Can Godzilla beat Tinky Winky?

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

GODZILLA is go­ing up against Tinky Winky in the last, and prob­a­bly most sig­nif­i­cant, car award for 2008.

It’s the Nis­san GT-R (right) against the Toy­ota iQ in a clash that takes in ev­ery pos­si­ble area of au­to­mo­tive com­bat, from su­per­car ver­sus fuel miser to all-wheeldrive coupe ver­sus front-wheeldrive city run­about.

The Nis­san and the Toy­ota lead the fi­nal field of 11 for the World Car of the Year con­test, which is about to be judged by 59 au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ists from Europe, Asia and North and South Amer­ica.

The field has been culled from more than 100 con­tenders. Each voter is ex­pected to have driven at least seven of the fi­nal­ists for the over­all award and the per­for­mance con­test.

The award field was orig­i­nally set at 10, but a tie on pre­lim­i­nary vot­ing means the fi­nal field is the Audi A4, BMW 7 Se­ries, Citroen C5, Fiat 500, Ford Fi­esta, Honda Jazz, Jaguar XF, Mazda6, Nis­san GT-R, Toy­ota iQ and Volk­swa­gen Golf.

As a mem­ber of the vot­ing panel, I’ve al­ready done my first cut. I won’t be tag­ging the Fiat, Honda, Jaguar or Mazda, and def­i­nitely not the Golf or Citroen.

My rea­sons go on and on, but the Golf is not much more than a facelift. The Citroen falls short in al­most ev­ery area be­yond its plush cabin and lounge­room ride.

When the time comes to make a de­ci­sion, it’s go­ing to be tough . . . par­tic­u­larly af­ter driv­ing the Ford Fi­esta last week. I had al­most set­tled on the iQ ahead of Godzilla, but now I’m not so sure.

And that’s what makes COTY con­tests of any kind, in­clud­ing the cars­Guide award won for 2008 by the Fal­con, so in­trigu­ing. You make your choice, then wait to see if your fel­low judges agree.

I will know if I got it right when the three fi­nal­ists are an­nounced on March 9. The win­ner will be at the New York Auto Show in April.

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