We’re halfway to COTY
SO there goes another financial year. Happy new financial times. Or something.
Aside from its fiscal finality, the EOFY signifies that most disagreeable sensation of ageing— another calendar year passing, but pages on the floor and me with no real sense of it having passed other than a growing mountain of 2013
Carsguide editions on the shelf. As surely as the chill of a winter morn the aching joints that go with it, EOFY signifies for us Carsguiders that we’re slightly over halfway toward another Car of the Year contest. One grimaces. One groans.
Surely it’s but a matter of weeks— not seven months— since we last assembled our 10 finalists (plus one last year) to spend days in the brass monkey pre-dawn of the Blue Mountains for photo shoots and endless injections of caffeine?
Last week I asked the crew to submit a draft of their respective first fives or sixes. Don’t take these as given. There’s a great deal more to come in 2013. Not least of these is the new wave of mini SUVs including the General Motors twins Holden Trax and Opel Mokka, Ford’s EcoSport and from France, Renault’s Captur and Peugeot’s 2008.
Any of these, and more besides, have the capacity to be game changers. So only for what it’s worth at this point, this is an assortment in chronological order of new cars to have arrived since December on which I’d spend my money.
Mazda6 diesel ( $40,350+): A
big car in all but classification, this decidedly mature Mazda is the most compelling reason yet to consider this model line alongside the A4, 3 Series and C-Class.
Holden Calais V6 ($46,990): The all-round champ of the VFs I’ve driven so far. Touches like head-up display and blindspot warning (necessary with those tiny mirrors) are cherries atop a rich cake.
Mercedes-Benz A200 or CLA 200 ($40,900 and TBA): The hatch wins to live with, but
to drive it’s a toss up with the outrageously cool four-door coupe.
Holden Cruze SRi (from $22,490): A mid-life, locally engineered reinvention so thorough, so advanced on the previous Cruze that it deserves a new name.
Volkswagen Golf 90 TSI Comfortline ($24,990): Not subject to That Recall, this is a small car with limo-like refinement and perfect manners.
Kia Rondo SLi diesel
($36,490): The family car you didn’t know you needed— a good-looking practical and decent to drive people-mover.
But, as we, say there’s more to come. Likewise with prestige cars, which we consider separately. Jaguar’s F-Type will have to be uber special to upstage Porsche’s Cayman S, which makes our five-star max rating seem inadequate.
But that’s now. Late November’s when. And as a famous man mightn’t have said: ‘‘ We’ll all have passed a lot of water by then.’’
Twofor won: Last year’s COTY twin winners, the
Toyota 86 and Subaru’s BRZ