Looking for a used car that's safe and affordable? We’ve made it easy for you.

Buying a used car, either as a first car or a second car for families can be a really cost-effective option - not only can you afford a better model but you don't instantly lose thousands off the value as soon as you drive it away.

But even on a budget we strongly recommend buying the safest car you can to ensure you have as much protection as possible in a crash.

Using the annual Used Car Safety Ratings Guide, we’ve found 10 cars with a 5-star safety rating that are priced under $10,000*.

RELATED: How to choose a used car that won't let you down »

Audi A3 (2004-2013) From $5,000

Audi A3

Pros: Well-featured and refined interior, now fully depreciated. Great to drive, especially sports models.
Cons: Potential for maintenance to have been skimped on.

BMW 1 Series (2004-2013) From $6,000

BMW 1 Series

Pros: Economical, good handling, well equipped, refined.
Cons: Cost of car parts and maintenance. Tyres may be more expensive than in mainstream cars.

Nissan Pathfinder (2005-2018) From $9,000

Nissan Pathfinder

Pros: Proven mechanicals in earlier models. Reasonable off-road ability.
Cons: In later models, CVT reliability and thirsty V6 petrol engine.

Nissan X-Trail (2007-2014) From $8,500

Nissan X-Trail

Pros: Affordable, good selection of vehicles in used market.
Cons: Basic interior, engine noise due to CVT transmission.

BMW 5 Series (2003-2010) From $7,500

BMW 5 Series

Pros: Interior refinement, good performance, great handling for vehicle size.
Cons: Higher maintenance costs compared to mainstream cars. May be difficult to sell later.

Kia Carnival  (2006-2011)  From $6,000

Kia Carnival

Pros: Hugely spacious, flexible interior. Affordable.
Cons: Fuel consumption on petrol models. Interior can wear quickly.

Ford Mondeo (2007-2015) From $5,000

Ford Mondeo

Pros: Spacious, especially the wagons. Diesels are efficient, great alternative to a large SUV.
Cons: Servicing diesels can be pricey, lack of cruise control on some models, drab interior.

Holden Commodore VF  (2013-2017) From $9,900

Holden Commodore

Pros: Plenty of room inside, excellent handling.
Cons: V6 engine can be coarse, technology beginning to age.

Mitsubishi Triton (2006-2015) From $7,000

Mitsubishi Triton

Pros: Good value. Hardy, but simple interior materials.
Cons: Coarse engine in earlier models.

Subaru Liberty/Outback (2010-2014) From $9,000

Subaru Liberty

Pros: Full-time all-wheel drive. Outback does SUV job without looking like one. 
Cons: CVT can cause excessive engine noise, on-time servicing essential with these engines.

*Prices sourced from publicly available used car listings in February 2021.

Last updated: February 2021

Why we only insure safer cars

The safer the car you drive, the better the potential outcome in a crash. That's why RAC only insures or finances cars manufactured from 2012 and upwards with a 4 or 5-star ANCAP rating.

We want to help make WA roads safer for everyone.

Safer Cars