DCOTY 2013: Best Luxury Car Under $80,000 | Catalog-cars

DCOTY 2013: Best Luxury Car Under $80,000

12 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on DCOTY 2013: Best Luxury Car Under $80,000
Mitsubishi Mirage

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Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI

It took more than a decade after the first hybrid-powered car was introduced to Australia for a petrol-electric car to win one of Drive Car of the Year awards, with the Toyota Camry Hybrid taking home last year#8217;s Best Family Car prize.

It won#8217;t be another decade for the Japanese car maker to take home one more, with its luxury division winning this year#8217;s Best Luxury Car under $80,000 with the Lexus IS300h Luxury.

While its purely petrol-engined siblings #8211; the IS250 and IS350 #8211; lag behind their German rivals in terms of fuel economy, the IS300h sets new benchmarks for its class and scored a unanimous victory from our judges.

Powered by a 133kW, 221Nm 2.5-litre four cylinder teamed with a 105kW, 300Nm electric motor, it drives the rear wheels through a stepless CVT auto. With four different drive modes #8211; Eco, Normal and Sport/Sport S #8211; the IS300h has a character to suit all tastes and situations.

Left to its own devices in Eco, it utilises its battery power as much as possible to help achieve its claimed fuel consumption of 4.9L/100km. And while it feels a bit doughy underfoot in this mode, taking it to the other end of the scale ensures it feels thoroughly energetic in the Sport setting by tapping into both power sources for maximum performance.

Its drivetrain smarts are not its only party trick, and our judges lauded the IS300h for its sweetly-balanced driving dynamics, crisp steering, generous list of standard equipment and rock-solid quality.

What locked it in at the top of this class is the fact it lacks for nothing despite its $58,900 (plus on-road costs) outlay.

In terms of value for money though, it was seriously challenged by the Holden VF Calais V V6, which, at $46,990 plus on-roads, is a lot of car for the money.

More than that though, the VF upgrade has elevated the Calais into genuine luxury territory with more than one judge commenting on how impressed they were with the new-look cabin and its long list of equipment.

Ultimately though, it can#8217;t hide its humble underpinnings and it doesn#8217;t have the attention to detail of the Lexus, and its 3.6-litre 195kW V6 is thirstier and noisier.

Mitsubishi Mirage

That leaves our long-running class champion, the Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI, to bow out with a podium finish. The fact that it has won this class for the last two years against some very tough competition – even though it was half way through its lifecycle – consolidates its position as a brilliant luxury car. But, with an all-new C-Class due next year, it has started to look and feel a little dated.

The 2.1-litre turbo diesel four cylinder is a fantastic engine, producing 150kW and a whopping 500Nm of pulling power and able to consume as little as 5.1L/100km. Its biggest downside is that it sounds noisy under acceleration.

And the cabin, while extremely well screwed together, looks conservative and lacks a lot of the features that both the Lexus and Calais offer for less money.

And that#8217;s really where the Mercedes-Benz loses out; at $69,400 plus on-road costs, the C250 CDI costs a lot more than both of its rivals and, in the end, sealed its fate in this contest.

Next year, it may be a completely different story though#8230;

DCOTY 2013: Best Luxury Car under $80,000

HAVE YOUR SAY

That a Lexus and a Holden trumped a Mercedes-Benz for this victory showcases the advances both companies have made in recent years. The C-Class is still a brilliant luxury car and no doubt its replacement will re-set the benchmarks for its class next year, and the Calais offers a lot of car for not much outlay. But the Lexus IS – while not a pretty car from the outside – is both sumptuous and sporty from behind the wheel, and its hybrid drivetrain is amazingly efficient.

Did we get this one right?

Mitsubishi Mirage
Mitsubishi Mirage
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