Best Medium Cars in 2015
Australia’s best cars 2015: Medium Car under $50,000
Winner: Kia Optima GT
The value Kia has packed into the upgraded Optima has helped it beat all comers this year. As well, Optima’s design and engineering have come of age and it can now genuinely be compared with the high-end Japanese makes.
Kia has got the performance, ride and handling pretty well right in Optima, thanks to the combination of the powerful turbo-petrol engine and 6spd auto (although this comes at the expense of fuel economy). Add an industry-leading seven-year transferable warranty and class-leading standard features and Optima is a winner.
Given Optima is the most expensive car in the class, Kia must get the quality right, and it starts with safety. The entire Optima range has active cruise control, lane- departure warning, high-beam assist and autonomous emergency braking. The GT adds blind-spot detection and rear-cross traffic alert. Other features such as heated and cooled leather seats, sat-nav with traffic information and a wireless Android phone charger complete the premium feel. Plus the cabin is rather quiet.
There’s good front and rear head and leg room. A wider opening allows access to quite a spacious boot, and there’s a full-sized spare wheel in the cargo area.
Kia Optima GT
Australia’s best cars 2015: Medium Car over $50,000
Winner: Mercedes Benz C200
Recent sales figures show buyers are willing to pay for a top-quality product, and that’s what they’re getting with Mercedes C 200. It gets the important things right, such as safety and fuel efficiency, sweetens the deal with class-leading standard features and then delivers a seamless drive.
Its safety features include nine airbags, blind-spot and attention assistance, and an active bonnet to reduce the severity of an impact with a pedestrian or cyclist.
The C 200’s comfort and convenience levels are considerable, starting with electric front seats with electro-pneumatic lumbar support, reversing camera, sat-nav, digital radio, synthetic leather upholstery and keyless start. On top of that, there’s Active Park Assist that helps the driver manoeuvre into a parking space.
A frugal 6.0L/100km is achieved with a fuel-saving stop/start system. The 2.0L, 4cyl turbo-charged engine is matched to a 7spd automatic transmission, and there’s never a sense you have to push it hard to get the best out of it. It all works in relaxed harmony, as a perfectly matched set of On The Road scores demonstrates.
The quality of the Mercedes build and finish is, as expected, top-notch.
Mercedes Benz C200