When it comes to buying a brand-new car, shopping on a budget doesn't have to be a lacklustre experience. In fact, if you know where to look, you can easily snag yourself a pretty sweet ride without even coming close to breaking the bank.
Here's a list of our top picks under $45,000.
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0L Manual
From around $42,980*
Picture indicative only - actual vehicle may differ. Picture source: www.mazda.com.au
Mazda MX-5 has always been famous for delivering a classic, wind-through-your-hair driving experience. But in early 2017, the iconic Japanese brand took things up a gear with the release of a stunning new retractable fastback that has forever changed the roadster aesthetic.
With its hard-top roof, nimble handling and Premium Bose audio, this car is the perfect choice for anyone looking to travel down Australia's most famous roads with the top down and the volume up. We're jealous of you already!
Also... Having won several awards, including the 2016 World Car of the Year and the World Car Design of the Year, the MX-5 Soft-Top is another great alternative.
2017 Honda Civic Hatch VTi-LX 1.5L Auto
From around $37,661*
Picture indicative only - actual vehicle may differ. Picture source: www.bmw.com.au
Without a doubt, $40K is a lot to spend on a hatchback. But, if you've got the money and you want a car that not only looks great but delivers class-leading performance, this is the one for you. Honda has invested a lot into developing this hatchback, and (thankfully) it's paid off.
Not only does it handle beautifully, it comes with a range of amazing driver technologies and features Honda's first ever 127kw VTEC Turbo Engine. It even boasts a 5-Star ANCAP Safety Rating and a multi-angle rear-view camera. What could be better than that?
If you're looking for something with a bit more character, the Mini Cooper D 5-Door Hatch is a real winner. It's sleek, fun and full of cheeky charm.
2018 New Golf Wagon 110TDI Highline 2.0L
From around $41,187*
Picture indicative only - actual vehicle may differ. Picture source: www.volkswagen.com.au
When it comes to buying a car that meets the needs of everyone in your family, it's not always easy to get right. Sure, you want something spacious, cost-efficient, and safe. But aren't you also looking for something sleek, stylish and easy on the eye?
Well, of course you are, which is why we're showing you this European beauty. Not only does it come with all the standard family features you'd expect - big boot, child seat fixtures, dual climate control etc. - it also comes with the option of some pretty exciting extras.
For example, the Driver Assistance package includes a range of smart features that make long family road trips easier than ever. Think, Adaptive Cruise Control, Park Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring.
It also features awesome LED headlights and a range of stylish finishing touches, like chrome inserts and a sporty radiator grille at the front.
If you're looking for something a little more understated, we recommend a new Holden Equinox. It's not fancy in any way, but it does get the job done and then some.
2018 Holden Colorado 4X4 Single Cab Chassis LS 2.8L Manual
From around $43,163*
Picture indicative only - actual vehicle may differ. Picture source www.holden.com.au
Where would Australia be without its beloved 4X4 ute? For generations, the thrill of off-road driving has defined our cultural experience, and nothing says rough and ready like the Holden Colorado Single Cab.
With its electric power steering, a 3.5-tonne towing capacity and advanced infotainment that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you'll have everything you need to get out there in style.
Plus, with a couple of Ks left in your budget, you could even go the extra mile with a range of rugged accessories that'll help make it unmistakably yours.
If you're looking for something a bit more upmarket, you could go with the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class. It might be slightly out of your budget, with models starting at $45,450*, but if you are looking for a way to treat yourself, this might be it.
Picture indicative only - actual vehicle may differ. Picture source www.mercedes-benz.com
*Listed prices are a guide only and on-road costs will vary depending on your state or territory. Contact your local dealer for more information.