TRY THESE ON FOR MID-SIZE

Sedans may have lost their lus­tre but they still make sense for fam­i­lies

Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - MOTORING - PAUL GOVER

THE QUES­TION

I drive a 2003 RX25 Subaru Lib­erty sedan. I like the feel, drive and re­li­a­bil­ity of the Subaru. The large boot is a plus. The only down­side, for the mo­ment, is the two child-car seats in the back don’t al­low much room for an adult to sit com­fort­ably in the mid­dle. Would you rec­om­mend buy­ing an­other Lib­erty, or is there an­other Subaru you’d rec­om­mend? Oth­er­wise, what al­ter­na­tives to this brand and or model could you rec­om­mend.

Ni­cole Bilic, email AN­SWER

The pop­u­lar­ity of medium-sized cars has fallen dra­mat­i­cally, with most peo­ple now jump­ing into an SUV or smaller car. Yet there are some truly classy mid-sized cars, from the Ford Mon­deo through to the VW Pas­sat. The Subaru Lib­erty is still a strong con­tender but you’ll pay more for the stan­dard all-wheel drive, which many peo­ple won’t ap­pre­ci­ate de­spite the slight boost to driv­ing se­cu­rity and safety. The Pas­sat is ex­cel­lent, but even the cheap­est model starts at $35,490 and that will mean a big “sticker shock” when you go to a show­room with a 14year-old car as a po­ten­tial trade-in. Take your car seats with you to the show­room to en­sure you get the back-seat space you need.

CHOICES HYUNDAI SONATA, ABOUT $27,990 DRIVE-AWAY

It’s not the best car in the class, and is of­ten over­looked, but is ex­cel­lent value with the big cabin you need and a five-star ANCAP safety rating. The ba­sic car still comes with a 2.4-litre petrol en­gine and six-speed gear­box, with rea­son­able fuel use of 8.3 litres/100km. Hyundai is run­ning a drive-away deal that in­cludes a year of free com­pre­hen­sive in­sur­ance.

MAZDA6, ABOUT $36,105 DRIVE-AWAY

Prob­a­bly not the one to buy, with a pre­mium price tag, but def­i­nitely good to test drive as the bench­mark for your other choices. The Mazda6 is typ­i­cal of the brand, with a classy de­sign and cabin fin­ishes, plenty of stan­dard equip­ment and a quiet and re­laxed drive. The 2.5-litre en­gine comes with im­pres­sive 6.6L/100km econ­omy.

SUBARU LIB­ERTY, ABOUT $34,156 DRIVE-AWAY

The Lib­erty is still a stout con­tender but show­ing its age and not sched­uled yet for the to­tal over­haul that’s im­proved the Im­preza and XV. Its price is well above the value lead­ers but the brand has a rock-solid rep­u­ta­tion and many peo­ple are com­mit­ted to the sig­na­ture all­wheel drive. It will be a mas­sive ad­vance on your old Lib­erty.

WILD­CARD TOY­OTA CAMRY, ABOUT $26,990 DRIVE-AWAY

There is ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong with the Camry. It will still be built in Aus­tralia for a lit­tle while yet and that means the value has never been bet­ter. Safety and econ­omy are good, the car is en­gi­neered and tuned for Aus­tralian roads and driv­ers, and the 2.5-litre en­gine and six-speed auto are slick and de­liver 7.9L/100km econ­omy.

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