Mo­tion ver­sus emo­tion

Herald Sun - Motoring - - WHICH CAR? - CHRIS RI­LEY KICKS THE TYRES FOR A READER

THE QUES­TION

Could you help me de­cide which car to buy? I do about 20,000km a year and am con­sid­er­ing up­dat­ing my seven-year-old car. The cars I’m con­sid­er­ing are Mazda6 GT, Toy­ota Camry Atara S Hy­brid and Kia Op­tima GT.

Lynn Bray­ley

They’re all good choices. The Kia is most pow­er­ful while the Camry Hy­brid is not sur­pris­ingly the most eco­nom­i­cal. How­ever, buy­ing a car never comes down to these things alone. Most buy­ers in this seg­ment are look­ing for an all-rounder, some­thing that’s com­fort­able, with de­cent per­for­mance and econ­omy. Take each for a drive and com­pare them for value but at the end of the day you’ll prob­a­bly take home the one you’re at­tracted to.

CHOICES Mazda6 GT, from $42,690

A classy con­tender by any mea­sure. There’s even a diesel if you’re look­ing for su­per econ­omy, not that the four drinks heav­ily. The stylish 6 sports a Euro look and feel, with the se­cu­rity blan­ket of a Ja­panese build. Its 2.5-litre four (138kW/250Nm), paired with a six-speed auto, claims 6.6L/ 100km. War­ranty is three years/ 100,000km and ser­vice in­ter­val is 12 months/10,000km. Capped ser­vic­ing costs $1415 for three years/40,000km.

Toy­ota Camry Atara SL Hy­brid, from $40,440

Cheap to run and ser­vice. This car has re­ally come of age, with a more sub­stan­tial feel and qui­eter, more up­mar­ket cabin. The only down­side is that is that when you put your foot down it sounds like a vac­uum cleaner with some­thing stuck in the noz­zle. The 2.5-litre four and elec­tric mo­tor (151kW com­bined) and CVT claim 5.2L/100km. War­ranty is three years/100,000 and ser­vice in­ter­val is nine months/15,000km. Capped ser­vic­ing is $560 for three years/45,000km.

Kia Op­tima GT, from $43,990

Drop-dead good looks with per­for­mance to match. Gets up and boo­gies thanks to 2.0-litre turbo 180kW/350Nm) turn­ing a six-speed auto but it’s pricey. Ser­vic­ing ev­ery six months/ 7500km can be a pain. Power comes with thirst and it uses 8.5L/100km. War­ranty is seven years/un­lim­ited km but capped price ser­vic­ing is ex­pen­sive at $1734 for three years/45,000km.

WILD­CARD VW Pas­sat 132TSI, from $39,990

A 2015 Car of the Year fi­nal­ist, the Pas­sat is stylish, roomy and de­serves more recog­ni­tion. The 1.8 turbo (132kW/250Nm), paired with a seven-speed twin clutch auto, de­liv­ers punchy per­for­mance and ex­cel­lent econ­omy — 6.0L/ 100km. War­ranty is three years/ un­lim­ited km and ser­vice in­ter­val is 12 months/15,000km. Capped ser­vic­ing ins’t cheap at $1721 for three years/45,000km.

THE VER­DICT

It’s not on your list but the Pas­sat gets our vote. You could de­scribe it as Europe’s an­swer to the Camry, which is no crit­i­cism. It shines the bright­est in a field of stars.

VW PAS­SAT

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