The Road Ahead : December 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 50 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2014/JAN 2015 BEST MEDIUM CAR OVER $50,000 >> MERCEDES-BENZ C200 With a lineage dating back to 1993, the new C-Class (W205) is undoubtedly one of the most important vehicles in Mercedes-Benz's history. A lot rests on its shoulders and customer expectations are high in this category. And the all-new Mercedes-Benz C200 delivers a new standard by which others will be judged. The new, improved C200 is bigger and better than the previous model. It won by a staggering 64 points over last year's winner, the BMW 320i, one of the highest margins in this year's program. The latest iteration is a stylish, luxury vehicle that offers category-leading design and function, equal category-leading on-the-road performance, and it's safe. So safe, that it earned the equal highest safety score of the 45 finalists tested. The new C-Class has a larger 2.0-litre four (135kW/300Nm torque) compared to its predecessor and is matched to a 7-speed automatic transmission, which provides beautifully smooth and seamless gear changes in all scenarios. On the road, the C200 delivers an extremely commendable 6L/100km -- a figure normally reserved for small cars. It comes with an extraordinary level of safety technology as standard: nine airbags, a safety camera, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning and attention assist collision prevention that will warn you if you're falling into a micro sleep. Indicative Drive Away Price: $67,144 BEST MEDIUM CAR UNDER $50,000 >> SKODA OCTAVIA 103TSI AMBITION PLUS So how do you achieve market success when your brand is not really well known? The answer is simple (or "Simply Clever" in Skoda speak): build your vehicle to compete with the front-runners and make it thousands cheaper to buy. The Octavia comes in both a wagon and a clever (there's that word again) liftback/sedan, with both variants offering very favourable space and versatility for the class. The Ambition Plus (our winner) costs just over $30,000 and includes rear side airbags, cruise control, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, alloy wheels, and an eight- speaker infotainment system with Bluetooth and all the usual connectivity. Multi-collision braking (after-accident braking) and tyre pressure monitoring are welcome standard features across the range, too. On the road, the Volkswagen-sourced 103kW 1.4-litre petrol engine offers a lot of heart, especially when coupled to the seven-speed DSG, which really makes the most of the little engine's abilities by selecting the right ratio every time. Underpinned with Volkswagen design, the Octavia makes for a refreshing drive with a planted and confident feel under many different conditions. Even though premium unleaded fuel is required, fuel consumption of a claimed 5.2L/100km will have most owners smiling. Indicative Drive Away Price: $30,021 MOTORING | AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS Medium car over $50k Medium car under $50k SCORE BOX TOTAL: 884, 2ND: BMW 320i, 820, 3RD: Lexus IS300h, 816 VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 5, Depreciation 7, Running & repair costs 3, Fuel consumption 8, Warranty & dealer access 3, Insurance 2, Standard features 7. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9, Environment 10, Seating comfort 7, Space 6, Practicality 8, Ergonomics 7, Build & finish 8. ON THE ROAD: Performance 6, Ride 6, Handling 7, Braking 7, Smoothness & quietness 7. SCORE BOX TOTAL: 752, 2ND: Mazda6 Touring, 732, 3RD: Toyota Camry Hybrid H, 716, VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 8, Depreciation 9, Running & repair costs 8, Fuel consumption 9, Warranty & dealer access 3, Insurance 6, Standard features 4. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 7, Environment 9, Seating comfort 6, Space 5, Practicality 7, Ergonomics 6, Build & finish 7. ON THE ROAD: Performance 6, Ride 6, Handling 7, Braking 7, Smoothness & quietness 6.
February March 2015