View Poll Results: Which car will win the 2006 Wheels Car of the Year.

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  • Alfa Romeo 159

    5 8.47%
  • Audi Q7

    3 5.08%
  • BMW 3-series Coupe

    6 10.17%
  • Fiat Punto

    4 6.78%
  • Holden Commodore VE

    15 25.42%
  • Holden Statesman/Caprice WM

    9 15.25%
  • Holden Captiva

    0 0%
  • Honda Legend

    3 5.08%
  • Mazda CX-7

    2 3.39%
  • Mercedes S-Class

    3 5.08%
  • Toyota Camry

    1 1.69%
  • Toyota Aurion

    6 10.17%
  • Toyota RAV4

    0 0%
  • VW Passat

    1 1.69%
  • VW Jetta

    1 1.69%
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Thread: 2006 Wheels Car of the Year: what will win in a very strong field?

  1. #1
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    2006 Wheels Car of the Year: what will win in a very strong field?

    The 2006 model year has been a great year for new car releases. In its December 2006 issue, Wheels magazine has listed the cars which are eligible for the Wheels Car of the Year award. The January issue will reveal a shortlist, as nominated by a committee of the magazine’s senior editorial staff and contributors. Only the cars from the shortlist will be taken on the full drive programme. The 2006 Car of the Year will be announced in the February 2007 issue.

    ELIGIBLE CARS
    Alfa Romeo 159
    Audi TT
    Audi Q7
    BMW 3-series Coupe
    Dodge Caliber
    Fiat Punto
    Holden Commodore VE
    Holden Statesman/Caprice WM
    Holden Captiva
    Honda Civic
    Honda Legend
    Hyundai Accent
    Hyundai Elantra
    Hyundai Grandeur
    Hyundai Santa Fe
    Jeep Commander
    Kia Magentis
    Mazda CX-7
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    Mercedes-Benz R-Class
    Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
    Mitsubishi Colt CC
    Mitsubishi Outlander
    Peugeot 407 Coupe
    Porsche Cayman
    Ssangyong Kyron
    Subaru Tribeca
    Toyota Camry
    Toyota Aurion
    Toyota RAV4
    Volkswagen Jetta
    Volkswagen Passat
    Volkswagen Caddy Life
    Volvo C70


    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.

    The following cars are ineligible for the award.
    Doesn’t meet newness criteria: Subaru Legacy, Holden Viva, Holden Barina.
    Doesn’t meet sales criteria: Alfa Romeo Brera, BMW Z4 Coupe, Jaguar XK (these three surprise me – I would’ve thought they’d meet the sales criteria or at least get close), Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Lamborghini Murcielago LP640, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Lotus Exige S. There’s always Motor’s Performance Car of the Year for all of these cars though.
    Safety: Kia Carnival/Grand Carnival, Nissan Tiida, Proton Savvy.
    Last edited by motorsportnerd; 11-29-2006 at 04:34 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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    This year the award will be fought out by some outstanding new releases. There is an obvious favourite (no prizes for guessing). There are some sleepers in the field.
    In alphabetical order, the following are the cars I think which will figure prominently. One of the following should win.

    Alfa Romeo 159: fantastic looking car that appears to be excellent value for money when considering the market it is aimed at. Apparently very refined to drive. The JTD diesel variants show the inroads that diesel is starting to make even in Australia. A diesel in an Alfa??? Anyway, Wheels notes that the heavier diesel doesn’t handle as well as the petrol variants. Not sure that the 159 has any real noteworthy technological advancements, but it should do well.
    Audi TT & Q7: both look good on paper and both are stylish. The Q7 has had some excellent reviews. The TT looks like a proper sports car this time. Both will struggle against the value for money criteria and there’s a strong argument they are limited in appeal. Wheels notes that neither is particularly good dynamically.
    BMW 3-series Coupe – the sedan failed to win last year. Not sure how well the Coupe will do. The 335Ci has a brilliant engine. The lesser engine are apparently not too bad either. This will help it against the performance criteria. May spring a surprise.
    Fiat Punto: return of the Italian marque to Australia. The car looks good, but seems a little expensive. Not sure about the quality either based on the motor show display cars I looked over. However, has excellent crash safety, decent dynamics and ride and the 1.3 turbo-diesel looks interesting. Another dark horse.
    Holden Commodore VE: The V8 models are outstanding against the value, safety and function criteria and the suspension design should help it against the technology criteria. If the Calais-V, with its brilliant blend of luxury, value, performance and dynamics could stand as a separate model range to the rest of the VE range it would take home the award. The SS-V won’t hurt the VE’s chance either. But, the six-cylinder models may hurt Holden’s chances of taking the award with the VE. The appearance of a four-speed auto and non-standard air conditioning in the Omega won’t help. The Alloytec six-cylinder engine is still behind the class standard. The VE is one of three cars that are eligible that I’ve actually driven, and I’m afraid that the six-cylinder Commodores aren't quite enough of an advance. But, the VE is still the favourite and the strengths of the V8 models may well be enough. If the VE wins it will in realty be a win for the Calais-V, whatever Wheels may say about giving the award to the whole range.
    Holden Statesman/Caprice WM: If the VE can’t win the award for Holden, they have a fallback in the excellent Statesman/Caprice models. Outstand value for money, and a decent drive as well. Only problem is that the six-cylinder version of the Statesman is more expensive than the Calais-V, and it has that same Alloytec that I don’t believe is quite good enough. The Statesman/Caprice is a strong even money chance to take the win, and will have extremely good odds on a top-three place.
    Holden Captiva: No doubting the value here. Not really a serious Territory competitor and not as innovative as the 2004 COTY winner either. However, Wheels has very few criticisms of the Captiva, and its probably near the top of the SUV class. Three of its rivals (CX-7, RAV4 and Outlander) are also eligible this year. Possible top ten contender.
    Honda Civic: won plenty of awards last year in Europe, but that was for the hatch that Australia doesn’t get. Apparently has excellent drivetrains, innovative dash design, and good handling. Steering is a let down. Excellent value for money though, with plenty of standard kit, and does well against the intended function criteria. Another possible top ten contender.
    Honda Legend: This is probably Honda’s best chance. Very impressive technologically, with its sophisticated AWD system and V6 engine. By all accounts a decent drive. The price isn’t too bad either, but at $74,500 it is against more established Euro brands.
    Mazda CX-7: apparently the best handling, most sporty SUV ever. Also looks very nice. And it has a detuned version of the Mazda6 MPS 2.3 litre turbo engine. So, will do very well against function, efficiency, and technology criteria. The safety criteria and value criteria shouldn’t be a problem either. Potentially the darkest of all dark horses. Lets not forget that Ford/ Mazda (remember Mazda is largely owned by Ford) products have won the last four awards (Falcon BA, Mazda RX8, Territory and Mazda MX5). This car has a very, very strong chance of making it five in a row.
    Mercedes S-Class: How can one of the world’s best cars not have a strong chance? Two previous versions of the S-Class have won – in 1981 and 1999. The expensive S-Class’s main problem is against the Value criteria. Looking at Wheels summary on the car suggests very few criticisms – limited to suggesting some of its styling cues are BMW 7-series rip off and that the AMG S63 and S65 variants aren’t available yet. One of the top contenders for sure.
    Mercedes R-Class & GL-Class: these two will fly under the radar a bit compared to the S-Class. The GL-Class has just won Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year in America, and Wheels main criticisms are off poor rear visibility, the diesels lack power and steering could be better. The R-Class is an interesting vehicle that is almost in a class of its own. Again Wheels has few criticisms. Where both will struggle is that they are expensive. But, either one could spring a surprise.
    Toyota Camry: A major advance of the old model, but still can’t quite cut the pace against the class-leading Mazda6. The Camry will probably struggle to make it past the first round. But as one of the four all-new Australia built cars release this year, it can't be completely overlooked. Unfortunately, the Camry’s biggest problem is its sibling, the….
    Toyota Aurion: Whatever you think of this car, a Camry V6 it is not. I’ve driven one and reported back to UCP – so see that report for my conclusions. A serious contender, the main problem the Aurion has is that it was released the same year as the emotional favourite, the Commodore VE. The Aurion, is in my opinion, the class leader amongst Australian six-cylinder cars, mostly due to its fantastic V6 engine/six-speed auto which will help it score strong marks against the technology and efficiency criteria. Stong marks against function, value and safety are also a given. However, no matter how well it does against the criteria, a win for the Aurion would be too controversial. I just can’t see Wheels giving it the award. Then again, they could surprise me and have the balls to see off the potential lost advertising from Holden and departure of some of the readership who won’t believe it. Top 5, probably even top 3, for sure, but a win seems unlikely.
    Toyota RAV4 – Toyota’s third contender this year. The only reason I’m mentioning it is that it is the third of the contenders I have driven. Will do well against the function criteria thanks to its flexible and efficient use of interior space. However, it has just adequate dynamics with too much body roll and too light steering. And the 2.4 litre engine struggles with the weight of the body. Old fashioned four speed auto also a disappointment considering the Camry gets a five-speed auto.
    Volkswagen Passat/Jetta: The Passat is one of the strongest contenders this year, particularly in V6 4Motion format, where it seems to be outstanding value. I wonder how many potential Calais six buyers will look at this car and decide not to buy the Holden? The TDi and 2.0T versions don’t let the side down either. So value, function, efficiency, safety and technology criteria are all met. Only let down – apparently the steering on the four cylinder versions could be better and it looks dull. The Passat is a very strong top 5 contender. The Jetta can’t be dismissed either, despite the fact it is basically a Golf with a boot. Wheels notes that the DSG Turbo variant at just $39,990 is a performance bargain. Steering feel apparently a problem.

    It is really hard to cut those contenders down to just a few. I didn’t even bother to mention any of the Hyundais, the Ssangyong, Volvo C70, Subaru Tribeca, Kia or Jeep. I don’t see any having a chance. The Porsche Cayman is too focused a sports car, and I doubt it’ll make the first cut. The Mitsubishi Outlander may do okay – New Zealand reports suggest it is a better car than the RAV4, but its unlikely to match the Mazda CX-7. The Colt is probably too expensive and not innovative enough.

    So, what do I think will win? Statesman/Caprice. Though the V8 versions of the VE may just be enough to lift the favourite to the top. I’ll be a little disappointed if the VE wins though, simply because I don’t believe the VE Omega is COTY material even if the top end variants are.
    So, Statesman/Caprice or VE will win, Aurion, S-Class, CX-7 and Passat are the next strongest contenders I believe.
    However, personally I hope Wheels has the balls to give the Aurion an unbiased showing and allow it to compete on its merits. If Wheels does have the balls, I think that the Aurion will run the WM and VE ranges very, very close. I suspect that the emotional appeal of the two Holden contenders and commercial realities of selling magazines and advertising revenue will win out, but I hope I’m wrong. Hopefully neither Holden wins the award for these reasons, but rather either one wins on merit. My tip for a dark horse contender? The Mazda CX-7. This looks like a very strong and deserving contender.
    I can’t remember another year with so many really strong contenders.
    Last edited by motorsportnerd; 01-10-2007 at 04:08 AM.
    UCP's biggest Ford Sierra RS500 and BMW M3 E30 fan. My two favourite cars of all time.

  3. #3
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    So what will win? Or, just as important, what should win? The two questions may have very different answers.
    I've included a poll this year as well.
    Last edited by motorsportnerd; 11-23-2006 at 12:45 PM.
    UCP's biggest Ford Sierra RS500 and BMW M3 E30 fan. My two favourite cars of all time.

  4. #4
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    Ive always had the feeling the Caprice would get it, It's priced better then before and has more bells and whistles then ever.

    I'll let you know how the 195 engine runs if i get it... But on the 1st of December if you here a man gone crazy in Avis Melbourne Airport tossing people around the place slapping the VZ Calais's and throwing phones crowe style.... that's not me
    "Just a matter of time i suppose"

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  5. #5
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    s class is the top of the top !!

  6. #6
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    Mazda CX7.
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  7. #7
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    Ive got a feeling VE will win. In '02, the XR6T contributed largely to the BA Falcon being handed the crown, as did the option of RWD for the Territory in '04. If the V models truly are THAT good, it could overshadow the dissapointments of Omega.

    VE Commodore, WM Statesman/Caprice, Aurion, CX-7 and Passat for top 5.
    I am the Stig

  8. #8
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    Out of this lot? The Alfa 159 for sure, hope they get the 200 BHP Multijet engine down under, but I doubt it...
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  9. #9
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    VE for the win, an emotional won at that, also for the rep of the mag, in my personal opinion. Such a great year for cars, and all of Australia will have its eyes on this one.

    1. VE
    2. CX -7
    3. Aurion
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  10. #10
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    The BA won it in 2002, now it's Holden's turn with the VE

    I chose Statesman/ Caprice. They offer alot of value and they look fantastic. I would take a V8 Caprice over a 5 Series on looks alone. They are also important for Holden's exporting ventures.
    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4
    Out of this lot? The Alfa 159 for sure, hope they get the 200 BHP Multijet engine down under, but I doubt it...
    I agree, altough the Punto it's also a good car.
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer
    I agree, altough the Punto it's also a good car.
    it is also not Australian
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4
    it is also not Australian
    Maybe they'll open their eyes one day...
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  14. #14
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    Alfa Romeo 159 All the way..
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlickHolden
    Ive always had the feeling the Caprice would get it, It's priced better then before and has more bells and whistles then ever.

    I'll let you know how the 195 engine runs if i get it... But on the 1st of December if you here a man gone crazy in Avis Melbourne Airport tossing people around the place slapping the VZ Calais's and throwing phones crowe style.... that's not me
    If they don't have a VE Calais for you, ask them for a Statesman WM. Hope for you sake they don't try to give you a Toyota Camry Grande, which has on the fleet and in the came rental class as the Calais.
    Whatever they give you, look at it this way. You'll still have fun - it is a rental after all. And we still want a report.
    UCP's biggest Ford Sierra RS500 and BMW M3 E30 fan. My two favourite cars of all time.

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