The Road Ahead Sampler : April May 2016
QUEENSLAND’S LARGEST CLUB 53 APR/MAY 2016 THE ROAD AHEAD MOTORING AUSTRALIA’S BEST CARS THEAUSTRALIAN NEW car market is in a state of flux. New free-trade agreements, the imminent end of Australian vehicle manufacturing, and big shifts in buying patterns for small cars and SUVs, are all having an impact. The good news is that buyers are spoiled for choice, with a plethora of new cars that are better, safer and more affordable than ever. Cue Australia’s Best Cars (ABC), the largest independent new car assessment and awards program in Australia. The program tests, evaluates and scores more than 200 volume-selling models in 15 categories each year in the key areas of Value for Money, Design and Function, and On the Road performance to determine the best buys for you, the consumer. From the eligible winners of the 15 categories is selected the Judges’ Choice. To be eligible, the winner must first have a five-star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) rating – the highest there is – low fuel consumption for category, and be affordable. The ability to fulfil its intended function and influence the market, along with innovation, styling and emotional appeal, are then taken into account to determine the Judges’ Choice. The 2015 winner is the Mazda CX-3 Maxx (see review over page). Judges praised the CX-3’s near-completeness as a compelling buy in what is arguably the most relevant new vehicle class on the market, Best Small 2WD SUV Under $35,000. ABC Chief Judge Mark Borlace said it was always a difficult task to judge the ultimate winner. “But as a car enthusiast and someone who wants to ensure Australians get safety, affordability, and a balance of comfort, handling and performance in their new car, I can say it’s a great privilege to be driving and testing these cars,” Mr Borlace said. “I know my judging colleagues (which include the RACQ’s Barry Green and John Ewing) feel the same way. While we see the merits in all the winners, the judges agree that the Mazda CX-3 Maxx is a well-rounded package and deserving of the Judges’ Choice award.” CHANGES FOR 2015 To better reflect buying trends and relevance to consumers, the price points of two of the all-wheel-drive SUV categories were changed from Under $45,000 to Under $50,000 and from $45,000-65,000 to $50,000-65,000. And in an unprecedented move, the 2015 awards program launch date was delayed from last November to February 25 in light of issues regarding emissions compliance and the use of so-called ‘defeat devices’ to evade clean air standards in several million Volkswagen Group vehicles worldwide. “The AAA Board was of the opinion that the program could not accurately or fairly assess Volkswagen Group vehicles against each judging criterion and, as a result, no Volkswagen, Audi, or Skoda vehicles were able to be considered in the 2015 program,” Australian Automobile Association (AAA) Chief Executive Michael Bradley said. The decision, which affected some 29 vehicles, required additional scoring and assessment work to be undertaken in December at the Australian Automotive Research Centre at Anglesea, Victoria, thereby delaying the launch until February. While the announcement might be a little late in coming, if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, be assured the 2015 Australia’s Best Cars (ABC) awards remain as relevant as ever. WHAT’S TRENDING? Cast your eye over the 15 category winners and it’s impossible to miss the prevalence of the Republic of Korea’s major brands, Hyundai and Kia. In total, three Hyundai (Accent Active, i30 Active and Genesis) and three Kia models (Optima GT, Sorento SLi 2WD and Sorento Platinum) each took home a coveted ABC glass trophy. The Korean cars traditionally have ...IT’S HARD TO MISS THE PREVALENCE OF KOREA’S MAJOR BRANDS, HYUNDAI AND KIA GET IT IN WRITING For a breakdown of nearly 200 eligible cars, their scores and the latest in motoring, check out the annual Australia’s Best Cars 2015 magazine, which is available through the RACQ online shop (onlineshop.racq.com.au) for the special RACQ member’s price of $5.95. The only comprehensive Australian new vehicle buying guide, this year’s 164-page, perfect-bound full-colour magazine also contains expertly- researched and relevant advice on motoring and new car buying topics. It includes features on the survival of Australian cars, the future of motoring, top road trips, and more. scored well for Value for Money, which takes in pricing, depreciation, running and repair costs, fuel consumption, warranty and dealer access, insurance cost, and standard equipment. But now, thanks largely to the styling influence of ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer, build and finish quality is constantly improving along with better driving dynamics, the result of local handling and ride development programs. Safety and practicality are other consistent high marks, all of which contribute to the two Korean brands’ appeal as a new car buy.
February March 2016
June July 2016