Australia’s most wanted used cars for 2020

A red Toyota HiLux ute parked on a grassy hill

Tim Nicholson

Posted January 28, 2021

As used-car sales boomed in 2020, tough off-roaders led the pack.

The global pandemic and resulting restrictions have changed a lot of people's plans for 2021. As international borders remain closed, an Australian adventure has replaced the overseas sojourn as The Big Trip for 2021. And many people are using the money they might have spent on international flights to buy a vehicle that can tow a caravan – or a boat for that matter – and explore a little closer to home.

Data released by used car classified site Gumtree Cars reveals that some of the most searched cars are capable off-road wagons and utes, suggesting that Australians are itching to hit the open road.

According to Gumtree, the most searched-for vehicle in the three months to September was the rugged Toyota LandCruiser 4x4 wagon. Long a favourite for buyers in remote and rural areas due to its unbeatable reliability, it's also one of the best towing vehicles on the market.

The LandCruiser is the second highest selling 4x4 wagon on the Australian new car market, but with prices starting at around $80,000 up to $125,000 for a new model, it's no surprise there's so much interest in picking up a cheaper second-hand version.

As well as LandCruiser, a few other capable off-roaders also landed in Gumtree's most searched for list for the period between June and September. Nissan's Patrol 4x4 wagon, a direct rival to the LandCruiser and another popular choice for towing was the fourth most searched used car, while the Toyota LandCruiser Prado ranked seventh in Gumtree's figures. Gumtree says Prado searches spiked 20 per cent in the first nine months of 2020, compared to a 13 per cent increase for LandCruiser searches.

Front side view of a white Toyota LandCruiser Prado towing a caravan on a country road

Many people are using money saved on international trips to buy a vehicle that can tow a caravan.


Utes also attracted plenty of interest, with Toyota's HiLux ranking second in search volume and the Ford Ranger ranking eighth. These two are the top picks for tradies, but they’re also very capable off road and can tow up to 3500kg.

Aside from road-trip friendly off-roaders, there's also a lot of love on Gumtree for recently departed Aussie classics. The Holden Commodore, which was discontinued in 2019, just months before General Motors shut down the Holden brand for good, was the third most searched car. The Ford Falcon, which disappeared in 2016 when Ford shut its Australian factories, with the sixth most searched model.

Subaru’s sporty WRX sedan has been a favourite of performance car fans for 25 years and its enduring popularity puts it ninth on the most searched used car list.

Surprisingly, the only SUV on the list, apart from the big 4x4 wagons, is Toyota's RAV4 in tenth spot. Given that SUVs now account for about half of all new vehicle sales, it's surprising more soft roaders don't feature in the top 10.


Front side view of a red Holden Commodore parked on a large area of tarmac

The Commodore is the third most searched car, despite being discontinued by Holden late last year.


Less surprising is the fact that Toyota was the most searched brand overall on Gumtree, with searches increasing 22 per cent in the first nine months of 2020. The Japanese motoring goliath also tops the new car sales charts. Rounding out the top five most searched used car brands were Ford, Holden, Nissan and Mazda.

Rising demand for second-hand cars has also boosted prices. According to Gumtree the average list price of used cars on the site increased by 16 per cent last year compared to 2019.

Gumtree Cars spokesperson David Low says the increased demand for used cars has been fuelled by the impacts of COVID-19 as people reassess their transport needs due to changing attitudes to public transport and new working arrangements.

"With many Australian organisations still encouraging flexible working solutions, there is an opportunity for households to review the requirements of their vehicle and  upgrade if more space or comfort is required - whether that is for the daily commute or weekend road trips," he says.

"The second reason we are seeing is a change in financial circumstances whereby Aussies are downgrading a vehicle for extra cash or simply selling a vehicle that may be sitting idle and collecting dust."