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Journeys : Dec2011 Jan2012
Best Medium Car Under $50,000, Volkswagen, Jetta 118 TSI, $32,490 Driveline: 1.4 litre twin-charger; 4 cyl; 7 speed; DSG Fuel economy: 6.2L/100km; 95RON Safety Features: ABS, CA, DFSA, ESC, TCS ANCAP: Not Rated GVG: Volkswagen’s mid-size sedan, the Jetta, isn’t any new-comer to Australia’s Best Cars annual final test week. It’s been a finalist for a number of years and a two time class winner. Since last year’s win, Volkswagen has released the new sixth generation model. Bigger, cheaper and better equipped than its predecessor, new Jetta defied a challenge from the similarly priced, sleek new Hyundai i40 Tourer and Kia’s stylish and ver y well-equipped, but higher priced Optima. No longer sharing body panels with its technically related stablemate, the Golf, new Jetta is taller, 190mm longer and lighter. Extra rear legroom is liberated by its 55mm longer wheelbase. Jetta rated well for space thanks in part to its cavernous boot, though judges ranked Optima and i40 slightly better. Standard features on the popular mid-field Comfortline version evaluated by ABC rated above average, while its safety credentials are reassuringly high. All models feature six airbags including front and rear curtains and electronic stability control. The i40 eclipses the Jetta though, with its nine standard airbags including side (thora x) airbags for the outer rear positions and a driver’s knee bag. Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, auxiliary input socket and media device interface with USB connection are standard on Jetta. Satellite navigation w ill cost Comfortline buyers an extra $3000. Jetta’s fit and finish was praiseworthy, but the 3 year/unlimited kilometre warranty is little better than the industry average and significantly less generous than the two Korean adversaries. Buyers of the new Jetta still have the option of petrol or turbo-diesel powerplants. While the current generation model line-up is simpler, those desirous of diesel now get less choice with the 2.0 -litre 103TDI engine being the only remaining option, given the demise of the 77TDI and 125 TDI diesels. Best Medium Car Over $50,000 Mercedes Benz C Class C250 CDI Avantgarde $67,900 Driveline : 2.2 litre; 4 cyl; 7 speed automatic transmission Fuel economy: 5.1L/100km Diesel Safety Features: ABS, DFSA, ESC, TCS, KA ANCAP: GVG: There’s tough and there’s really tough. And when you look through the list of potential winners in this class, you star t to wonder how one vehicle could possibly shine among such a range of high quality, value packed offerings. Just about all classes this year were very tightly contested, this one perhaps even more so. So, finding one to stand above the others was going to be difficult. The Mercedes Benz C250 CDI did just that, and how. Across all scoring options and all manner of driving tests and styles, the combination of C Class body style and br illiant diesel engine is pretty much irresistible. You expect a Mercedes Benz to feel bullet-proof and indestr uctible and that’s an expectation forged in the legend of decades of quality. The C Class does that feel indestructible in every way, but also delivers a level of refinement and elegance that is almost unmatched in any class. It’s more expensive than the other two finalists – in the case of Passat almost 14 grand more – but drive the C250 CDI under any conditions and you’re left feeling that every cent was worth it. This is a brilliantly-built vehicle. Every part of it feels solid and well executed. Inside, there’s elegance and quality everywhere you look, from switchgear and controls to surface finishes and material. Comfor t levels are high as is standard safety which includes all the airbags you’d expect and every conceivable electronic driv ing aid. In terms of space, the C Class is the equal of the BMW and stronger than the Passat, while its ergonomics are just about best-in-class. The exter ior styling is both refined and muscular, no matter which angle you’re looking at it from. Mercedes Benz has almost made their 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. That’s important in any sector, maybe more so in this one. Australia’s Best Cars 52 December 2011 / January 2012
Oct Nov 2011
Feb March 2012