‘Tis the season to be voting – for The Straits Times Car of the Year 2016. Unlike last year, where crossovers and sports utility vehicles made up one-third of nominees, performance cars dominate this year’s shortlist.
They are the Audi RS3 Sportback, BMW M2 Coupe, Ford Mustang, Honda Legend and Lexus GS F. The fantastic five account for half of the cars shortlisted for this year’s awards. The other five finalists are the Honda Civic, Mercedes-Benz E-Class (E200), Opel Astra, Toyota Prius and Volvo S90 (T6).
This year’s panel of judges, consisting of motoring journalists from The Straits Times and Torque, concur that the five muscle-bound cars are worthy contenders for ST Car of the Year. As are the other cars in this year’s lineup of four German and four Japanese brands, as well as one Swedish and one American brand.
Honda is the only brand with two nominees this year. Last year, there were a pair of BMWs (the i8 and 7 Series) and a pair of Mazdas (MX-5 and Mazda 2). The new Astra is the first Opel to make it to the ST COTY shortlist.
As always, the judges have sifted through all the new models that were launched in the 12-month period starting from the middle of November last year. There were more than 50 such debutantes. Only cars brought in by authorised agents were considered.
To remain relevant to as many readers as possible, cars above $750,000 were not considered.The 10 nominees this year are each priced well below $500,000. The Honda Civic for instance, is below $130,000.
The judges are still going through the cars on the COTY shortlist and comparing each with its peers to decide how it scores on various traits. A winner will emerge from the process and it will be made known on December 24 in The Straits Times motoring section and also in the January 2017 issue of Torque, which will be released on December 27.