The Road Ahead : December 2011
MAKES YOUR DAY 43 DEC 2011/JAN 2012 THE ROAD AHEAD AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS MOTORING small under $35,000 vw golf 90 tsi trendline SOLID RESULTS IN design and function and on the road areas gave the Volkswagen Golf 90 TSI Trendline an unassailable lead in this year's awards. Golf earned top marks for safety and environment and almost perfect scores for comfort and ergonomics thanks to comfy, but enduring, seats and switchgear that easily falls to hand. Performance shares top billing with the Mazda3 diesel and the Mitsubishi Aspire as best in class. Volkswagen is on a roll, as evidenced by the number of best cars award categories won in the last couple of years. One of the secrets to the company's success has been the excellent handling characteristics it has been able to incorporate across the range. Little wonder then that Golf's handling and ride package is matched only in this category by the Sport version of the Ford Focus, with the pair achieving identical on road scores. The jewel in the crown is the car's 1.4-litre inline, direct injection, turbo- petrol engine. Volkswagen has done a great job of matching the seven-speed DSG to the engine's power delivery. One minor failing is the DSG's lack of smoothness in engagement as the car moves off. MLP: $27,490. small over $35,000 lexus ct200h prestige THE CT200H PRESTIGE is the cheapest Lexus to buy by a long way, making its win all the more meritorious. Matched to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the 1.8-litre four- cylinder petrol engine and permanent magnet electric motor combine to deliver 100 kW of power and 142 Nm of engine torque. Strong performance isn't the CT200H's forte; it's more about refinement, and the hybrid power-train delivers seamless power from take-off right through the rev range, albeit at a more leisurely pace than some other finalists. If you feel the need, there is a sports mode that sharpens things up electronically, and overall the Lexus impressed the judges who awarded an above average score for smoothness and quietness. CT200H delivers an outstanding fuel consumption figure of 4.1 litres/100 km, so you definitely won't be making friends with the console operator at your local service station. Scoring a perfect 10 is never easy in best cars judging, but at its first attempt CT200H achieved this feat not once, but four times, for running and repair costs, fuel consumption, safety and environment. Add on a nine for build quality and finish and standard features. MLP: $39,990. SCORES TOTAL: 816. 2nd: Ford Focus Sport, 776. 3rd: Hyundai i30 SX, 768. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 5C, Depreciation 7M, Running costs 4M, Fuel consumption 8C, Warranty 5M, Insurance 6L, Standard features 7M. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 10C, Environment 10C, Comfort 9M, Space 7L, Practicality 6M, Ergonomics 9M, Build & finish 9H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 9M, Ride 9M, Handling 10M, Braking 9H, Smoothness & quietness 8L. SCORES TOTAL: 878. 2nd: Audi A3 Sportsback TDI, 866. 3rd: Volvo C30 DRIVe, 812. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 7H, Depreciation 7M, Running costs 10M, Fuel consumption 10C, Warranty 6M, Insurance 6L, Standard features 9M. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 10C, Environment 10C, Comfort 7M, Space 5L, Practicality 6M, Ergonomics 6M, Build & finish 9H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 6H, Ride 7H, Handling 7H, Braking 6H, Smoothness & quietness 8L. LEVEL OF WEIGHTED IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L=LOW,M=MEDIUM,H=HIGH,C=CRITICAL.
February March 2012