Mid-sized passenger car sales started dropping off a long time ago in Australia, with buyers increasingly turning to purportedly more practical SUVs… or settling for so-called small cars which are really anything but.

    In 2013, there were 30 different mid-sized cars available in Australia, including 9 premium models.

    There are still plenty of options available, but affordable options are far fewer. Of the 25 mid-sized passenger car nameplates sold in Australia in 2013, just seven of these had a base price under $60,000.

    Mind you, of the mainstream mid-sized passenger car segment, the Toyota Camry had a 70 per cent share of total sales last year.

    But if you want something larger than a Toyota Corolla but smaller than your parents’ old Ford Falcon, you don’t necessarily need to get a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz. You also don’t need to get a Camry.

    Below, the members of the CarExpert team have shared the mid-sized models they’d buy, including both luxury and mass-market models.

    Scott Collie: BYD Seal or BMW M340i

    BYD Seal

    The Seal isn’t perfect, but it offers a lot for your money.

    It’s good to look at on the outside, packs an impressively luxurious interior, and drives with enough polish to justify its price.

    The Tesla Model 3 is still the standard-setter in this segment, but the Seal isn’t far behind it – and nothing can match it when it comes to value.

    BMW M340i

    The 3 Series remains the best mid-sized sedan money can buy in Australia, and the M340i is my pick of the range.

    From the buttery smooth inline-six which shot the M340i to 100km/h in just 4.26 seconds in our testing, to the luxurious interior it just ticks all the boxes. It’s even efficient on the highway.

    I just wish BMW offered the wagon in Australia…

    MORE: Buy a BYD Seal
    MORE: Buy a BMW 3 Series

    Max Davies: Toyota Camry or Mercedes-Benz C-Class

    Toyota Camry

    It’s the boring choice, but there’s a reason Toyota sold more than 10,000 Camrys here in 2023.

    The Camry starts at a hair over $35,000 before on-road costs and is one of the cheapest cars in the segment, but still retains Toyota’s high standard for dependability.

    While it gets by with a merely adequate infotainment system, it does have a fairly comfortable ride and I like that it isn’t trying to be something it’s not.

    You can even get a hybrid option for under $40,000, which will mean big savings in the long run.

    Mercedes-Benz C-Class

    While there may be better and perhaps wiser choices, it’s hard for me to look past Mercedes-Benz for luxury and style.

    The C-Class has a classy look on the outside and its interior is stunning in layout and design, although it’s quite expensive and lacks some tech compared to its rivals.

    For much more money there are also AMG performance hybrid models, which will never not be an exciting prospect.

    MORE: Buy a Toyota Camry
    MORE: Buy a Mercedes-Benz C-Class

    Jordan Mulach: Skoda Octavia or Hyundai Ioniq 6

    Skoda Octavia

    It’s predictable isn’t it? I own a 10-year-old Octavia RS and maintain it’s still the underrated performance car that provides all you could ever need.

    Skoda’s price creep upwards is a bit of a shame given the Octavia RS doesn’t present as much of a value proposition anymore, but amongst its competitors it’s the only vehicle that offers a genuine performance platform on a relative budget.

    Give me a wagon too, because it would be the coolest car in the daycare carpark.

    Hyundai Ioniq 6

    As much of a tantalising proposition as the Tesla Model 3 is, I just can’t go past the sleek design of the Hyundai Ioniq 6.

    It and the Ioniq 5 (which is sadly classified as an SUV) offer the best non-Tesla tech for the money while retaining relatively traditional features. Indicator stalk, anyone?

    MORE: Buy a Skoda Octavia
    MORE: Buy a Hyundai Ioniq 6

    Josh Nevett: Skoda Octavia or Genesis G70

    Skoda Octavia

    The Octavia has been a cool car for a very long time now, with a version available to suit just about anyone.

    Of the current generation, the recently introduced Sportline variant in wagon form would be my pick. It’s priced in line with the base Style model but boasts more goodies; improving aesthetics and the driving experience.

    Even if you have some fun with the options list, the Sportline comes in well under $50,000 drive-away – an absolute bargain.

    Genesis G70

    You don’t spot many of these on the road, and by account of objective measures that probably makes sense. After all, the G70 is a thirsty luxury sedan with a small boot and no room for rear passengers.

    But my goodness it’s handsome, and it goes like stink. The interior is stylish, too.

    I have a real soft spot for manufacturers that persist with low-volume sellers like the G70, because such cars add much needed flavour to the industry in an age dominated by SUVs.

    MORE: Buy a Skoda Octavia
    MORE: Buy a Genesis G70

    Jack Quick: Skoda Octavia or BMW i4

    Skoda Octavia

    If you’re one of the few people still looking at a mid-sized sedan/wagon in 2024 I’d recommend taking a look at the Skoda Octavia.

    The Czech company recently introduced a new mid-spec Sportline variant that would be my pick. I’d personally go for the wagon, but the liftback is a great option too.

    Something that still surprises me about the Octavia is how much storage space it packs for a vehicle that’s relatively small. It’s also based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf.

    After a sportier option? Skoda also offers the Octavia RS which packs the same peppy 2.0-litre turbo as the Golf GTI and is a practical corner carver.

    BMW i4

    This electric liftback has grown on me over the years, though the faux front grille is a tad too beaver-like for my liking.

    The introduction of the new entry-level eDrive35 variant however, got it over the line for me.

    The BMW i4 eDrive35 slides under the Luxury Car Tax (LCT) threshold which means it’s also exempt from Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) for fleet leasing.

    Sure the i4 isn’t as efficient and doesn’t offer as much range as the segment-leading Model 3, but it forms as a fantastic luxurious alternative for someone who doesn’t want a Tesla.

    MORE: Buy a Skoda Octavia
    MORE: Buy a BMW i4

    William Stopford: Skoda Octavia or Genesis G70

    Skoda Octavia

    Now we’re talking. Yes, here I am excited about humble mid-sizers, once that most boring of segments.

    The SUV-ification of Australia has reached a point where even a Camry is an interesting choice, and other mass-market mid-sizers are practically exotic.

    The mass-market segment has been hollowed out, but there are still some desirable options. I could see myself in a Camry Hybrid, but wait times blew out so far that Toyota paused new orders. The new one isn’t as good-looking but it has better infotainment, though it remains to be seen how much it will cost.

    We know how much the rival Honda Accord will cost and, while it’s no doubt quite a capable Camry competitor, there’s a significant premium for it.

    That leaves me torn between two more exciting options: the Hyundai Sonata N Line and the Skoda Octavia RS. I’ll narrowly give the edge to the Czech contender here because it can be had as either a practical hatchback or a more roomy wagon.

    Genesis G70

    As for more premium offerings, I’ll go with a Korean option.

    The Genesis G70 3.3T‘s back seat and boot are cramped even by 3 Series rival standards.

    But its combination of a terrific chassis, a powerful twin-turbo V6, and a long equipment list, as well as a price tag over thousands of dollars less than a comparable German sedan make it impossible to ignore.

    It’s a pity the more practical Shooting Brake version isn’t offered with this engine.

    MORE: Buy a Skoda Octavia
    MORE: Buy a Genesis G70

    James Wong: Audi A4 allroad

    The mid-sized segment was once littered with wagon options, but they’ve dwindled significantly over the years…

    In the absence of VW’s Alltrack range as well as Skoda’s Scout crossover wagons, my pick is the beautifully aged Audi A4 allroad 40 TDI quattro.

    Who needs an SUV when you can get something like this? It drives better than a Q5, plus there’s a cool factor in the exclusivity of buying a more niche product.

    It’s also ridiculously efficient – the 2.0 TDI with 12V mild-hybrid assistance and twin-dosing AdBlue technology quotes hybrid-like fuel consumption of just 4.9L per 100km, with NOx emissions reduced by “more than 90 per cent” compared to its predecessor.

    My perfect family car.

    MORE: Buy an Audi A4

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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