Top Cars to Buy on a Budget

Shopping for new wheels on a modest budget? The good news is you can get quite a decent ride without breaking the bank – you just need to know which mid-range cars provide the best value for money.

Let’s take a look at some of the best budget cars to help you hit the road in style (and hopefully with some cash leftover in your pocket).

Category: Best Cheap Family Cars (Small)

Yes, it’s possible to spend less than $20,000 on a decent small car that’s suitable for couples and new parents. Shopping in this category, you’ll most likely land on a small hatchback such as:

  • Suzuki Swift
  • Mazda2
  • Toyota Yaris.

Technological advancements have made cars like these safer and tech-savvier than they once were, so your driving experience won’t feel that cheap.

Category: Best Cheap Family Cars (Medium)

Family in the Backseat | Cigno Loans

If you’ve got 2-3 kids to fit in the back, you’ll need a little more breathing room for family trips. These are some of the best cheap family cars that should be on your radar:

  • Ford Mondeo
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Toyota Camry.

There’s a significant price jump from small to medium cars, but you’ll still find plenty of options (such as those listed above) beneath the $60,000 line.

Category: Best Budget SUVs

Does your family play footy religiously or love regular camping trips? An SUV could be the ideal vehicle for you. And while this category greatly increases your storage space, there are still models available around the $25,000 mark. Some of the best budget SUVs include:

  • Honda HR-V
  • Mazda CX-3
  • Suzuki Jimmy.

Category: Best Budget 4X4s

Best Budget 4X4 | Cigno Loans

Got your sights set on some off-terrain travelling? The 4WD world can be an expensive one to dabble in – especially if you’re looking to buy a new vehicle. If you’re constrained by budget, you might be better off looking for a well-maintained used 4WD. Look for brands that have been tried and tested with positive recommendations from other 4X4 enthusiasts, such as:

  • Land Rover
  • Mitsubishi Pajero
  • Nissan Patrol.

The best budget 4X4 is a pre-loved model with reasonably low mileage and still in good condition, so it may take some hunting to find one that suits both your budget and your needs.

Category: Best Entry-Level Convertibles

You’ll rarely hear “convertible” and “budget” in the same sentence. Unfortunately, very few convertibles could be considered cheap, and you wouldn’t expect to see them on a list of the best budget cars. But if you’ve got your heart set on having your hair blow in the wind while you cruise down the street, there are some entry-level convertibles that cost less than you might expect.

Some moderately priced convertibles include:

  • Audi A3 Cabriolet
  • Fiat 500c
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata.

As this is a higher-priced car category, it’s worth considering how much you truly want a convertible – especially if your budget is a little restricted right now.

Is your preferred car just a little bit out of your financial reach? A small cash loan might help you cross the line and get onto the road. Apply today for a cash advance up to $1,000 and take one step closer to buying one of the best budget cars available.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.


Ordered by the Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has found that Cigno Australia Pty Ltd (Cigno Australia) and BSF Solutions Pty Ltd (BSF Solutions) have breached the law by engaging in unlicensed credit activity and charging prohibited fees.

In the period from July 2022 to 3 October 2023, over 100,000 consumers have been lent a total of $34 million, and charged fees of over $70 million, under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’ operated by BSF Solutions and Cigno Australia. At no time has either BSF Solutions or Cigno Australia held an Australian Credit Licence.

The Court also found that Mark Swanepoel (director of Cigno Australia) and Brenton James Harrison (director of BSF Solutions) were involved in these breaches of the law.

With effect from 24 May 2024, the Court has granted permanent injunctions preventing Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions from:

  • demanding, receiving or accepting fees or charges, including amounts of loan principal, from consumers in relation to credit provided under the ‘No Upfront Charge Model’; and
  • engaging in further credit activity pursuant to the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’, including by entering into new agreements with consumers, for so long as they do not hold an Australian Credit Licence.

Cigno Australia was ordered by the Court to, by 5th July 2024, send written communications to consumers who between July 2022 and December 2022 entered into agreements with Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’.

The Court will later determine whether (among other things) Cigno Australia and Mark Swanepoel ought to pay a pecuniary penalty in respect of this conduct, and whether Mark Swanepoel should be restrained from carrying on a business engaging in credit activity.

Cigno Australia, BSF Solutions, Mr Swanepoel and Mr Harrison intend to appeal the decision of the Court and have filed an application for leave to appeal. If the appeal is successful, some or all of the orders of the Federal Court of Australia may be set aside.

Where can you get more information?

Where to go for further support

You can access legal advice in your state at: Free legal advice –

If you are experiencing trouble with debt, or money worries in general, contact:

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or online chat (9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday).

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours) or their crisis support online chat or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) or their webchat