Presenting our first main contenders . . . Five of the best
The coveted Car of the Year award launches, writes Paul Gover
THE race for the biggest prize in Australian motoring begins today. The first five contenders are on the starting grid for the carsGuide Car of the Year contest of 2010, all aiming to succeed last year’s s champion, the Volkswagen Golf.
They range from a sub-$20,000 European hatch to a pair of $100,000-plus luxury contenders from two of the best-known brands in the business.
The field will be filled next week, with the announcement of the final five, as well as the contenders for the Green Car of the Year award and the People’s Choice judging.
The 10 finalists for the Car of the Year contest have been culled from more than 100 new models that hit Australian showrooms over the past year and represent every major class and category, from baby fuel misers to sports cars and SUVs.
The first five are the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Peugeot RCZ, Suzuki Kizashi and Volkswagen Polo.
Their final ranking in the top 10 will be decided by nine carsGuide judges from across Australia, who have more than 100 years’ combined experience in driving and assessing new cars.
This year there is also a carsGuide guest judge, fuel economy champion and retired rally star Ed Ordynski.
The criteria for the contest is simple: each car is measured against an overall standard of ex- cellence in everything from safety and design to comfort, quality and economy, as well as its class rivals.
Here are the first five and their claim to Car of the Year fame: BMW 5 SERIES From $83,300 Paul Pottinger THE all-new mid-sized 5 Series is a serious return to form for BMW with seven models, including sedans and wagons, with no less than four different engines. Prices range from $83,300 to $178,900 with a bewildering array of options that can add tens of thousands to your bill. MERCEDES-BENZ E CLASS from $95,300 Stuart Martin THE arrival of the new Benz midsizer continues the head-to-head battle with the BMW 5. The difference now is that the Mercedes has the more confronting styling. A full leather interior, bi-xenon head- lights, 17inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone link, power-adjustable seats, hard-drive and iPod-integrated sound system are among the key standard features. PEUGEOT RCZ from $54,990 Neil Dowling THIS is the most radical coupe to hit the road since the original Audi TT. A choice of petrol and diesel engines, with a well-equipped interior and a single price for the three-model range, will draw the more outgoing motorist. SUZUKI KIZASHI from $27,990 Mark Hinchliffe THE first Suzuki effort in the medium class is over-engineered and under-priced to make an impact against classy rivals, including the Mazda6, Honda Accord Euro and even the home-grown Toyota Camry. The predictable handling, high levels of safety, sporty styling and quiet refinement make it perfect for small Australian families. VOLKSWAGEN POLO from $16,990 Paul Gover THE Polo is a condensed Golf that finally dumps the dowdy feel of previous VW starter cars, and also makes a significant improvement in everything from safety to the way the doors close. It jumped straight to the top end of the light car class in Australia, helped by a $16,990 basic price. Most buyers are going for five doors, and the 1.2-litre force-fed engine puts it light years away from a Hyundai Getz. But the popularity of the car proves people will pay for something better than the rest of the pack.
Mini Golf: theVWPolo is a big improvement on everything from safety to the way the doors close.
car of the year