Whatthe judges say
‘‘Condensing all the good stuff from the Golf into the Polo has worked.’’
‘‘The Superb wagon is a very good-looking and practical place to travel, with huge space and high quality.’’
‘‘I was surprised by the Polo. It’s a great drive and well priced.’’
‘‘The Sportage is solid, surprising and even stylish.’’
‘‘The soccer mum package par excellence. The Sportage is what middle Australia wants.’’
‘‘The new Sportage has redefined expectations for the Korean breed and brought it out of Hyundai’s shadow.’’
‘‘The Skoda wagon is a real surprise that will satisfy and delight discerning motorists from its sophisticated powerplant up front to its innovative cargo area in the rear.’’
‘‘The all-new Sportage is a huge step forward and is well built with great performance, handling, economy and cabin space.’’ THE first stop for the carsGuide team testing its parade of 10 finalists, writes Mark Hinchliffe, was Queensland’s historic Lakeside Park raceway.
There are no lap-record runs as the cars are only assessed for high-speed stability and road noise, handling limits, braking reliability and consistency, and emergency dynamics.
At the circuit wet grip levels were also tested and each car assessed to see if it fulfilled its design brief.
We stuff the cars front and back with passengers, prod and probe the controls and switches, dig under the cargo floor, pore through the engine bay and crawl underneath for a thorough inspection.
After hours of probing and almost 100km of ontrack testing with each vehicle, the group heads for the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
These roads provide a mixture of surfaces, cambers and corners on which to test the daily driving duties of the vehicles.
The first evening of judging involves several hours of debating all aspects of the cars and going through the technical specifications.
The next morning the 10 finalists are photographed at the Blackall Ranges before another full day of real-world testing.
The roads on the second day include some smooth and some rutted gravel, ideal for assessing road noise, clearance, vulnerability of the underbody, tyre grip and safety systems.
A final 100km highway cruise gives judges the opportunity to test economy, cruise control and touring potential.
In the end, each judge lists all 10 vehicles in order of preference, with 10 points awarded for first choice, down to one point for last choice.