Ti­tle fight is on

A home­grown hero makes the fi­nal list, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE field is set for cars­Guide Car of the Year 2010. The lat­est five con­tenders are re­vealed and com­plete the 10-car line-up for two days of backto-back as­sess­ment and com­par­i­son that will de­cide Aus­tralian mo­tor­ing’s biggest prize.

Each is aim­ing to suc­ceed the Volk­swa­gen Golf as COTY cham­pion.

The new con­tenders range from the small­est to the largest in the 2010 field, the baby Hyundai i20 and the Kia Sportage SUV, as well as the only home­grown hero in the field, the Toy­ota Camry Hy­brid.

The Skoda Su­perb wagon and Subaru Forester diesel also sur­vived the cull of more than 100 new mod­els that hit Aus­tralian show­rooms over the past year.

They are joined to­day by the con­tenders for Green Car of the Year and the Peo­ple’s Choice judg­ing (see Page 42).

Full de­tails of the Peo­ple’s Choice con­tenders are avail­able from www.cars­guide.com.au

The fi­nal rank­ing in the top 10 will be de­cided by nine cars­Guide judges as well as fuel econ­omy cham­pion and re­tired rally star Ed Or­dyn­ski.

Here are the fi­nal five and their claim to COTY fame: HYUNDAI i20, from $15,490 Mark Hinch­liffe MO­TORISTS no longer have to com­pro­mise on style and sub­stance when buy­ing a light car. Hyundai has packed fea­tures and driv­ing dy­nam­ics into the stylish i20, all at an at­trac­tive price with run­ning costs that won’t break the bank.

This is an­other ex­am­ple of Hyundai get­ting it right in a tough and com­pet­i­tive sec­tor. A re­cent $500 price rise di­lutes the at­trac­tion marginally, though it brings a six-airbag cabin to join the ESP, Blue­tooth and iPod ca­pa­bil­ity. KIA SPORTAGE, from $25,990 Neil Dowl­ing THE new Sportage marks a huge step for Kia with three mod­els, two en­gines and two driv­e­trains.

The SLi turbo-diesel au­to­matic is ex­pected to be the most pop­u­lar be­cause of per­for­mance, an af­ford­able $34,990 price and its high safety and equip­ment list. It’s well built, has great per­for­mance and han­dling, is eco­nom­i­cal and roomy — it even goes off the road. Even bet­ter, it is cheaper than the Hyundai ix35 that it is ef­fec­tively cloned from. SKODA SU­PERB WAGON from $40,990 Paul Pot­tinger THE wagon is back and the Czech con­tender is a large fam­ily car that brings Euro­pean style and tech­ni­cal so­phis­ti­ca­tion to a price point where the Com­modore roams.

The ba­sic en­gi­neer­ing is good, there is ex­cel­lent qual­ity in the cabin, and sur­prise-and-de­light fea­tures in­clude a torch in the lug­gage com­part­ment and an um­brella in a rear door. SUBARU FORESTER from $30,990 Paul Gover THE most car-like SUV of all has been a win­ner for Subaru since day one, though a makeover means it is more Amer­i­can-cen­tric in ev­ery­thing from cabin size to styling.

The Forester gets a diesel en­gine but it’s avail­able only as a man­ual and that hurts in auto-fo­cused Aus­tralia.

It prom­ises to drive like a car in the city but work well for week­end ex­cur­sions, as well as bring­ing a higher seat­ing po­si­tion for older driv­ers. TOY­OTA CAMRY HY­BRID from $36,990 Karla Pin­cott THE first hy­brid off an Aussie pro­duc­tion line makes the Camry a land­mark car for lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing— and for pol­i­tics, with some of our green­marked taxes at least go­ing back into Aus­tralian jobs.

The donor Camry has been here for four years, and the hy­brid ver­sion has been on sale over­seas for about the same time, so that ex­pe­ri­ence and the hy­brid sys­tem largely bor­rowed from the third­gen­er­a­tion Prius adds the as­sur­ance of de­pend­abil­ity. Still, there are other and sim­i­larly sized cars with sim­i­lar econ­omy and a far more en­gag­ing look and feel.

Aussie suc­cess story: (left) the Camry Hy­brid is a land­mark car for lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers.

car of the year | 2010

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