If you’re planning on visiting New Zealand for a few months or more, it makes sense to buy an SUV, right? After all, it’s a great way to cut down on your transportation budget. Even though purchasing an SUV is not the most exciting part of your trip, it may turn out to be one of the most important decisions that you’ll make during your trip.

There are lots of SUV models that you can purchase in New Zealand. Recently, there’s been a mass import of Japanese-made SUVs. However, there’s a wide range of other SUVs available for sale.

Most Kiwis prefer to buy Toyotas RAV4s or Toyota Hilux, so it makes sense that the Toyota brand is popular in New Zealand. Whether you’re looking for new or used SUVs, you’ll have access to different brands such as Nissan, Honda, and Subaru.

If you are looking for the cheapest SUVs, you will get them in the ’90s for prices that range between $3000 and $4000. However, the most expensive SUVs are in brands like Ford or Subaru.

The 4WD vehicles also have more value, hence, you will find it easier to buy them when looking for a travel vehicle. This then begs the question, which is better, a non-4WD SUV or a 4WD vehicle?

It will depend on your preference. But keep in mind that the 4WD will give you the option of crossing ‘The 90 miles beach’ or the exploration of other roads, while a non-4WD will not.

Some of the SUV brands that have joined the growing market in Auckland include Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Volkswagen. Nevertheless, the brand name of your SUV isn’t as important as its capabilities.

Everyone’s nightmare is buying an SUV only to discover that it’s a shell of what they thought they purchased. In New Zealand, such a car is referred to as “a lemon.”

But, this isn’t the kind you can make lemonade with. The car you buy has the potential to make or break your vacation, so you want to be as careful as possible with the choice you make.

Since you’re likely to part with hundreds -or even thousands – of dollars to buy an SUV, you should know how to avoid a devastating scenario. Here are some of our best tips to ensure that you get the most out of your used car purchase.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Most people don’t consider the fact that they’ll have to sell off the car once it’s time to leave. When buying a car, consider its resale cost; if you can’t afford to lose the amount of money you have to pay for the car, then the best thing to do is not buy it.

Also, you’re taking a risk by purchasing a used car. Therefore, you don’t know the vehicle’s history, so it’s best to take some time to inspect it before you sign the paperwork.

Where to Buy A Used SUV

There are different ways you can purchase an SUV in Auckland. The Ellerslie Car Fair in Auckland is one of the largest in NZ. If you don’t want to walk around a car fair looking for a car, there are various other options, such as car dealerships, newspaper classifieds, or other car auctions.

The Car Inspection

Before you take any action on the paperwork for your used car, you have to make sure that you evaluate the car’s condition. Try to inspect on a sunny day to assess the actual state of your purchase.

There’s a lot that the seller will show you, but you want to check every inch of the car to ensure that there aren’t any hidden damages that you sign up for unknowingly.

Before you do the inspection, make sure that you create a list of the things you want to look out for. Here’s what you should check:

-Vehicle History
-Paint or Rust damage
-Issues with the car frame or the undercarriage.
-Check under the hood of the SUV for corrosion, leaks, discoloration, and cracked hoses
-Condition of the tires
-The mileage of the car
-Electronics such as air conditioning, heat, and the radio
-Ask for a mechanic inspection
-Test drive the car

Evaluate The Paperwork

Whether you choose to buy the car after doing the above inspection or “as is, where is”, you have to ensure that your SUV has a Warrant of Fitness. This sticker lets you know that the SUV is in the right condition to drive on NZ roads. 

The sticker will also include the date of the next Warrant Of Fitness, so you can tell when it’s due before you buy the car. If you buy the vehicle on an “as is” basis, ensure that you take it right away to an inspection station or a garage, so you can get the WOF.

Car Registration

Car registration is also known as road tax. It’s displayed on the windscreen of your SUV, just like WOF. You can renew the registration of your SUV online or at any VTNZ or post office.

Before You Sign The Dotted Line

As we mentioned earlier, you must do a car inspection before you conclude the purchase. If you can’t do it on your own, you can ask for a professional appraisal before buying a used SUV. Many garages can do this for you.

Once you book the assessment at a garage of your choice, you and the seller will get a report that shows you the kind of repairs needed for the car.

Doing an inspection and checking the history of the vehicle will help you to know whether the SUV has issues like:

– Money still owed on it
– Whether anyone has reported it stolen
– Whether it has an inconsistent odometer

After The Purchase

Once you purchase the SUV, both you and the seller will have to send a notification to the NZTA (New Zealand Transport Agency). This report is sent immediately after the transaction is complete. It is a simple process that you can do online with the guidance of your seller.

Car Insurance

Surprisingly, New Zealand doesn’t have any strict rules about car insurance. It isn’t compulsory to have it. However, it’s always best to ensure that you’re covered in case of any accidents. It would help if you got third-party insurance, so you’re covered if you damage other cars or yours.

Before You Drive Your New Car

Ensure you’re aware of New Zealand road rules. Driving in New Zealand may differ from what you’re used to in your part of the world. So, you have to consider things such as narrow roads, weather extremities, or different road rules.


Regardless of the SUV brand that you choose to go with, there are some essential aspects that you should consider. If you are a tourist in NZ, you will require an international driver’s license and learn how to drive on the left side of the road. Ensure that you are well-rested before you put your SUV on the road.

The roads in New Zealand are different from other countries, so you have to be alert.