The Best Cars You Can Afford On A Low-Income Salary [Infographic]

The Best Cars You Can Afford On A Low-Income Salary [Infographic]

Most of us will never be able to afford our dream car – the high end of the market is just too damn expensive. However, that doesn’t mean you need to drive around in an old bomb. As this infographic demonstrates, even people on the minimum wage can afford a surprisingly swish ride.

Car loan provider Simplr recently surveyed 1250 Australians aged 18-65+ and asked them what car they thought someone earning the minimum wage would be able to afford. A whopping 90 per cent of respondents vastly underestimated what was achievable. (The most popular answer was the 2011 Ford Fiesta, which is worth roughly half of a sensible maximum budget.)

Based on financial advice suggesting to spend about 15 per cent of your weekly earnings on transport, you can actually afford a 2010 Mazda RX-8 on a salary of just $35,000. Other options that are technically affordable include the BMW Z4 (2007) and Mini Roadster Cooper S (2012.)

Of course, just because you can ‘technically’ afford something doesn’t mean you should buy it. Simplr clearly has a vested interest in making people borrow as much money as possible. If your heart is set on one of these cars, you should probably speak to a financial advisor before applying for a loan.

You can check out the full infographic below, which also includes affordable “dream cars” for other wage brackets.

If you don’t like the look of any of these cars, you can apply the 15 per cent principle to any model you want – just be sure to factor public transport, tolls, insurance and petrol into your calculations.



  • Think about the maintenance costs too. I used to have a premium German car (at the time it was 7 years old) and it was a PITA to get affordable parts and service especially if the part is electronic.

  • Audi A3 on 80K salary??

    I’m looking at buying a car now, and an Audi A3 which can be close to 60K with some extras is not a good idea. A 370Z costs even more…

    A good early estimate I find, is to look for cars priced (driveaway) at no more than ~50-60% of 1 year of your salary. So if you have a 40K salary you should look for a car no more than 25K…That way, with financing, you’ll have a bit of room for other things in life.

  • Wow, that Simplr article takes sound financial advice and twists it to try and make their business look good! Spending 10-15% of your income on a car is sound advice. Taking out a 5 year loan to artificially inflate those numbers is an irresponsible waste of money.

    The cheapest 2010 RX-8 advertised on Carsales right now is $16,000. That’s 46% of the minimum wage salary, not 15%.

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