The new-car juggernaut rolled on again in 2016 with dozens of new arrivals, setting the scene for a battle royale for Australia’s Best Cars awards for 2016.
Judges from RACV and the other motoring clubs across Australia are now gathering last minute information and checking facts to sort out the finalists in each category, in preparation for final judging.
Leading the new-model charge is an updated version of the Mazda3, which now comes with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) on all models, setting a high standard for active safety for the Small Car Under $35K category.
The question is: has enough been done to get over the value for money advantage Hyundai enjoyed last year? Holden’s new Astra also promises to ramp up the pressure in what has been a busy segment.
The intense competition in Australia’s most popular new-car class is indicative of a raft of key new arrivals that could reshape the winners in the established Best Cars categories, which cover everything from city hatchbacks and sports cars through to SUVs, luxury cars and dual-cab utes.
However, Australia’s Best Cars doesn’t just focus on new arrivals; it looks at every car currently on sale and shortlists three or four finalists across 15 categories.
Once again SUVs accounted for a large chunk of the new-model action in 2016. This year’s arrivals include Kia’s new Sportage and the Renault Koleos; which promise to put up a solid fight in the booming AWD SUV Under $50K segment; a category Subaru dominated last year with its Outback and Forester.
Mazda’s new CX-9 will use turbocharged four-cylinder power and a solid active safety technology to take on another strong field in the AWD SUV $50K-$65K category.
Will revisions to the Toyota Camry and Mazda6 be enough to push them up to the pointy end of the Medium Under $50K field?
Toyota’s Hilux will have a tough battle against the heavily revised Colorado, which benefits from Australian development and engineering as well as more features.
These questions and a lot more will be answer when the ABC judges factor in the all the buying, on-going ownership, driving and livability aspects of more than 200 cars.
Australia’s Best Cars final testing kicks off in December. Winners will be announced in February.