Other con­tenders

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car Of The Year -


Rated against the ob­jec­tive cri­te­ria, the petrol-elec­tric Camry is a solid per­former that scores for com­fort, quiet­ness and — ob­vi­ously — ef­fi­ciency. It’s also hard to vote against the only home­grown car in the field. But the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is still blan­doid, the price is too high from $36,990, the boot space is tiny and there is not enough spe­cial stuff to con­vince buy­ers that it re­ally is a Prius-style hy­brid.


One of the pre-COTY favourites faded fast when it was lined up against ri­vals. The look is too chunky and Amer­i­can, the ride is too soft and wal­lowy, and the tur­bod­iesel en­gine doesn’t have enough punch and is poorly matched to the six-speed man­ual gear­box. Subaru has done some great cars, but the lat­est Forester is not nearly good enough in this field.


The French coupe is eas­ily the glam­our puss of 2010 and de­serves a COTY fi­nals spot purely on its de­sign. That’s good be­cause the en­gi­neer­ing lets it down, in ev­ery­thing from the choppy ride and nose-heavy han­dling to a clutch pedal that ru­ins the driv­ing po­si­tion by sit­ting way above the brake and ac­cel­er­a­tor. And the back-seat space? Even for a coupe it’s tiny.


The new Korean price fighter was one of the first starters con­firmed for COTY 2010 based on its $14,990 pric­etag — now up to $15,490 with six airbags — a funky de­sign and a solid driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. But it’s never bet­ter than mid­field against the best of 2010.


One of the best cars is new again and comes with a lot to like, from bench­mark safety to a roomy, cushy, cos­set­ing cabin. It’s great for a long trip, will be rock-solid on re­sale, and comes with im­pres­sive en­gines and stan­dard equip­ment.


BMW and Benz have swapped on styling and the 5 Se­ries ben­e­fits with a body that is more el­e­gant than the pre­vi­ous model, and a cabin that’s a lot more wel­com­ing. The car also drives bril­liantly in any con­di­tions and will eas­ily han­dle a twin-turbo V8 next year as an M5. But it costs too much.


The first mid-sized car with a Suzuki badge was an in­stant hit when it ar­rived in Aus­tralia, con­firm­ing the classy work of the ear­lier Swift and Grand Vi­tara. It’s a taut, well-de­signed pack­age that is also great value from $27,990. But poor wet-road per­for­mance dur­ing the COTY judg­ing — per­haps down to rogue tyres — hurt it badly.



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