It means Australia’s own has won the only truly national newspaper Car of the Year contest. Motoring editors and key writers from News Limited newspapers throughout Australia have extensively researched, tested and judged all cars released this year to determine the proud winner. The extensive list was culled to 10 finalists. These were recently tested on all manner of road conditions, including Goulburn’s Wakefield Park raceway, to determine their final finishing order.
And the judges have selected the V8 Calais V, with its brand new six-speed automatic gearbox, as the best of the range.
While the car has had a rocky start to life with two recalls (for a fuel leak problem and a faulty rear seat-belt buckle spring) since its launch and in an age of concern over high fuel usage, the decision may seem controversial.
But the Calais has clearly demonstrated that as an overall package, it is the car best suited to Australia’s unique and varied driving conditions.
“It seems that even a billion dollars will not buy you perfection – but it does get you a lot of things to like,” says The Daily Telegraph motoring editor, Kevin Hepworth. “While it has its shortcomings, the Holden Calais V V8 is a car of some considerable distinction … and one well worth getting to know.”
The motoring editor of Melbourne’s The Herald-Sun, Paul Gover, says: “A back-to-back run between the Toyota Aurion and the Calais proved almost instantly that Holden has produced the best car of 2006.”
Testers found the Calais was relatively light and had good road manners which made it an easy driving all-rounder for the family.
Eight motoring experts from major newspapers made their decision after extensive examination. The finalists were thoroughly checked for build quality, space, ease of parking and their resale value, as
well as being taken through their paces in a closed environment on the racetrack and on all types of public roads.
All the cars were launched from November 1 last year to November 1 this year to ensure the finalists were relevant to current buyers.
The field was then whittled down to the final 10, which included front-wheel drives, rear-wheel drives, all-wheel drives, turbos, hot hatches, sixes and eights, wagons, sedans, hatches and coupes, petrol and diesel.
Testing the cars on the racetrack at Wakefield Park and on public roads was important in revealing a car’s ability to tackle the varying conditions it is likely to encounter.
It ensures that a sporty car gets the opportunity to show its wares in the right environment just as a family sedan can show its capabilities in different surroundings and even an SUV can strut its stuff.
Our testers crawled into the boots of the cars, checked the spare wheel (if any), looked under the bonnet for ease of access and rode around in the back seats to test for passenger comfort.
Read the Related Story links as we explain how each of the 10 finalists fared.
CARSguide Car of the Year previous winners
2005: Suzuki Swift
2004: Ford Territory
2003: Honda Accord Euro
2002: Ford Falcon BA
2001: Holden Monaro
2000: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
1999: Toyota Echo
1998: Holden Astra
1997: Holden Commodore VT
How the winner was determined
* From 10 criteria, the eight judges were asked to award marks out of 10
* Judges then came up with an aggregate score for each car
* They then listed their choices from 1-10, with No.1 being the best
* The winner was then determined on a points basis after all the judges’ scores were collated