Finalists announced for NZ Car of the Year

December 8th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Voted for annually by more than three dozen established motoring journalists, each of whom is a member of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild, the award is the country’s most comprehensive. It is also the most respected by the car industry itself, being the embodiment of the opinions of experts representing every automotive medium.

This includes the motoring sections of the country’s major daily and weekly newspapers, several automotive websites, car and lifestyle magazines, and a number of radio and television outlets.

Over several months, the Guild’s Car of the Year committee has assembled its shortlist of finalists, which has been selected from all new models launched in New Zealand during the 12 months prior to 1 November 2008.

The cars on the 2009 shortlist are:

The vehicle that emerges from this list to be selected early in the New Year as the 21st New Zealand Car of the Year will have been tested at length by voting Guild members on roads throughout the country. As well as its performance and handling, the facets under consideration will include the car’s suitability for the task for which it was designed, its value for money, ease of operation, fuel economy, and build quality, along with its level of home comforts and safety accoutrements, and yes, even how good it looks.

Every vehicle is scored out of 100 by each voter, and the Guild’s winner will take the title of New Zealand Car of the Year only after thousands of separate voting decisions have been collated and assessed.¨¨The distributors of the winning car will be awarded the Peter Greenslade Trophy, named after the now deceased motoring editor of The Press in Christchurch, who was one of the instigators of the Car of the Year award in the late 1980s.

The current holder of the New Zealand Car of the Year Award is the Ford Falcon, Other recent winners include the latest Mazda 2, Porsche Cayman, Mazda MX-5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and previous-generations of the Honda Accord Euro and Ford Mondeo.

VW Polo wins 2010 European Car of the Year

December 1st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

VW Polo 2009 fq1

The new VW Polo has scored a narrow triumph in the 2010 Car of the Year Award, beating six other finalists. The result, announced today, show that the Polo scored 347 points against 337 for Toyota’s new city car, the iQ. The pair were well ahead of the next-best runner, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra with 221 points, while the other finalists were the Skoda Yeti (158), the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (155), the Peugeot 3008 (144) and the Citroen C3 Picasso (113).

Announcing the result, Autocar’s Steve Cropley, who is one of six UK based jurors, and one of 59 car experts from 23 European countries who decide the award, revealed that the Polo was chosen as the winning car by 25 jurors, while the iQ was chosen by 20 jurors. The competition was neck-and-neck throughout the counting, with the Polo’s win confirmed only as the last vote was counted.

“This year’s results show that the body of COTY jurors firmly believes that small, economical cars were the best of this year’s crop,” says Cropley.  “The Polo is a very complete, very refined car which delivers all the consistent qualities VW has become so well known for. However, given its unusual layout, controversial looks and premium price, the iQ did amazingly well, and it was nice to see good support for the Astra, whose maker, GM Europe, was victorious this year with the Insignia executive car. The E-Class Mercedes, considered by many to be the maker’s best saloon model for years, was also well supported.”

The COTY jury is made up of 59 senior  motoring journalists from 23 countries. Their objective is to choose the most outstanding new car to go on sale in the past 12 months. Jurors vote twice:  first to select a short-list of seven from the new cars launched in Europe, then again to choose the winner.

2010 European Car of the Year nominees announced

November 6th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

2010 European Car of the Year

The European Car of the Year contest is usually stacked with European cars, of course, if not cars from around the world that are sold in Europe. But this year, the fight is being waged almost exclusively between European cars with outside manufacturers barely getting a look in.

The candidates for the 2010 awards were announced back in June, but that’s really just a long list of vehicles that are eligible. Now the panel of automotive journalists from across the continent have chosen their seven nominees among from which the final winner will be selected.

Those up for the prize are:

  • Citroen C3 Picasso
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Opel/Vauxhall Astra
  • Peugeot 3008
  • Skoda Yeti
  • Toyota iQ
  • Volkswagen Polo

The iQ is the only non-European product in with a chance, and the Mercedes the only car among the finalists even currently available in the North American market.

The winner should be announced by the end of November.