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Best Value Medium Cars 2015

07 Oct 2015 Car Advice

Best Value Medium Cars 2015

Kia finishes on top with spectacular fuel economy; Volkswagen leads a diverse premium field.

These are the medium cars that should cost you the least to own over three years. This has been calculated by Wheels using fuel economy, maintenance and insurance costs, and the sum you can expect to lose in depreciation. Cars also get points for the length of their warranties. To read about the brains behind the formula, please click here to visit Wheels.


1. Kia Optima Si


THE Optima finishes on top, not with brilliant resale (though its 58 percent figure is rock-solid) nor with spectacular fuel economy (it’s actually among the thirstier cars in the class at 7.9L/100km). And, while the 12-month service interval is as long as any (and longer than some), it’s no better than the second-placed Hyundai’s.

How did the Korean mid-sizer do it, then? Kia’s industry-best seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty did the bulk of the work by giving it the full 10 points available in this regard, which few cars (and no rivals) earned, but even if the Optima had a five-year warranty, like the Hyundai i40, it would still come first, so its value fundamentals are sound.

Had both cars come with three-year warranties, they would be relegated to the middle of the field; still good picks overall, but no longer placegetters. So, how much is a long warranty worth, anyway? Well, in something as undoubtedly dependable as a Kia, perhaps not that much in real dollar terms, but the peace of mind it affords is priceless.

2. Hyundai i40 Active sedanundefined

3. Subaru Liberty 2.5i



Medium Cars under $45K Kia Optima Si Hyundai i40 Active sedan Subaru Liberty 2.5i auto sedan
Purchase Price $31,490 $31,990 $29,990
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 7.9 7.5 7.3
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 91 91 91
Three-year fuel cost $4509 $4281 $4167
Redbook resale (%) 57.9 53.3 63.9
Three-year depreciation $13,257 $14,939 $10,826
AAMI insurance premium $958 $960 $845
Service interval (months) 12 12 6
Warranty (years) 7 5 3


1. VW Passat 118TSI


Where once base-model money bought you a badge and not much else, the Volkswagen Passat proves you can get a cracking little engine and decent equipment for the money. The 1.8-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder is responsive, smooth and characterful, and uses only 7.2L/100km, which is brilliant for a brisk 1500kg sedan (or wagon). Yet it’s the Passat’s reasonable purchase price combined with a decent 59 percent three-year resale figure that does the bulk of the money-saving.

2. Citroen DS5 DSport HDi


3. Infiniti Q50 GT 2.2dundefined

Premium Medium Cars $45K-$60K Volkswagen Passat 118TSI sedan Citroen DS5 DSport HDi Infiniti Q50 GT 2.2d
Purchase Price $38,990 $51,990 $51,900
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 7.2 6.1 5.2
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 95 D D
Three-year fuel cost $4376 $3687 $3143
Redbook resale (%) 58.6 58.1 53.4
Three-year depreciation $16,142 $21,784 $24,185
AAMI insurance premium $1023 $1207 $1202
Service interval (months) 12 12 12
Warranty (years) 3 6 4