The Road Ahead : December 2010
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 42 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2010/JAN 2011 best of the best STORY BARRY GREEN PHOTOS JOHN KRUTOP MOTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS to finalise scoring for the nation's best cars. But it doesn't all happen in five days. While the final week provides judges with an opportunity to closely compare all the leading contenders, ABC is an ongoing new car assessment process, with models tested and scored throughout the year. The volume seller of new passenger vehicles are eligible for the awards providing they are on sale by the first day of the Australian International Motor Show (October), and are available for testing by ABC judges. Consumer focus is the cornerstone of the ABC program. It looks at ownership IN THE BEST of Australia's Best Cars (ABC) tradition, 2010 produced some of the closest results yet in the 11-year history of the awards, with some repeat winners and a handful of new models taking first place on the podium. This year, the awards were expanded from 12 to 15 categories to cater for the rapid growth in the popular light and compact/mid-size SUVs and make categories more readily relevant to buyers. You will notice a number of name changes. In the end it came down to 47 finalists and a week of back-to-back testing and number crunching by the 10 judges from all state auto clubs, including the RACQ, light under $20,000 hyundai i20 active ACTIVE IS THE entry-level i20, coming in a choice of three or five-door body styles. Don't be fooled into thinking it's a bare-bones package though. The features list reads like one from a much higher- priced offering. Standard equipment includes a CD player with auxiliary audio input jack, USB audio input with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, airconditioning, multi- information centre (displays distance to empty, instant and average L/100 km, elapsed time and trip odometer information), height and reach- adjustable steering, chilled glove box, and power windows, steering and mirrors and 60/40 split-folding rear seats. All i20s now come with a five-star ANCAP safety rating. For our market, the i20 is built in India, and while there have been question marks raised over how that will affect quality, there were no foibles to speak of in our test car. Space is not considered critical in this class but the i20 is not short on it. Rear seat passengers won't be complaining with good space for all limbs and relatively supportive seats. The i20's on-road performance was rated above average, scoring 7s in every category. Manufacturer's price list (MLP): $16,490. SCORES TOTAL: 765. 2nd: Volkswagen Polo 77 Tsi, 755. 3rd: Ford Fiesta CL, 722. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 5 C, Depreciation 4 M, Running & repair costs 8 M, Fuel consumption 9 C, Warranty 8 H, Insurance 6 L, Standard features 9 H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9 C, Environment 10 C, Comfort 7 M, Space 7 L, Practicality 8 M, Ergonomics 8 M, Build & finish 7 H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 7 M, Ride 7 M, Handling 7 M, Braking 7 H, Smoothness/quietness 7 L. visit www.australiasbestcars.com.au MORE INFO JUDGES, REVIEWS: MARK BORLACE, ANDREW CLARK, JOHN EWING, BARRY GREEN, AARON HARDING, GREG HILL, JAEDENE HUDSON, ERNEST LITERA, DARREN MOODY, TIM POMROY.