There’s plenty of good sedan options out there, but what are the best sedans, even on a tight budget? What if you could stretch your budget a bit further, to about $15,000? Gumtree Cars reveals four four-door models that show the extra value – or newness – possible for a few dollars more.
Best Sedans To Buy In Australia For Under $15,000
Who doesn’t like being spoiled for choice? Well, in 2008 Honda launched not one but two sedan models wearing the Japanese brand’s famous, long-running ‘Accord’ nameplate.
Wildly different beyond their sizes yet both good choices and sharing Honda’s famed build quality and reliability, it’s just a case of picking the right Accord to suit your needs and preferences.
Is accommodating your family in a spacious cabin, while keeping an eye on fuel economy important for you? The larger Honda Accord is roomy in the back seat thanks to a body that’s about five metres long. It’s available with a V6 engine featuring clever cylinder-deactivation technology, making it a clear fit in our best sedans under $15k category.
So, if you’re cruising along the freeway using light acceleration, the Accord runs on just three cylinders to reduce fuel usage. There is also a smaller four-cylinder that is the Accord’s standard engine and more efficient if you don’t mind trading in some performance.
The Accord Euro (pictured above) is a medium-sized car built in Japan. Rather than Thailand like the larger version.
As the Euro’s name suggests, it has more of a European-focused driving flavour – and, if not quite as practical as its larger relative, it’s the driver’s pick of the two Accords.
Enjoyable handling doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, either, as the Euro absorbs bumps with ease.
It’s also powered by a hugely likeable, high-revving 2.4-litre four-cylinder with 148 kW, paired with either a six-speed manual or smart-shifting five-speed auto.
HOLDEN VF COMMODORE EVOKE
A classic case of the best sedans saved till last. Holden took all the goodness of the VE Commodore (see our Top Four Sedans Under $10K article) and ramped it up in 2013 with the VF that is the last of this iconic rear-wheel-drive large car. (Today’s Commodore is a front-drive model imported from Europe.)
Replacing the ‘Omega’ nameplate, the Evoke looks more stylish than your average base model large car – including smart 16-inch alloy wheels that reflects an improvement in equipment and value across the Commodore range.
Evoke also includes an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen incorporating Holden’s MyLink app integration and voice command, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, trailer sway control, and self-steering parking.
The interior is still generously proportioned in length and width as with the previous Commodore, yet cabin ambience is lifted with higher-quality plastics/materials. And to help install kiddie seats, the VF gave Commodore Isofix anchor points for the first time.
The Evoke’s 3.0-litre V6 would welcome a bit more pulling power, yet this engine further improves the Commodore’s fuel efficiency – to just 8.3 litres per 100km.
How good is it to drive? Well, let’s just say there are plenty of German luxury cars that pale in comparison to the way the VF Commodore rides and steers, regardless of variant. It’s quite the sign-off for the locally built large car.
MAZDA 3 SEDAN
Opt for the smaller of Mazda’s sedan offerings and you can get a newer model.
You should even be able to find a latest-generation Mazda 3 sedan if you don’t mind missing out on some features, with an entry-level Neo variant.
Or dip into the second-generation 3 sold between 2009 and 2013 and you can get yourself into the SP25.
We’d be tempted to take the latter path – trading some extra mileage for the SP25’s extra features and extra power (from a bigger, 2.5-litre engine).
Standard equipment above the mid-range Maxx Sport includes a body kit, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, and paddle-shift levers for the optional automatic transmission.
Consider it a bonus if you can find an SP25 with one of its exclusive options: a $2400 Luxury Pack that brings leather seats, sliding console armrest and a fancy Bose audio system.
Interior space is still decent despite its ‘compact sedan’ status, and the SP25’s 400-litre boot is also good for the segment – offering more space than the 3 hatchback while sharing its split-fold rear seats, in fact, if not as handy for stowing mountain bikes or other lifestyle accessories as the tailgate variant.
And in common with the 6 and other Mazdas, the 3 is one of the best cars to drive in its class.
A reputation for robust mechanicals, bank-vault build quality and strong resale values – and every model equipped with all-wheel drive. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why Subaru has such a remarkably loyal following in Australia.
The Impreza WRX may be the cult model, yet it’s the Liberty that has helped transform Subaru’s appeal to Australian families.
We could be tempted to point you in the direction of the fourth-generation sedan (or wagon). This is a fine driver’s car. Making it one of the best sedans was that it was available with some interesting performance engines, such as the twin-turbo four-cylinder found in the Liberty B4. It is certainly a more handsome-looking machine than its replacement.
However, while the fifth-generation Liberty’s conservative design seems clearly focused on the North American market, the larger sedan body emphatically addresses the Subaru’s previously limited rear-seat space.
Improved cabin-noise insulation and safety (which included a stronger vehicle body and addition of a driver’s knee airbag) are also benefits of the newer model. And there’s a bigger boot, though you have to opt for the wagon body style if you want rear seats that fold flat to expand cargo capacity.
The Premium variant was particularly popular in the Liberty range, though keep an eye out for GT models powered by a turbocharged version of Subaru’s trademark ‘boxer’ engines (which pump their pistons in a horizontal rather than conventional vertical direction, allowing the engine to sit lower in the car for better handling).