Australia’s Best Cars 2019

blue ford ranger parked on sand dune

Tim Nicholson

Posted November 15, 2019

Australia’s Best Cars has done your car-buying homework for you.

Toyota has dominated the winners’ podium at the 2019 Australia’s Best Cars awards, taking the top gong in five out of 13 categories. 

A team of eight expert judges from RACV and affiliated clubs around the country named Toyota best in its class in the small (under $35,000), medium (under $65,000), all-wheel drive SUV (under $55,000), sports car ($65,000-$125,000) and 4x4 dual-cab ute categories. 

Korean car-makers Kia and Hyundai also fared well with winners in two categories each, while BMW, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen scored individual wins.

Australia’s Best Cars (ABC) takes some of the legwork out of the car-buying process by assessing the top-selling variants of all new cars and comparing them in their respective market categories.

ABC differs from other car awards programs in that it doesn’t just appraise the latest models – the judges assess all the top-selling models available in new-car showrooms, regardless of when they went on sale.

This year’s program compared close to 200 vehicles, which were whittled down to just under 50 for  
a week of rigorous testing that eventually determined the best in each class.

The judges – including RACV’s Greg Hill and Tim Nicholson – spent the year driving vehicles in a variety of settings, putting them through rigorous assessment for their club’s respective member publications.

They also spent months in the lead-up to testing week poring over data in up to 21 scoring areas per class, including pricing, depreciation, fuel consumption, standard features, safety and practicality, as well as running and repair costs.

Following this, the judges drew on their expertise to assess subjective but important considerations such as ergonomics and interior comfort, build quality, ride, handling and more. 

A comprehensive scoring system narrowed the field to three or four finalists in each of the 13 classes, ready for a final back-to-back comparison.

Testing week was held at the Australian Automotive Research Centre near Anglesea, which has a range of tracks, testing circuits and off-road courses, which helped the judges assess such aspects as performance, handling, cabin noise, vibrations and ride quality.

Testing goes ahead regardless of weather and the test route is tailored to each vehicle type. The 4x4 testing included a tough off-road course, while dual-cab utes were driven laden and unladen, and smaller passenger cars were tested on the tarmac or unsealed roads.

This year more electric vehicles made the cut than in any previous year, reflecting the greater range of EVs on the market. 

Read on for reviews of the 13 winners and finalists in each category.