With a vast array of contenders vying for the title of Car of the Year, the winner which superseded all other competitors is none other than the little German powerhouse, the Volkswagen Polo. Firstly it won Drive’s Best City Car and went onto win the over accolade from both Drive and Carsguide.
Nonetheless, this isn’t the first time Volkswagen has tasted victory. But it looks like the bub of the family decided it wanted its share of the spotlight after big brother Golf won overall Car of the Year in 2009.
Working its magic to shine amidst 47 rivals, the Polo didn’t fail to impress the judges with 9 out of 11 votes (to be precise), not bad for a little city roadrunner. One key element which pushed the Polo to success might been the fact that it uses ‘24 per cent less fuel than the bigger 1.6-litre engine it replaces, while producing better performance’ (news.drive.com.au). Now this is a definite plus considering fuel prices are steeply rising and we are all becoming more conscious when it comes to fuel expenditure.
But don’t start thinking that’s all the Polo is good for - the 2010 winner also boasts a ‘seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that shifts quicker than a manual and uses the same amount of fuel (autos are traditionally thirstier than manuals)’ (news.drive.com.au). Pretty innovative you’d have to admit.
Not that they had much chance, but in the running against the Polo for Best City Car was the Thai-built Ford Fiesta LX, Hyundai’s new Indian-built i20 Active, and Nissan’s Micra ST-L. With judges unimpressed by the looks and style of the feisty Fiesta and Hyundai’s i20, it’s safe to say a little make-over should be in order. This said, while the Micra was bang-on-the-buck on looks, it didn’t quite match up to the judge’s expectations regarding performance- better luck next time, Nissan.
After the Polo had secured the title of Best City Car, all that depended on winning the overall award was the competition from other categories. Let the games begin…
The competition was severely cut down by these unlucky contenders - Honda Odyssey (people-mover), the Volkswagen Passat CC (Luxury car over $60,000), BMW 135i (performance car over $60,000), Porsche Boxster (convertible), Land Rover Discovery (4WD), Volvo XC60 (SUV over $60,000) and SS Commodore ute (utility) - who received a bittersweet victory by maintaining their 2009 win in their relevant category but were eliminated from the competition as none of them even stood up to last years champion the VW Golf.
As the last moments of the competition drew closer, and many more contenders being eliminated, the Polo now stood up against the final few.
Up in the running was the Renault Megane RS, but was at last minute hung out to dry because of its high price-tag. Another remaining nominee was the Kia Sportage, who ‘fell at the final post due to average road manners’ (news.drive.com.au).
With the fallout of the remaining competitors, the Polo was left to fight it out against family and former champion, the Golf. The race to the finish line was neck in neck with the judges agreeing that the Polo ‘shifted the goalposts of its class more than the Golf did’. As a result, the title of Car of the Year went to the little Polo who against all odds took out its competition with apparent ease.
With ‘impressive safety, quality, comfort and driving enjoyment’ (carsguide.com.au), the Polo is really proving to be the finest car on the road – for now that is!
On a final and more personal note, another winner I believe worth mentioning stems from the Safety Innovation Award. Volvo’s new city safety system can ‘recognize human forms in the path of the car, and automatically brake’ (news.drive.com.au). This just may be the safety feature of the future which will save many lives. And personally, the sound of a car automatically braking when it senses human presence gets my vote!
To see all the winners and finalists of the Car of the Year awards, click on the links below