For those needing some space for the family, without wanting to give up driver enjoyment, this segment is for you. We take a look at medium and premium medium cars, all under $60,000, to bring you the best value thank to Wheels 2016 Gold Star Cars.
BEST VALUE MEDIUM CARS UNDER $45,000
The Subaru Liberty is the whole package. As one of the cheaper options in its class ($29,990), it comes with more equipment than many of its rivals. As standard, the Liberty sedan receives dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, a reversing camera, leather steering wheels, a full size spare and metallic or pearl paint in nine different colours. It also includes Subaru’s EyeSight active safety suite; adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. Add to that its all-wheel drive system and you’ve got a lot of gear for a car that comes in under $30,000.
Without these features, the Liberty probably wouldn’t have taken top podium, because it’s got a six-month service interval and uses premium unleaded. But with all that gear and a fuel consumption figure of 7.3L/100km (not the thriftiest but also not the worst), it deserves top spot.
BEST VALUE PREMIUM MEDIUMS UNDER $60,000
It all came down to price, equipment level and power for the two German rivals, The Volkswagen Passat and the Audi A4. The Passat 140 TDI Highline and the Audi A4 1.4 TFSI Sport aren’t exactly equal. The Passat is at the high end of the model range ($47,490) and still costs $8,000 less than the base model A4 ($55,500).
So in buying the Passat, you’re getting more for less. Add to that the more powerful (150Nm and 30kW) and fuel efficient (4.8L/100km) 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine of the Passat and it’s got enough points to sit in gold position.
That’s not to say the other candidates aren’t still good value. The Audi A4 holds its worth thanks to a 59 percent three-year resale figure, while the Volvo S60 uses less fuel and costs less to insure than both the Audi and VW.