Iconic Australian large cars, tough four-door sedans and wagons featuring 6cyl engines and rear wheel drive, are disappearing. Sales are declining and within the next two years the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore, as we have known them, will be gone.
Replacing them are 4cyl front wheel drive vehicles from a wide range of manufacturers. Following a curious formula where every new model is wider and longer than its predecessor, the current crop of so-called mid-size cars are in fact delivering comparable levels of five-seater comfort and accommodation with the advantage of sophisticated smaller capacity engines delivering good performance and fuel economy.
This year has seen a string of new or upgraded vehicles, poised to take advantage of this shift, and we’ve selected five mid-spec, volume-selling models, evenly matched on price and mechanical specification. These models are popular among private buyers, as opposed to corporate fleet sales. The comparison table provides the statistics, so here we’re focused on their individual characteristics and appeal.
In essence they’re all 4dr, five-seaters, with 4cyl petrol engines suitable for standard 91 RON fuel and driving the front wheels via a 6spd automatic transmission. All are five star ANCAP safety rated and being mid-range they all feature the convenience of smart key operation, electric seats with height and lumbar adjustment, steering reach and tilt plus audio/cruise controls, trip computer, dual zone climate control, light-sensing headlamps, voice activated audio streaming and reversing camera.
Indeed, comparing them, it’s easier to highlight what is missing.