The Road Ahead : December January 2009
was perhaps no surprise to see them shaping up to last year’s winner, the Volkswagen R32, in the Sports Car category. Luxury Sports Cars proved to be a showdown of mighty German engineering, with the BMW M3, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Audi TT-S going head-to-head. And new players in the burgeoning Recreational 4WD category, the Volkswagen Tiguan and Renault Koleos, challenged long-time standouts, the Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail. How it works Now in its ninth year, Australia’s Best Cars has always put the motoring public fi rst in all of its various processes. The 12 award categories, together with the emphasis motorists wanted on each of the judging criteria, were formulated in response to polls of the nation’s auto club members. As a result of the motorist research, a level of importance (low: L, medium: M, high: H or critical: C) has been attached to each criteria, in each class. These weightings can vary from class to class. For example, a factor such as engine performance carries more weighting in a sports car class than it would with small cars. Vehicles are rated according to at least 17 (up to 21 in 4WD categories) criteria that includes value for money, design and function, on road competence and, for four-wheel drives, off- road ability. Judges give every vehicle a score on a scale of one to 10 in each of these criteria. The weightings are then applied to determine a fi nal score for each criteria, which in turn delivers an overall score to determine the winners. Safety is the over-riding consideration across the board. And the nation’s auto clubs measure as many other characteristics of a vehicle as possible. Responsibility for compiling information on residual sales values, running and repair costs, standard features, space, security and fuel consumption is shared among the nine judges. 64 DEC 08/JAN 09 Vehicles are continually rated against a national testing regime until the early-October (Australian International Motor show) cut-off. A short-list of 36 leading contenders is then taken on an exhaustive back-to-back test. After a fi nal week of testing the fi nalists, including driving them over a range of road surfaces, category scores are checked and then loaded into custom software. An overall score is derived for each car in each category, with the best package clinching the crown. For full scores and further information, visit www.australiasbestcars.com.au. RACQ has two judges on the national ABC panel: The Road Ahead’s Barry Green and Club Vehicle Technologies technical specialist John Ewing. GET IT IN WRITING The 2008 Australia’s Best Cars magazine is a handy, take-anywhere, reference to what’s hot and what’s not. This full-colour, 148-page publication allows the reader to readily compare the ratings of all vehicles assessed across the 12 different categories. Produced by Australia’s auto clubs and News Custom Publishing, the magazine includes in-depth information compiled by the experienced judging team. It also offers detailed advice on running costs, finance, safety and new technology. The Australia’s Best Cars 2008 edition is available from RACQ branch offi ces and agents, as well as the online shop at racq.com, at the special member price of $8.95 (plus postage and handling if applicable). gazine includes in-depth In addition, the magazine is on sale at major newsagencies for the recommended retail price of $9.95.
October November 2008
February March 2009