Traditional blend

Five family sedans with five different approaches to the same challenge

WORDS ALEX INWOOD PHOTOS CRISTIAN BRUNELLI

EMEMBER the scene from that Keanu Reeves cult flick filmed in Sydney? When Neo starts to believe, everything turns to tumbling green letters and he ďsees the MatrixĒ? Thatís how I feel right now. Stretched before me in the morning gloom sit five family sedans that moments ago had appeared as disparate as a schizophrenicís memoirs. Then the penny dropped and the past, present and future of the Australian motoring industry collided.

You can still buy a traditional, indigenous family sedan for the same money as an imported mid-sizer.

For now. Itís been a constant of the Aussie landscape for decades, and itís a realisation that not only throws this comparison into sharper focus, it magnifies five very different approaches to nailing the family sedan brief.

Every car here follows a different recipe, be it a naturally aspirated or turbo four-pot, a V6 or boxer six, with a mix of front-drive, reardrive and all-wheel drive. The one thing these sedans share is a $40K price tag, all five landing within a couple of grand of one another thanks to big price cuts at Ford and Subaru.

Subaruís sixth-generation Liberty is a whopping $14K cheaper than its predecessor in this 3.6R

Premium guise, and to say it carries big expectations, particularly for Wheels readers, is an understatement.

As a two-time Car of the Year winner, the Liberty nameplate was once renowned for its Euro-bashing dynamics and unique Japanese character stemming from a combination of horizontally opposed engines and all-wheel drive.

But all is not well in Liberty-land. A push towards the American market saw the previous generation not only grow bigger, uglier and less charismatic, it failed to match its predecessorís sales Down Under. Of this group, the Liberty is easily the smallest player on the sales charts, its 926 sales to the end of November 2014 both a shadow of its former glory and comprehensively crushed by the Mazda 6 (5486), Falcon (5771), Camry (19,670) and Commodore (28,194). So this Liberty needs to deliver.

As does Fordís FG-X Falcon. Its $40,100 price tag

Subaruís new Liberty carries big expectations

Taking Liberties

SUBARU has streamlined the Liberty range for this sixth generation by ditching the old carís turbocharged GT model, all wagon variants and manual gearboxes.

The new CVT-only range has just three models (2.5i, 2.5i

Premium, 3.6R Premium) and is now significantly cheaper.

As well as the $14,000 price cut to the range-topping 3.6R model tested here, the base 2.5i drops $3000 to $29,990 while the 2.5i Premium is down $4000 to $35,490.

Dumping the wagon means Subaru lovers lusting for more space and practicality will now have to look at the new Outback range, which Wheels has tested on page 42.

Fordís G6E has never made more sense, nor looked so good

is $6225 less than the outgoing FG, meaning Fordís G6E Ecoboost has never made more sense, nor looked so good. It is undoubtedly one of the best-looking variants in the refreshed FG-X range thanks to its elegant chrome grille, crisp LED-encrusted nose and fashionable 18-inch alloys.

Ford hopes the repositioned G6E will steal sales from its freshly updated mortal enemy, Holdenís excellent Calais. Now sporting minor equipment upgrades and a new, more progressive steering calibration, the Calais continues to be the sweet spot of the VF range. Not only does its sumptuous ride, muscular performance and modern interior make it one of Australiaís most convincing family sedans, itís Wheelsí benchmark for this five-seat class.

Mazdaís sporty ĎSkyActiví 6 is also a Wheels comparison winner, yet the same canít be said of the Toyota Camry. It is the oldest car here by some margin (launched in December 2011, although a heavily updated version will arrive later this year), and a lack of a distinct personality has never made it a Wheels favourite. Still, 18 years as Australiaís best-selling mid-sizer means it must be doing something right.

Itís a motley crew of high achievers then, but itís the Subaru, and its huge weight of expectation, that garners the most interest when we meet at the drag strip. Boasting a carryover 191kW/350Nm 3.6-litre horizontally opposed six, the biggest mechanical change to the streamlined Liberty range is its transmission, which is now CVT only. Intuitive, refined and unobtrusive, itís a drivetrain best summed up in one word: smooth. Even in high temperatures that saw the other four cars struggle to match their personal bests, the Liberty came close to its 7.2sec 0-100km/h claim with a sprint of 7.3sec and a 400m time of 15.3sec.

Subaruís premium drivetrain feels strong and never rushed, yet as punchy and flexible as it is, itís still no match for the big Aussie V6 in the Calais.

At the strip, the Holden is in a league of its own, not only setting the fastest 0-100km/h and quarter-mile times (7.1sec and 15.1sec respectively), but offering a level of engagement lacking in the Subaru. Where the Japanese car is silky and super-refined, the louder Aussie six is more involving when worked hard, and sharper off the line. Itís a performance gulf that widens in the real world, where Calais nails the luxury/sports brief. Itís intuitive and responsive at the limit thanks to an excellent gearbox tune and a Sport mode thatís willing to hold gears. And itís quiet, torquey and muscular around town. The one letdown is induction sound, which can be thrashy and uncultured at the top of the rev range.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Holdenís soundtrack is trumped by the turbo Falconís. Proving engine size doesnít matter, the 2.0-litre G6E is only a tenth behind the V6 Calais to 100km/h and over the standing 400m, its impressive performance underscored by a sugary blend of induction sweetness and turbo whistle. Again, like the Liberty, the Falcon uses a carryover engine with unchanged outputs (179kW/353Nm), but itís a cultured, rev-hungry unit with plenty of low-down shove and a meaty mid-range. The added bonus is improved chassis balance thanks to the lighter four-cylinder donk, but thereís no escaping the fact the G6Eís drivetrain feels foreign. After decades of six-cylinder Falcons, sitting in the G6Eís largely unchanged interior and hearing a turbo four zing and pop under the bonnet, just as it does in the Range Rover Evoque that shares the same engine, takes some getting used to.

But if the Falconís noise is unfamiliar, the Mazdaís throaty 2.5-litre four couldnít be more on-brand. It remains one of the best iterations of Mazdaís SkyActiv technology, and it screams sporting intent the moment you jump behind its leather-trimmed wheel. Wind it up

The gutsy 6 rockets away, pulling strongly and cleanly

on the brake and the gutsy 6 rockets from a standing start, its bristling performance accompanied by an exhaust note thatís easily the most involving here. But itís the way the grunty petrol channels its torque thatís most impressive, pulling strongly and cleanly from as low as 1200rpm in top gear. Due to the hot conditions, the 6ís 0-100km/h sprint of 8.1sec is well down on the 7.6sec we clocked last year, but itís still a number that embarrasses the Camry.

On paper, the Toyota is a facsimile of the Mazda Ė both have atmo fours of the same capacity and front-wheel drive Ė yet when it comes to performance, engagement and character, the two Japanese cars are poles apart. Where the Mazda is rorty and muscular, the Toyota feels lacklustre at the strip. Itís by far the slowest of the group, both from a standing start and on the move, with the Camryís 80-120km/h time of 6.4sec a full second slower than the 6ís and almost two seconds slower than the quickest car here, the Calais (4.5sec).

However, it would be wrong to dismiss the Camryís drivetrain as insipid. In isolation, Toyotaís locally made 2.5-litre four is liveable, and while its performance is middle of the road at best, in city traffic the Camry does not feel underpowered.

There is a place where the Toyota exceeds expectations, though Ė country Aussie roads. Granted, when you first slip behind the Camryís cheap-feeling, oversized steering wheel, initial impressions arenít positive. You sit on flat leather seats in a cabin dominated by hard plastics and cheap fonts. Itís easily the least polished interior here and has a hire-car ambience that betrays what Camrys so often do.

Things donít improve much at slow speed, either. The unladen urban ride isnít great, with a knobbliness you donít expect, and its heavily weighted steering feels cumbersome and lazy, with a slow rack (3.2 turns lockto- lock) often demanding armfuls of lock. Push through this on the open road, though, and youíll discover that beneath the steeringís lethargy and the rideís lack of low-speed absorbency, thereís a sweet chassis you can actually lean on. It has a fundamental balance that rewards the more you push, which is something few Camry drivers are likely to discover. For a car that most will buy for its space and A-to-B dependability, itís a disappointing reality that the less you ask of the Camry, the less it gives.

The opposite applies with the Subaru. Drive the Liberty on the freeway or quiet country roads and youíre almost overwhelmed by its smoothness. The ride on 18-inch wheels is reasonably supple, its drivetrain is hushed and, thanks to a deep glasshouse and an A-pillar thatís now 50mm further forward, vision is excellent. But where the Liberty excels superficially, things unravel the harder you drive.

The Liberty struggles to absorb sharp imperfections on rough Aussie roads, and the steering, which feels well weighted on the freeway, if rather numb, suddenly feels too light at the straight ahead and almost anaesthetised. Of course, Subaruís much touted all-wheel-drive system means the Liberty has loads of grip, but any confidence this brings is eroded by the dead steering and unsettled body control. What the sixth-gen Liberty lacks is the crispness of feedback and lightness of touch that made its distant predecessors so rewarding, meaning that at the limit it feels aloof rather than encouraging.

Things couldnít be more different in the Mazda.

Where the Liberty shields you from the action,

everything in the 6 is in your face, from its ride and handling to its road noise and engine rasp. It feels connected and unashamedly sporty, with a ride thatís noticeably firmer but also controlled and deft in its bump absorption and compliance. A well-sorted chassis and keen steering boost driver confidence, yet the 6 is far from perfect. Itís easily the noisiest of the group, with high amounts of tyre roar and wind rustle from the mirrors, and while the steering is mostly well weighted, it can feel mushy and inconsistent off centre.

The lack of a Sport mode, especially in a car that champions sporting pretensions, is another oversight and one exposed on the winding roads of our test route, where it was possible to catch the engine out in tight, uphill corners. Still, the 6 always feels invigorating, a character trait shared by the Ford.

The Falconís gem of a drivetrain shaves weight from its nose and surprises with its engaging character and sparkling performance. Push the G6E hard and the lighter four-pot engine is immediately obvious through a pointy front end and light steering thatís communicative and so responsive it verges on nervous.

Take the time to acclimatise, though, and the Falcon rewards you with a chassis balance and body control that, while clearly engineered towards comfort, can also be fun. Admittedly, the crisp steering can feel overly light at the limit, but the G6E blends a level of performance and connection that, dynamically at least, is almost ideal for Australian roads.

However, the Falcon still canít match the dynamic verve and suppleness of the most polished car here, the Calais. Boasting ride quality and body control that are both first class, the Calais is quiet and forgiving on coarse, pot-marked roads yet, thanks to its muscular V6 and superb balance, is engaging enough to offer real driver involvement. Improved steering weighting and progression from straight ahead fixes what was a minor achilles heel in the original VF, with the Calais boasting an excellent handling package honed for boasting an excellent handling package honed for Aussie conditions.

The Holden is the best all-rounder here, and not just dynamically. Practically spot-on in its packaging, the Calais has the most comfortable seats front and rear, is the quietest, and also the most technically advanced thanks to its reversing camera, blind-spot monitoring and auto park assist. And as far as interiors go, the Calais is in a class of its own. Beautifully appointed and with a near-ideal driving position, the Calaisís interior ambience transcends what you expect from a $40K car and totally outshines its Falcon rival.

Climb into the G6E and itís clear the interior is where Ford skimped the most when it came to the new FG-X range. Yes, the Blue Ovalís new SYNC2 infotainment system brings a much-needed dose of modernity, but thereís no escaping the G6Eís inherent FG-ness. You get the same messy central stack, unfortunate plastics and, worse, the same flawed driving position where you sit too high and the wheel is too low, meaning you need to tilt the seat rearwards to compensate. Itís a seven-year-old interior that feels like a seven-year-old interior, with none of the textural or packaging finesse you get in the Calais, nor the same level of comfort.

Still, in terms of space the Falcon outclasses

The less you ask of the Camry, the less it gives

New models coming

THE Camry may be the least convincing car here, but that could change with the arrival of a reskinned model due late 2015.

Known internally as the ďbig little changeĒ, every panel on the updated Camry will be new, bar the roof, with Toyota claiming it contains more than 1900 new parts. A wider, Lexus-style grille will dominate a new styling direction that ditches the current carís sharp angles in favour of a smoother, more rounded look with new, pronounced bonnet lines.

While the Camryís ageing interior has been given a complete overhaul for the US market with a new centre stack and improved materials, these important interior changes wonít make it Down Under.

What will get a new interior, though, is the Mazda 6. Due to go on sale in February, the updated 6 receives minor styling tweaks and a heavily revised dashboard to silence the critics. That means a classier, richer look and feel.

Significantly, the inclusion of a Sport mode will enhance the 6ís standard six-speed automatic.

FALCON G6E ECOBOOST

Performance Power to weight: 106kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/6550rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 98 Speed in gears 59km/h @ 6500rpm 105km/h @ 6500rpm 161km/h @ 6500rpm 210km/h @ 6350rpm* 210km/h @ 4850rpm* 210km/h @ 4850rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 0.9sec 0-40km/h: 1.9sec 0-60km/h: 3.4sec 0-80km/h: 5.0sec 0-100km/h: 7.3sec 0-120km/h: 10.0sec 0-140km/h: 13.4sec 0-160km/h: 18.2sec 0-400m: 15.2sec @ 148.9km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 4.9sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 35.3m

Track: Heathcote raceway, warm. Temp: 23įC.

Driver: Alex Inwood. * Speed limited.

HOLDEN CALAIS

Performance Power to weight: 123kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: Ė/6500rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 97 Speed in gears 64km/h @ 6500rpm 109km/h @ 6500rpm 167km/h @ 6500rpm 210km/h @ 6100rpm* 210km/h @ 4475rpm* 210km/h @ 3525rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 0.9sec 0-40km/h: 2.1sec 0-60km/h: 3.3sec 0-80km/h: 5.2sec 0-100km/h: 7.1sec 0-120km/h: 9.7sec 0-140km/h: 12.7sec 0-160km/h: 16.2sec 0-400m: 15.1sec @ 155.0km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 4.5sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 38.5m

Track: Heathcote Raceway, warm. Temp: 24įC.

Driver: Alex Inwood * Speed limited.

MAZDA 6 TOURING

Performance Power to weight: 94kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/6500rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 97 Speed in gears 58km/h @ 6500rpm 101km/h @ 6500rpm 141km/h @ 6500rpm 205km/h @ 6500rpm 223km/h @ 5000rpm* 223km/h @ 4150rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.0sec 0-40km/h: 2.2sec 0-60km/h: 3.7sec 0-80km/h: 5.7sec 0-100km/h: 8.1sec 0-120km/h: 11.1sec 0-140km/h: 15.4sec 0-160km/h: 21.4sec 0-400m: 15.9sec @ 141.8km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 5.5sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 39.1m

Track: Heathcote Raceway, warm. Temp: 25įC.

Driver: Alex Inwood * Manufacturerís claim.

SUBARU LIBERTY 3.6R

Performance Power to weight: 119kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/6150rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 97 Speed in gears 240km/h @ 6000rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.0sec 0-40km/h: 2.4sec 0-60km/h: 3.9sec 0-80km/h: 5.4sec 0-100km/h: 7.3sec 0-120km/h: 9.9sec 0-140km/h: 13.1sec 0-160km/h: 17.2sec 0-400m: 15.3sec @ 151.8km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 4.8sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 38.1m

Track: Heathcote Raceway, warm. Temp: 25įC.

Driver: Alex Inwood * Manufacturerís claim.

TOYOTA CAMRY ATARA SL

Performance Power to weight: 90kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6400/6400rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 97 Speed in gears 71km/h @ 6400rpm 123km/h @ 6400rpm 164km/h @ 6400rpm 210km/h @ 5775rpm* 210km/h @ 4115rpm* 210km/h @ 3500rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.2sec 0-40km/h: 2.6sec 0-60km/h: 4.3sec 0-80km/h: 6.6sec 0-100km/h: 9.2sec 0-120km/h: 12.9sec 0-140km/h: 17.9sec 0-160km/h: 25.7sec 0-400m: 16.7sec @ 137.1km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 6.4sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 38.3m

Track: Heathcote Raceway, warm. Temp: 24įC.

Driver: Alex Inwood * Manufacturerís claim.

the Mazda. Despite riding on a near identical wheelbase (2838 vs 2830mm), the 6 feels cramped and compromised against the big, airy Aussie. The 6ís interior has vastly superior fit and finish, and rear headroom is still decent despite its sloping roofline, but for all its emphasis on style, the 6 isnít sexy enough to make up for its compromised packaging.

Despite its lacklustre dynamics, itís inside where the Liberty claws back some ground. Open, spacious and beautifully appointed, the Libertyís interior is one of Subaruís best in years, combining a neatness and quality of materials, with an intuitive and beautifully integrated 5.0-inch LCD display. Passenger room front and rear is improved, despite the wheelbase remaining unchanged at 2750mm, while cabin refinement, especially at freeway speeds, is impressive. Only flat and comparatively unsupportive seats let down the Libertyís interior.

If only the Camry had so few foibles. Itís inside where the Camry falls behind more than any other area with its inexpensive materials, clumsy ergonomics and dated infotainment system failing to emulate the polish of the other four. Admittedly, a hefty reskin later this year may address these issues, but for now the ageing Camryís lack of design flair, personality and, surprisingly, efficiency (on test the four-cylinder Camry drank 11.4L/100km, a number only marginally better than the V6 Calaisís 11.6L/100km) sees it trail its family sedan rivals. Honest and unassuming it may be, but that isnít enough in 2014. Not for 40 grand.

Camryís defeat is far from a whitewash, though.

Itís damning for Subaru that there are areas, such as country-road ride and body control, where its new Liberty is outclassed by the Camry, a result no one would have predicted at the start of this test. With its disinterested dynamics, lumpy suspension tune and hefty 12.6L/100km thirst, the Liberty 3.6R Premium has become a slick showroom car that triumphs its value-for-money credentials over its ability to be a dynamic flagship for Subaru. A Euro-killer itís not.

Which leaves us with the Falcon, the Mazda 6 and the toughest decision of this test.

Thereís no denying that everything Ford has touched on the new G6E is an improvement. It looks premium (on the outside), rides beautifully and, thanks to its torquey turbo four-pot and impressive agility, conveys an eagerness and sportiness that surpasses its cushy, family-barge image.

But, try as it might, it just canít escape the flaws inherited from the FG. With Ford having so little money to spend, the reality is the FG-X was never going to be anything more than fresh tinsel on an ageing tree. And if you drive enthusiastically like we did, donít expect class-leading economy, either. Still, in this spec, we could understand why someone would make a heart-over-head decision and buy the Falcon G6E Ecoboost over the Mazda.

On paper, though, itís the Mazda that snags second place. Not only was it easily the most economical at 9.4L/100km, but its blend of rorty performance, quality build and interior comfort makes the car from Hiroshima a rock-solid all-rounder. Where it falls short is its lack of overall polish, which is what the Holden does best.

Head and shoulders above the others when it comes to packaging, refinement and interior comfort, itís almost impossible to find something the Calais doesnít do well. Its vocal V6 sounds unrefined when driven hard, but itís gutsy enough that you can simply waft along on its torque, while enjoying its surprising economy.

As an overall package, the Calais decimates its rivals, with an enticing blend of economy, value and effortless performance that not only makes it the best variant in Holdenís VF range, but by extension the best family car ever made in Australia.

Value equation

CAR manufacturers love to sex up their press cars by ticking every option in the catalogue, but not here.

Each model in this quintet is stock standard, with the only options being premium paint on the Holden and Camry and floor mats in the Mazda.

Still, all is not even when it comes to standard kit.

While all five cars boast leather interiors, big LCD infotainment systems, reversing cameras and cruise control, only the Japanese trio offer paddle shifts on their leathertrimmed wheels and the Subaru is the only one with keyless entry and adaptive cruise control.

Ford, Toyota and Subaru include auto wipers, while only the Toyota and Holden have blind-spot monitoring.

The Calais also offers Auto Park Assist, but misses out on sat-nav (a $750 option), which is standard across the other four.

FALCON G6E ECOBOOST

Verdict 7.0/10 Engaging, punchy turbo four; keen dynamics; direct steering; nice ride Inherited FG flaws; old interior; engine thirsty when driven hard Warranty: 3yr/100,000km.

Service interval: 12 months/15,000km.

Redbook 3-year resale: 51%.

AAMI insurance: $1111. $40,110/As tested $40,110 Drivetrain Engine in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbocharger Layout front engine (north-south), rear drive Capacity 1.999 litres Power 179kW @ 5500rpm Torque 353Nm @ 2000rpm Transmission 6-speed automatic Chassis Body steel, 4 doors, 5 seats L/W/H/WĖB 4949/1868/1484/2838mm Front/rear track 1583/1598mm Weight 1688kg Boot capacity 535 litres Fuel/capacity 91 octane/68 litres Fuel consumption 11.7L/100km (test average) Suspension Front: double A-arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar Steering hydraulic rack and pinion Turning Circle 11.0m (2.8 turns lock-to-lock) Front brakes ventilated discs (298mm) Rear brakes solid discs (303mm) Tyres Dunlop SP Sport Maxx Tyre size 245/40R18 93Y Safety NCAP rating (Aus)

HOLDEN CALAIS

8.5/10 Luscious ride and handling; premium interior; all-round polish; great value V6 sounds raucous at high revs; doesnít get steering-wheel paddles Warranty: 3yr/100,000km.

Service interval: 12 months/15,000km.

Redbook 3-year resale: 51%.

AAMI insurance: $1046. * Includes prestige paint ($550) $40,790/As tested $41,340* V6 (60į), dohc, 32v front engine (north-south), rear drive 3.564 litres 210kW @ 6700rpm 350Nm @ 2800rpm 6-speed automatic steel, 4 doors, 5 seats 4950/1898/1471/2915mm 1593/1609mm 1702kg 496 litres 91 octane/71 litres 11.6L/100km (test average) Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar electric rack and pinion 11.4m (2.7 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (298mm) ventilated discs (302mm) Bridgestone Turanza T001 235/50R18 101W (Aus)

MAZDA 6 TOURING

7.5/10 Sporty, engaging character; excellent driving position; chassis balance Road noise; shallow boot; patchy interior; auto needs a Ďsportí mode Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km.

Service interval: 12 months/10,000km.

Redbook 3-year resale: 55%.

AAMI insurance: $985. * Includes floor mats ($180) $38,990/As tested $39,170* in-line 4, dohc, 16v front engine (east-west), front drive 2.488 litres 138kW @ 5700rpm 250Nm @ 3250rpm 6-speed automatic steel, 4 doors, 5 seats 4865/1840/1450/2830mm 1585/1575mm 1471kg 438 litres 91 octane/62 litres 9.4L/100km (test average) Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar electric rack and pinion 11.2m (2.7 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (297mm) solid discs (278mm) Bridgestone Turanza T001 225/55R17 97V (Aus)

SUBARU LIBERTY 3.6R

6.0/10 Silky-smooth drivetrain; interior quality; refinement; newfound value Lacks involvement and character; numb steering; economy; ride Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km.

Service interval: 6 months/12,500km.

Redbook 3-year resale: n/a.

AAMI insurance: $1203. $41,990/As tested $41,990 flat 6, dohc, 24v front engine (north-south), all drive 3.630 litres 191kW @ 6000rpm 350Nm @ 4400rpm CVT automatic steel, 4 doors, 5 seats 4795/1840/1500/2750mm 1580/1595mm 1605kg 493 litres 91 octane/60 litres 12.6L/100km (test average) Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: double A-arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar electric rack and pinion 11.2m (2.7 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (316mm) ventilated discs (300mm) Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050 225/50R18 95W (Aus)

TOYOTA CAMRY ATARA SL

5.0/10 Reasonable drivetrain; four-up ride quality; country-road balance; space Low-rent interior; lazy steering; too-big steering wheel; feels cheap Warranty: 3yr/100,000km.

Service interval: 12 months/15,000km.

Redbook 3-year resale: 50%.

AAMI insurance: $937. * Includes presitge paint ($450) $39,990/As tested $40,440* in-line 4, dohc, 16v front engine (east-west), front drive 2.494 litres 135kW @ 6000rpm 235Nm @ 4100rpm 6-speed automatic steel, 4 doors, 5 seats 4815/1825/1470/2775mm 1575/1565mm 1505kg 515 litres 91 octane/70 litres 11.4L/100km (test average) Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar hydraulic rack and pinion 11.0m (3.2 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (296mm) solid discs (286mm) Bridgestone Turanza ER33 215/55R17 94V (Aus)