Medium Cars under $45K: Gold Star Value Awards 2015

Medium Cars under $45K: Gold Star Value Awards 2015

Asia dominates big group

Kia Optima Si

Kia -Optima -SiTHE Optima finishes on top, not with brilliant resale (though its 58 percent figure is rock-solid) nor with spectacular fuel economy (it’s actually among the thirstier cars in the class at 7.9L/100km). And, while the 12-month service interval is as long as any (and longer than some), it’s no better than the second-placed Hyundai’s.

How did the Korean mid-sizer do it, then? Kia’s industry-best seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty did the bulk of the work by giving it the full 10 points available in this regard, which few cars (and no rivals) earned, but even if the Optima had a five-year warranty, like the Hyundai i40, it would still come first, so its value fundamentals are sound.

Had both cars come with three-year warranties, they would be relegated to the middle of the field; still good picks overall, but no longer placegetters. So, how much is a long warranty worth, anyway? Well, in something as undoubtedly dependable as a Kia, perhaps not that much in real dollar terms, but the peace of mind it affords is priceless.

Hyundai i40 Active sedan

Hyundai -i 40-Active -SedanYOU can take your pick between the petrol i40 wagon and the turbo-diesel i40 sedan if you want a value-packed mid-sizer, you just can’t have a petrol sedan, which has been dropped (though you can also have an oil-burning wagon, which would be our pick).

Subaru Liberty 2.5i

Subaru -Liberty -25iSUBARU longevity is the stuff of campfire legend, with no exaggeration, honest. It’s pleasing to see, then, that a sober spreadsheet analysis also confirms that a Subie represents cost-effective motoring.

Medium Cars under $45K Kia Optima Si Hyundai i40 Active sedan Subaru Liberty 2.5i auto sedan
Purchase Price $31,490 $31,990 $29,990
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 7.9 7.5 7.3
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 91 91 91
Three-year fuel cost $4509 $4281 $4167
Redbook resale (%) 57.9 53.3 63.9
Three-year depreciation $13,257 $14,939 $10,826
AAMI insurance premium $958 $960 $845
Service interval (months) 12 12 6
Warranty (years) 7 3 3

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.

Want free access to 5 years of Wheels archive content? Sign up now!