Story John Ewing | Pictures: ABC
Australia’s new car market isn’t even close to the world’s largest by volume, but it is incredibly competitive with around 50 manufacturers selling vehicles.
Cutting through the car-makers’ big-dollar marketing spins and trying to accurately weigh-up the pros and cons of all the different models is a daunting task for most consumers.
Which is where Australia’s Best Cars new assessment program, arguably the nation’s most independent and consumer-focused comes in and helps take the pain from the process of getting in the driving seat.
For 2018, around 160 new vehicles, each the volume-selling variant in its model range, were rigorously evaluated and scored, to select three finalists from each of the fifteen categories.
Looking to snare the honour of an Australia’s Best Cars crown, there was an interesting mix of new-to-market models, upgraded popular sellers, and past winners and finalists.
Amongst the fresh faces, the brand-new Kia Stinger 200S turbo-four, Honda’s highly-anticipated and ballistic Civic Type-R, the brilliant Hyundai i30N, new Holden Commodore RS 3.6 Liftback, Hyundai’s small SUV the Kona Active 2WD, Volvo’s new XC40 T5 R-Design and XC60 D4 Inscription, and Kia’s updated people-mover the Kia Carnival SLi.
Those hoping to reprise a win were the Ford Ranger XLT 3.2 Dual Cab 4WD Ute, BMW 125i, BMW 330i, BMW M240i, Mazda CX-3 Maxx, Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium, Mazda 6 Touring and Kia Picanto (albeit a new model).
The assembled field of would-be winners were impressive, but in the end, there’s only one car that can stand victorious in each of our fifteen vehicle categories and Kia was the brand laughing all the way to its trophy cabinet with four class winners.
Mazda was close behind with three gongs, BMW with two, while Toyota, Ford, Hyundai, Volvo, Mercedes and Subaru all picked up one win apiece.
Check out our coverage of all the 2018 winners and placegetters across the 15 categories of Australia’s Best Cars: