Aus­tralian mo­tor­ing’s most prized award is set to be a bat­tle royale

Wheels (Australia) - - Redline - ANDY ENRIGHT

THE field for Wheels Car of the Year has rarely, if ever, been stronger than that as­sem­bled for the 2019 show­down. Last year’s fi­nal­ists, the Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia, the Skoda Ko­diaq and the Volvo XC60 sub­tly morph into the Stelvio, the Karoq and the XC40, so right there you have a trio that many would con­sider likely to go deep into the com­pe­ti­tion.

Mass mar­ket favourites like the Toy­ota Corolla and the Ford Fo­cus just can’t be ig­nored, and the mas­sive 50-car long list con­tains some cars that could eas­ily come up on the rails and spring a few sur­prises. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Volk­swa­gen Polo have both won big Wheels com­par­i­son tests, so we’re aware of their cre­den­tials go­ing into the com­pe­ti­tion. Would you bet against a maiden vic­tory for BMW with its new X5? Mazda’s CX-8 also de­mands to be taken se­ri­ously, es­pe­cially given that its sister ve­hi­cle, the CX-9, mea­sured up very smartly against the judg­ing cri­te­ria of func­tion, safety, ef­fi­ciency, value and tech­nol­ogy to take the win in 2017.

One car will emerge at the end of an in­tense week and it’ll de­serve the ac­co­lades. Many ex­tremely good ve­hi­cles will have fallen by the way­side. Here are 10 cars that have un­doubt­edly caught the eye of our testers in the lead-up.

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