The Road Ahead : December 2011
MAKES YOUR DAY 45 DEC 2011/JAN 2012 THE ROAD AHEAD AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS MOTORING medium under $50,000 vw jetta 118 tsi SINCE LAST YEAR'S win, Volkswagen has released a sixth generation Jetta, one that is bigger, cheaper and better equipped than its predecessor. No longer sharing body panels with its technically-related stablemate, the Golf, new Jetta is taller, 190 mm longer and lighter. Extra rear legroom is liberated by its 55 mm longer wheelbase. Standard features on the popular mid-field Comfortline version evaluated rate above average, while its safety credentials are reassuringly high. Jetta's fit and finish is praiseworthy, but the three year/unlimited kilometre warranty is little better than the industry average. Combining small displacement with forced induction from a supercharger and a turbo, the 1.4-litre 118 TSI proves a surprisingly sprightly performer. The car's seven-speed DSG gearbox offers slick, timely shifts. Operation at manoeuvring speeds can be a little jerky, though. Good grip, steering with a consistent accurate feel, plus responsive handling ensure driver appeal. The suspension tune has a European tautness that's composed and generally comfortable over a mix of local road conditions, including second-class gravel roads and corrugations. MLP: $32,490. medium over $50,000 mercedes-benz c250 cdi avantgarde YOU EXPECT A Mercedes-Benz to feel bullet proof and indestructible. The C Class lives up to that lofty expectation, yet also delivers a level of refinement and elegance that is almost unmatched in any class. Inside, there's elegance and quality everywhere, from switchgear and controls to surface finishes and material. Comfort levels are high, as is standard safety which includes all the airbags you would expect and every conceivable electronic driving aid. In terms of space, the C Class is the equal of the BMW 320D and stronger than the VW Passat CC (both fellow finalists), while its ergonomics are just about best in class. Mercedes-Benz has almost made its general model range look more AMG than ever, and in the case of the attractive C Class sedan, this styling mandate makes the most sense of all. Importantly, inside and out, it looks like you have spent a whole lot more money than you actually have. On road, the diesel engine is brilliant but it's almost overshadowed by the slick shifting and silky smooth seven- speed auto transmission, which always seems to find the right ratio to keep the 'oiler' in the meat of its torque curve. MLP: $67,900. SCORES TOTAL: 906. 2nd: Kia Optima Platinum, 880. 3rd: Hyundai i40 Tourer Active, 864. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 8C, Depreciation 7M, Running costs 5M, Fuel consumption 8C, Warranty 5M, Insurance 6L, Standard features 7H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9C, Environment 8C, Comfort 9M, Space 8M, Practicality 8M, Ergonomics 8M, Build & finish 8H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 9M, Ride 9M, Handling 9H, Braking 8H, Smoothness & quietness 9M. SCORES TOTAL: 1104. 2nd: VW Passat CC 125 TDI, 1096. 3rd: BMW 320 D Lifestyle, 1086. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 6H, Depreciation 7M, Running costs 5M, Fuel consumption 10H, Warranty 4M, Insurance 5L, Standard features 6H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 10C, Environment 8C, Comfort 9H, Space 7M, Practicality 8M, Ergonomics 8H, Build & finish 9C. ON THE ROAD: Performance 9H, Ride 9H, Handling 9C, Braking 9C, Smoothness & quietness 8H. LEVEL OF WEIGHTED IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L=LOW,M=MEDIUM,H=HIGH,C=CRITICAL.
February March 2012