Whatthe judges say

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car Of The Year -


‘‘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.

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