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Thread: Wheels 2005 Car of the Year Nominees - what will be Australia's Car of the Year?

  1. #1
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    Wheels 2005 Car of the Year Nominees - what will be Australia's Car of the Year?

    The January 2006 issue of Wheels has listed the cars which will be eligible to win the 2005 Wheels Car of the Year.
    The list is:
    BMW 3-series
    Chrysler 300C
    Citroen C4
    Ford Focus
    Hyundai Sonata
    Holden Tigra
    Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Land Rover Discovery 3
    Lexus IS
    Lexus GS
    Mercedes B-Class
    Merecedes CLS
    Merecedes M-Class
    Mitsubishi 380
    Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX
    Renault Scenic
    Porsche Boxster
    Suzuki Swift
    Toyota Yaris.

    The criteria for the award are:
    FUNCTION (how well the car drives, performance, packaging, ergonomics, comfort, refinement)
    EFFICIENCY (fuel consumption and environmental issues, advances in production/manufacturing methods that result in improved efficiencies)
    TECHNOLOGY (advances and innovation - at a reasonable price)
    SAFETY (active and passive)
    VALUE (does the car deliver a worthy blend of abilities and qualities for the price).

    Cars eligible are any car released during the 2005 model year is eligible, providing that it meets the following requirements:
    NEWNESS - that the car scores at least two ticks against the following: New Design and Purpose, New Dimensions and New Technology
    SEATBELTS - cars must have a lap-sash seatbelt in every model.
    SALES - at least 250 a year must sell - hence no exotica qualify.

    As a result the NEWNESS criteria the following are ineligible:
    Falcon BF and Territory SY (may be class leaders, but only qualifies on new technology - the six-speed auto);
    Mazda6 (as with BF);
    VW Golf GTI (meets new design and purpose compared to other Golfs, but is just an addition to the range);
    Honda Accord Euro (minor facelift only);
    Subaru Impreza (major design change, but no change in dimensions or new technology) and a number of cars that wouldn't have a chance anyway - Audi A3 Sportback and A4, Holden Astra Coupe and Wagon, Holden Barina and Viva (rebadged Daewoos, so not "new").

    The Kia Sportage and SsangYong Stavic failed to meet the Seatbelts criteria.
    Finally, several cars were eligible but not nominated - mainly due to being behind the class standard: Kia Rio, Nissan Pathfinder, Renault Megane Coupe-Convertable, Mercedes A-Class, Range Rover Sport and Suzuki Grand Vitara.

    So what will win?
    I think the winner will be either the Suzuki Swift - don't laugh - or th Toyota Yaris.
    The Mazda MX5, Chrysler 300C, Lexus IS250, Mitsubishi 380, BMW 3-series, Ford Focus, Nissan Murano and Hyundai Sonata will likely round out the top 10.
    Reasoning? I realise most here probably aren't small car fans - but both cars have strong claims.
    First the Suzuki Swift - this little car has been picking up a stack of awards.
    It won UK Car Magazine's Car of the Year award - to quote the Jan 06 issue: "It looks fantastic - sturdy, stylish, fresh; the sort of thing current Mazdas try but fail to be - and it has the practicality of the [Fiat] Panda combined with the agility of the smaller [Peugeot] 107". It then asked the question, why does it win: "Not by being extraordinarily superior in any one area, but by being good in all areas, and by not getting its priorities tangled....the Swift is stylish, roomy, good value, pretty quick and a lot of fun to drive."
    It won NZ Autocars' Small Car of the Year award (o/all went to Golf GTi): "Suzuki finally puts on of its funky small-car concepts into production, and it instantly goes to the top of the class".
    Wheels notes in its Showroom section that: "looks terrific, rides and performs well" but that its rear seat is uncomfortable and steering not the best.
    Toyota Yaris should be closest competitor - a clunky four speed auto its main problem. Wheels notes: "Outstanding value; solid body feel; sprightly dynamics; clever interior packaging" but that its added safety kit adds weight and blunts performance.
    The Suzuki does well against the function, efficency, technology, value and safety criteria, as does the Yaris. Never seen an Aussie comparison between the two - the UK comparos suggest the Suzuki is the better car.
    As for the rest?
    Mits 380 won't win since its neither class leading nor particularly innovative.
    Mazda MX5 is fantastic to drive, but limited in appeal. However, original MX5 did win, and the Wheels road test in the December issue raved about it.
    Chrylser 300C an outside chance - particular with the innovative way the engine shuts down four cylinders in sedate motoring. However, quality issues may get it - never read a report that didn't moan about the quality of the car.
    BMW 3-series - good, but not great. We don't get the turbo-diesels. Both Top Gear and Fifth Gear in the UK have suggested the Ford Mondeo is nearly as good, so no, it shouldn't win.
    Lexus 250 - looks great, and it doesn't beat the 3-series to the class win.
    Focus - its problem is the Golf. Focus isn't the class leader and Golf didn't win last year.
    Murano - looks good, is different and novel - but probably not good enough to win.
    Sonata - probably best value for money car on the market. Dynamics still let it down - but having said that its much, much better than a Camry V6.

    While I think it will be between the Swift and Yaris, I don't think 2005 was a great year. There were no stand outs. And whichever car wins, it will be a slightly hollow victory. Three cars were released in the past year that didn't meet the "newness" criteria - Falcon BF, Mazda6 and VW Golf GTi. If these three qualified, they would be in the top three. These three cars appear to be Wheel's current real world favourite cars. Perhaps it is time to revise the criteria?
    I'd suggest that if the class leader/s (as based on Wheels' comparos) or a past COTY winner has been mildly revised in the model year (ie: it meets one of the newness criteria, rather than the usual two), it should be automatically eligible - which would give the BF, Mazda6, Accord Euro, Impreza (WRX) and Golf GTi a start.
    Any car such as the Golf GTi which is merely an addition to an existing model range, but which would probably have helped that model range win the COTY award if it had been released with the rest of the range, should be eligible. For example, if the Golf GTi had been available on the market for last years COTY award, it probably would have given the Golf Mk 5 range enough of a boast to win the award over the Territory.
    Any other thoughts on what should win this year OR whether the eligibility criteria should be changed?
    Last edited by motorsportnerd; 01-03-2006 at 03:06 AM.
    UCP's biggest Ford Sierra RS500 and BMW M3 E30 fan. My two favourite cars of all time.

  2. #2
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    If the 380 gets in the top 2 im gonna go suicidal...but yea your right the swift has a good chance, aswell as the yaris...but the focus has a good chance too I think..on the safety standpoint the yaris has it in the bag compared to the swift...you can option 9 airbags I think...
    Last edited by adrenaline; 01-03-2006 at 04:53 AM.

  3. #3
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    Maybe the Hyundai Sonata ?

    The 300c top gear gave a going to, They like the look but other things shit them.
    I seen a big black one the other day, And this guy was belting the suit case out of it, Very big very fast to my shock. But when he come to the roundabout it all went down hill, He was going around and the thing was turning over like the Titanic, It's fine in straight lines and cruising for looks, But bends it chokes on hard.
    "Just a matter of time i suppose"

    "The elevator is broke, So why don't you test it out"

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  4. #4
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    BMW 3 prolly
    Gone:
    09 Ducati Monster 696
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    Current:
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  5. #5
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    With you on the Swift! I've heard a lot of praise about the car. MX-5 could get in the top as well as the Sonata.
    uʍop ǝpısdn sı ƃuıʇıɹʍ ʎɯ

  6. #6
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    Either the Sonata, 3 series, or Swift.

  7. #7
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    lexus IS will be in the top 3

  8. #8
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    The sonata has a pretty good chance...its getting some pretty good reviews and looks the part...actually it looks more like an A6...lol they must all love audis at hyundai..the front lights, the rears, even the windows...its all audi A6...

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    Go the Lexus IS!!! Of course, no bias whatsoever

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADRENALINE
    The sonata has a pretty good chance...its getting some pretty good reviews and looks the part...actually it looks more like an A6...lol they must all love audis at hyundai..the front lights, the rears, even the windows...its all audi A6...
    We might be buying one in the next few weeks
    Its between the Sonata and the Honda Accord 30th Anniversary Edition.

    Sorry Slick, since we're moving we can't wait until the VE
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  11. #11
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    The Sonata is an interesting one. Personally, I think the Sonata takes the awards for the most improved car of the year and the best value car on the market- but that's not the same as overall car of the year.
    My father owns the old shape Sonata 2.4 - he didn't ask my recommendation - and it goes reasonably well. The new cars is apparantly light years ahead of the old one. However, it has very strong competition in both the four clyinder and six clyinder class. Top of the four clyinder class must be considered to be either the Accord Euro, Mazda6 or Subaru Liberty (take your pick...they're all top notch). The Sonata can't match these three for refinement, quality, sportiness, dynamics or performance. It can match them for value for money, interior space, safety and fuel economy and styling is a matter of taste but I think the Mazda6 is best looking in the class.
    As for the six clyinder class - I know that the Sonata won a comparo in Drive against the 380 and BF - but that was because the writers couldn't overlook how stunning value for money the Sonata represents. It didn't beat the 380 or BF in any other area. And the journo did have to consider the value for money aspect when recommending which car for the average joe to buy.
    So, the Sonata is getting up to the class standard now, but not to the top of it. Car of the Year? I'd be surprised, but I do think Sonata is the dark horse.
    Also, one of my colleagues hates the thing - can't believe that a Hyundai could ever be a good car. That's a problem for the Sonata - public perception of the brand has a long way to go.
    UCP's biggest Ford Sierra RS500 and BMW M3 E30 fan. My two favourite cars of all time.

  12. #12
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    I think the Disco could surprise a few people. I dont know if it can win though. Sure the Territory did last year, but Ford werent exactly worried about its off road performance and such concentrated 95% on its on road performance, and thats what won it COTY. Land Rover on the other hand still have the reputation of their name on the line and as such its off road dynamics will probably compromise its on road too much for the judges.
    I am the Stig

  13. #13
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    Swift
    IS
    MX-5.

    the few cars they've tested this year beyond Serious criticism.

    Although don't rule out a sympathy 380 Win.

    and in regards to the Disco, they tested the Range Rover Sport recently, and contrary to the raving reviews it has recieved from other outlets, ranked it lower than it's competitors due to it's large kerb weight and lack of on-road prowess......
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  14. #14
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    I think the Swift, Sonata and 380 will definitely be up there If I remember correctly, they were the top 3 in the COTY awards for the Herald Sun (newspaper down in Victoria). However, I think that the MX-5, IS (go you good thing!!!), 3-series and possibly even the Boxster will all be up there amongst the top few. In the Herald Sun, the Swift was voted unambiguously as the COTY, with the rest all trailing behind. I just hope Wheels realises the myriad of virtues of the little Lexus IS and it comes through for the win! I'm probably just dreaming though

  15. #15
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    I say go the MX-5, 3 series and Boxster.

    How a Swift could win over a Yaris is beyond me, I certainly would project a top five for either car.

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