to ask.  

It’s also an excellent time to buy used cars, with many dealers offering special deals to win your business. 

Here are some of the best deals on new cars currently in market. Happy shopping.

Car parked on road beside the ocean.

Toyota Kluger GX 2WD.

Best car deals on the market right now

Small cars and SUVs

Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Trendline auto  

The all-new Golf Mk 8 is expected in showrooms before the end of the year which means Volkswagen has some hot deals on the outgoing model. 

  • Usual recommended retail price: $27,390 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs. 
  • Current price: $26,990 driveaway no more to pay. 

Nissan Qashqai ST-L 2WD auto  

Nissan has a number of deals on its super-popular Qashqai small SUV. 

  • Usual recommended retail price: $34,000 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs. 
  • Current price: $34,990 driveaway no more to pay. 

Suzuki Vitara Turbo 2WD auto  

Another small SUV contender is the under-rated Suzuki Vitara. 

  • Usual recommended retail price: $29,990 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs. 
  • Current price: $29,990 driveaway no more to pay.

Renault Zoe Intens  

Considering going electric? The Renault Zoe battery-electric small hatch is currently offered with a free wall charger and standard installation, as well as a five-year/150,000-kilometre warranty. 

  • Usual recommended retail price: $49,490 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs. 
  • Current price: $49,990 driveaway no more to pay.


Medium family cars and SUVs

Hyundai Tucson Active X 2WD auto 

The Tucson is up there with the best in the medium-SUV class.

  • Usual recommended retail price: $35,140 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs.
  • Current price: $34,340 driveaway no more to pay.

Kia Sportage SX 2WD auto 

The Tucson’s mechanically related cousin, Kia’s Sportage, is another reliable pick among mid-size SUVs and Kia’s permanent seven-year warranty is a big lure.

  • Usual recommended retail price: $32,490 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs.
  • Current price: $32,690 driveaway no more to pay.

Mercedes-Benz C200 Sport Edition auto 

If you’re feeling fancy, the Mercedes-Benz C200 Sport Edition sedan has a bunch of options like head-up display, AMG body kit and more thrown in. Benz says its offer represents an overall saving of $9000.

  • Usual recommended retail price: $65,800 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs.
  • Current price: $67,800 driveaway no more to pay.

Large family cars and SUVs

Toyota Kluger GX 2WD 

The Toyota Kluger is one of Australia’s top-selling large SUVs and, with an all-new version expected early next year, the current model is in runout mode.

  • Usual recommended retail price: $44,850 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs.
  • Current price: $41,990 driveaway no more to pay.

Mazda CX-9 Sport 2WD 

Excellent seven-seat family SUV that is the driver’s pick of the segment.

  • Usual recommended retail price: $45,920 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs.
  • Current price: $45,990 driveaway no more to pay.

Ford Everest Trend 3.2L 4x4 

If you need a family hauler that can go off-road, the very capable Everest is one of the best money can buy.

  • Usual recommended retail price: $60,890 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs.
  • Current price: $60,990 driveaway no more to pay.


Silver car driving along road with ocean in the background.

Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Trendline auto.


Isuzu D-Max LS-U dual-cab 4x4 auto  

An all-new D-Max is on the horizon, but Isuzu Ute has some cracking deals on the outgoing model. 

  • Usual recommended retail price: $50,990 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs. 
  • Current price: $47,990 driveaway no more to pay. 

Toyota HiLux SR5 dual-cab 4x4 auto  

Winner of its category in last year’s Australia’s Best Cars Awards, the HiLux SR5 is now offered at a hefty discount. 

  • Usual recommended retail price: $57,240 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs. 
  • Current price: $53,990 driveaway no more to pay. 

Mitsubishi Triton GLX single-cab 2WD manual  

If you’re after a pure workhorse, this Triton represents outstanding value and comes with a seven-year warranty for a limited time. 

  • Usual recommended retail price: $33,240 plus approximately $4000 on-road costs. 
  • Current price: $24,990 driveaway no more to pay 


Tim’s top tips for bagging a bargain

  • Check discounts. Use the ‘offers’ tabs on manufacturer and car-yard websites.
  • Talk to dealers in person. Online discounts are conservative because sellers don’t want to seem desperate, so start a conversation in the showroom about better deals. 
  • Ask for the best price and more. If you can’t get a cash discount ask for extras like a longer warranty, free servicing or lower finance rates. 
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle. Sales staff expect it. 
  • Wrangle extras. Ask for extra safety features like front and/or rear parking sensors and lane-keeping aids or comfort features like a digital radio, leather seats, heated seats, automatic climate control, tinted glass or a sunroof. 
  • Make it fun. Be cheeky and suggest throwing in a snorkel or kayak for your getaway vehicle.