Pre­sent­ing our first main con­tenders . . . Five of the best

The cov­eted Car of the Year award launches, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

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

| 2010

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.