VOLKSWAGEN has done it again.
For the second straight year, the German carmaker has topped the best of the best to claim the Carsguide Car of the Year award. This time it's the baby Polo that has done the job, trumping the top 10 contenders and finishing ahead of the Kia Sportage and Skoda Superb wagon.
In the end the Polo scored a convincing win, not because of its $16,690 starting price but because of its impressive safety, quality, comfort and driving enjoyment. Look no further - the Golf's little brother is the worlds best small car," says Paul Pottinger, one of the Carsguide COTY judges.
The battle for the 2010 COTY prize began with a cull of more than 100 new arrivals in Australia through the year since the Golf claimed its COTY trophy. The eventual contenders cover every class and price category, from the baby Hyundai i20 through the luxury BMW 5 Series and the E-Class from Mercedes-Benz.
The only homegrown finalist is also the only hybrid - the Toyota Camry hybrid. The Carsguide COTY contest is a national award which draws its judges from News Limited papers and websites from coast-to-coast, with former rally star - and current economy champion - Ed Ordynski also joining the panel for 2010.
The judges are led by managing editor Ged Bulmer, who is joined by Carsguide chief reporter Paul Gover, Karla Pincott of Carsguide.com.au, Neil Dowling of the Sunday Times in Perth, Stuart Martin of The Advertiser in Adelaide, Craig Duff of the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Paul Pottinger of the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Peter Barnwell of news suburbans and Mark Hinchliffe of the Courier Mail, Brisbane.
Together they put the 10 finalists through two gruelling days of tests, from track laps to back-seat measurements, but concentrating on real-world driving in all conditions from stop-start city traffic to deserted gravel roads.