TRY THESE ON FOR MID-SIZE
Sedans may have lost their lustre but they still make sense for families
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.