The Road Ahead : December January 2008
60 DEC 07/JAN 08 STORY CHRIS BISHOP PHOTOS HELMUT MUELLER If consumers get their way, eight will not be enough. After all, there's something for ever yone in the eighth Australia's Best Cars awards (ABC). These acclaimed awards remain focused on ever yday vehicle buyers, with 12 categories and some 240 current mainstream models. There's a range of key factors assessed for ever y car, including depreciation, running and repair costs, standard features, fuel consumption, security, space and practicality, safety and the environment. Test driving yields scores on comfor t, per formance, ride, handling, braking, noise levels and off-road ability. As a car buyer, at the end of an exhaustive 12 months of research and testing by the nation's autoclubs, you'll be able to compare all eligible volume-selling vehicles in each class, on at least 19 different measures. This is the vehicle assessment process that listens to your feedback and uses those sentiments to weigh its scores accordingly. In the end, consumer needs decide the ABC winners. ABC is anything but a paper chase. Judges crawl in and around each vehicle, measuring noise, per formance and braking capabilities, and spend hours behind the wheel in different conditions. Anything that can be measured is measured to make the process as objective as possible. The same disciplined testing regime is repeated by judges across the nation. ABC is open to all existing cars, not just the ones launched in the previous 12 months. It means the best vehicles, not just the newest, can stake claims. As a final stage of assessment, the top three vehicles in each categor y undergo back-to-back testing to clarify on-road scores. Only then can the computer program deliver the winners. Ever y year we make it tougher on car companies. Changes to testing in 2007 included even more of a practicality emphasis on lap-sash seatbelts, head restraints, child seat fitment and spare tyres. We also extended the timeline on running and repair costs from three years to five to capture bigger and costlier ser vices. The biggest battle in 2007 was among the nation's most popular vehicles, the mid-sized cars under and above $28,000, with the freshest field of contenders in Australian motoring. The 2006 'under $28,000' champion, Honda's Civic, came under siege from Toyota's Corolla, Subaru's Impreza, a new Mitsubishi Lancer and Hyundai's Euro-inspired i30 hatch. The most cosmopolitan categor y, mid-sized over $28,000, proved fit to burst with even more overseas arrivals and the lone local player, the Toyota Camr y. For fur ther details, visit www.australiasbestcars.com.au. t Easy as ABC RACQ members in pursuit of a new car an compare the findings on more than 240 new vehicles in the 2007 Australia's Best Cars magazine. A quality publication reflecting findings of the industr y-respected Australia's Best Cars awards, the 148-page magazine allows the reader to compare the ratings of the full range of vehicles assessed in 12 dif ferent categories. Produced by Australia's auto clubs and News Custom Publishing, the magazine includes in-depth information compiled by the experienced team of state motoring club judges. The Australia's Best Cars 2007 edition will be available from RACQ branch offices 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). In addition, the publication will be on sale at newsagencies at the recommended retail price of $9.95. Australia's Best Cars 2007 delivers valuable consumer information for car buyers. winners Eca 2B oCa o 12 dif ferent categories MOTORING Category scores are out of 10. Weightings: C (Critical), H (High), M (Medium), L (Low).
October November 2007
February March 2008