Stylish sedan options offer plenty of motorcar for your money
While the demand for SUVs continues to grow and large sedan sales continue to decline, there are always people who buck the trend.
Sam is one such person, a man who makes no apologies for being a fan of sedans and in particular the Australian-assembled Mitsubishi 380. He has owned two, in fact, the current model being the top-of-the-line 2008 platinum series 3, which was introduced to help create additional sales interest before production finally ended in early 2008.
"They are a much underrated motor vehicle in my opinion and offer fantastic value for money for those looking for a large sedan," says Sam.
With a change in lifestyle which no longer requires a large car, Sam is looking to downsize and wondered if Driven could come up with anything smaller worth consideration.
He wants to continue his allegiance to sedans and a vehicle with some sort of street appeal.
The Budget: $30,000
Well, Sam, history continues to repeat itself when it comes to vehicle assembly plants closing down in this part of the world. Manufacturers like Mitsubishi Motors Australia (MMAL) seem to save their best for last in an effort to keep local assembly doors open as long as possible.
The 380 was an extremely well-built car and overall specification levels were increased as they entered a "make or break" phase in an effort to remain financially viable.
It was arguably the best locally assembled vehicle MMAL ever produced, but sadly it was not enough to save local assembly in Australia. Both Ford and Holden are going through exactly the same scenario; has there ever been a better Commodore or Falcon than what is currently rolling off the assembly lines?
Like the Mitsubishi 380 both will offer fantastic value for money in years to come for those who prefer the comforts that large sedans offer.
The last of the Kiwi-assembled vehicles also all left their respective assembly plants with a high specification level plus an extra staff effort to ensure a high build quality.
Mitsubishi Lancer GSX sedan ($25,990)
The Lancer name badge and current body shape seem to have been around for ever and for that reason you won't purchase this car for the very latest in style and technology. What you will do, however, is buy a very good sedan at a fantastic price (recommended retail is $32,990) and 10 years of warranty. Multiple airbags, reverse camera and Electronic Stability Control ensure there are few compromises on safety. The body kit and alloy wheels are more for show-than-go with the 2.0 litre engine and 6-speed Constant Variable Transmission providing adequate power and a claimed combined fuel consumption of 7.3 l/100km. Some may find the large boot spoiler a little over the top.
Kia Cerato LX 1.8 ($29,990)
The Cerato sedan was a class winner in the Driven 2013 picks of the year. To summarise our judges' comments: nothing else ticks the boxes like the new Kia Cerato. It sets a new benchmark for how much Kiwis can get for their money but there's also driving appeal to accompany the length of the equipment list. It must have some rival brands thinking hard about what they'll do to match it.
Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 Ltd ($33,000)
An ex-demonstrator model may just tip you over the budget but like the Mitsi 380 you get a lot of motorcar for your money. The Kizashi suffers from the fall in popularity of sedans rather than being a bad car. It comes extremely well equipped including sunroof, leather trim, heated and electric seats with memory. Alloy wheels and chrome twin exhaust pipes remove any exterior blandness. It may not be such a big step down in engine size either but a big improvement in fuel consumption with a claimed combined figure of 7.9l/100km.
They all deserve a chance to impress. In terms of value for money the Lancer GSX may require a second look before finally deciding. Price isn't everything, however; you still have to enjoy the drive and be prepared to put up with that rather large rear spoiler.