Sedans under $50k
It’s a category that used to be one of Australia’s most popular, but the mid-budget sedan is definitely on the wane. That says more about the public’s increasing preference for SUVs, if anything, because the sedan segment is still inhabited by plenty of high-quality product with a great blend of performance, space and practicality. The $30-50K bracket is also where we start to see luxury badges appear, albeit at a size class smaller than what you’ll find from mainstream marques at the same price.
The Camry is a top-seller, and for good reason. It’s a sharp value buy from a metal-for-your-money point of view, but it’s also a fine-handling car with solid mechanicals. A grunty V6 option is priced below the $40K mark, but it’s the range-topping SL Hybrid that’s our pick of the range for its superb efficiency and refinement.
Yep, the Commmodore may no longer be built within our borders, but its Euro-sourced replacement is still a quality car that provides a huge cabin and good value. In the RS V6 grade, it also totes a powerful V6 to help get you moving, and still possesses that ‘big car’ feeling that made previous generations of Commodore so great as family sedans.
It’s no bigger on the inside than the regular Impreza, but the WRX puts a stout 197kW turbo engine and grippy all-wheel drive underpinnings into a compact sedan bodyshell. With almost every other performance car in the price bracket being a five-door hatch, the WRX’s four-door sedan bodystyle gives it a unique point of difference.
It’s getting on in age, but the Mazda 6 is still one of the classiest cars in the medium sedan segment from a design standpoint. Best enjoyed in GT grade, which sits a few thousand dollars below the Atenza flagship but boasts most of the same standard equipment, the Mazda 6 puts you in a high-end interior for much less money than a luxury-badged equivalent.
Big and plush, the Liberty is a quasi-limousine that delivers plenty of sprawling space. Our pick is the flat-six powered 3.6R, not because it’s powerful, but because its effortless feel on the road is the most in keeping with its relaxed nature. Oh, and all-wheel drive is standard, giving the Liberty a safe and secure grip on the road even in poor weather.
Not too dissimilar to the Liberty in its intent, but with a thick serving of European sophistication and refinement to help it feel even more limousine-like than the Subaru. It’s more expensive though, and with the range straddling the $50K mark your best option below that number is the mid-strength Passat 132TSI Comfortline.
An all-new product for Benz, the A-Class sedan is a more practically-proportioned alternative to the company’s other small four-door, the CLA-Class. With the same equipment fit as its hatchback brother – including Mercedes-Benz’s impressive MBUX infotainment suite – and a slick turbo petrol powertrain, the A200 is affordable way to put a premium sedan in your driveway.
Like the WRX, the Octavia RS245 wraps a fairly sedate sedan body around a mechanical package with potent performance. Stellar dynamics combined with a well-built interior and fat standard equipment list make the RS245 not just a good hot hatch alternative, but a great choice full stop.