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Australia's Best Cars 2012 Press Kit

  1. GOOD NEWS FOR AUSTRALIA'S CAR MAKERS - MAJOR WINS IN AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS AWARDS
  2. NEW WINNERS BRING TECHNOLOGY AND VALUE
  3. 2012 AWARDS ADD TO DIVERSE HISTORY
  4. SNAPSHOT OF THE WINNERS
  5. AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS 2012 WINNERS AND FINALISTS

GOOD NEWS FOR AUSTRALIA'S CAR MAKERS - MAJOR WINS IN AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS AWARDS


Two breakthrough locally made family cars have had big wins in the annual Australia's Best Cars awards announced today.

The first four-cylinder Ford Falcon has been named one of Australia's Best Cars, and hailed as the best Falcon yet.

It is the second year in succession that an economy-based Falcon has won.

The Ford Falcon G6 EcoBoost, powered by a turbocharged two-litre engine, is the 2012 winner of the Best Large Car Under $60,000 category.

In the opinion of the eleven judges, the 'Judges' Choice' was the Falcon EcoBoost.

The Falcon stood out amongst the 15 category winners, scoring highly in all major assessment criteria.

The Awards brought more positive news for the Australian industry.

Toyota's hybrid-powered Camry H won a major category award.

Australia's Best Cars is run by Australia's motoring clubs which represent more than seven million members.

It is the nation's most comprehensive and reliable vehicle testing and awards program.

Chief judge Mark Borlace said the EcoBoost Falcon outscored last year's winner, the Ford Falcon EcoLPi, in several key areas.

"Falcon's second win underscores the work Ford is doing to try to arrest the slide of large car sales by providing viable alternatives to the big six," Mr Borlace said.

"It is arguably the best mainstream Falcon yet."

Judges from Australia's motoring clubs found the four-cylinder Falcon matched the six-cylinder Falcon's acceleration while delivering better fuel economy and a smoother ride.

Toyota's Camry Hybrid H, another four cylinder car, has been named Best Car in the Best Medium Car Under $50,000 category.

The Camry is the first hybrid petrol-electric car to be made in Australia.

Judges found the new Camry Hybrid to be "the most rounded, best value vehicle of its type to hit the Australian market".

"Both Falcon and Camry provide big fuel economy wins for motorists," Mr Borlace said.

"The Camry returns 5.2 litres/100km in official figures and the EcoBoost Falcon delivers 8.1 litres/100km."

Australia's Best Cars assesses more than 300 cars in 15 categories, ranging from light passenger vehicles through sports cars and SUVs to people movers and all terrain 4WDs.

Other vehicles to star in this year's awards included:

Land Rover Discovery, which has won the All Terrain 4WD category eight times
Hyundai iMax, which has been awarded Best People Mover each year since it was launched in 2008
BMW M135i, bringing BMW's fifth straight victory in the Best Sports Car Under $80,000 category, and
Volkswagen Polo 66TDI which won the Best Light Car Over $20,000 title for the third consecutive year.

Eight car-makers shared this year's awards and five were multiple winners.

Seven out of the 15 categories were won by new vehicles to the Australian market - each one of them bringing considerable benefits for consumers.

The improved technology has not come at a cost for new car buyers.

Many winning vehicles received price reductions.

Importantly, there has been an increase in the number of models offering capped price servicing.

Mr Borlace said the 2012 winners were characterised by keener pricing, better all-of-life service costs as well as improved operating efficiency and economy.

The average fuel economy of the winners had increased better than four per cent compared with last year and carbon emissions were down 2.2 per cent, despite the inclusion of V8s and large SUVs.

"There is a definite trend towards meeting customer requirements for value, quality, reduced fuel consumption, and in important areas of social responsibility," Mr Borlace said.

Australia's Best Cars evaluates vehicles in up to 21 key areas and provides a numerical guide for potential car buyers.

An online tool called My Best Car allows car buyers to alter the weighting in each area to suit their own preferences and determine the best car for their own purposes.


For further information, contact:
James Goodwin, Director - Government Relations & Communications
Australian Automobile Association
Phone: +61 2 6261 4403 | Mobile: 0401 248 772
Email: james.goodwin@aaa.asn.au

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NEW WINNERS BRING TECHNOLOGY AND VALUE


The 2012 Australia's Best Cars awards has seen an influx of new vehicles taking out top honours, reflecting the many trends improving the new car market for Australians.

In total, seven out of the 15 categories in the awards were won by new vehicles to the Australian market - each one of them bringing considerable benefits for consumers.

The BMW 320i and M135i, the Ford Falcon EcoBoost and the Toyota Camry Hybrid all use new or improved drivetrain technology to offer significantly lower fuel consumption and emissions output while (mostly) increasing power outputs.

In the case of the BMW 320i, the addition of a turbocharger and a futuristic eight-speed automatic gearbox has seen power increase by 17 per cent and fuel consumption reduced by 21 per cent.

Turbocharging is proving to be a popular way for manufacturers to maximise power while minimising fuel usage and subsequently emissions - 11 out of this year's 15 winners feature a turbocharger.

Diesel also remains popular among Australia's Best Cars, with eight winners using diesel fuel.

However, petrol-powered winners have increased in number from five in 2011 to seven this year* - with the Camry Hybrid being the only hybrid winner.

"Eight winners this year offer capped price servicing," said Australian Automobile Association executive director, Andrew McKellar.

"It is recognition by car manufacturers that they understand how important vehicle affordability is to their customers."

Just one-third of Australia's Best Cars repeated their triumph of 12 months ago, and eight different manufacturers won awards.

Hyundai and BMW tied for the highest number of wins with three, while Kia, Volkswagen and Ford claimed two each.

"You can see how competitive the Australian new car market is from the broad variety of manufacturers winning these awards - and a lot of them did not win by much," Mr McKellar said.

"I don't know of a time in the history of the automotive industry when Australians had such a choice of quality products representing such value for money.

"Competition like this is excellent for the consumer, because it means that those manufacturers have to keep pushing to deliver the best technology at the best price in order to win sales."

*The Hyundai i30 won the Best Small Car Under $35,000 with both the petrol and diesel variants.

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2012 AWARDS ADD TO DIVERSE HISTORY


Australia's Best Cars awards judges have reviewed more than 460 finalists to determine 142 individual category winners in the awards' 13-year history.

Australia's Best Cars awards are presented each year by peak motoring body the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) in conjunction with the seven major state and territory motorists' clubs.

Volkswagen is the most awarded brand in the history of Australia's Best Cars, winning no fewer than 21 individual categories since the awards began in 2000.

Land Rover's Discovery has been awarded its eighth consecutive category title in 2012 to be Australia's Best Cars' most awarded single model.

Ford's Falcon receives its seventh individual category award this year to become Australia's Best Cars' most awarded locally manufactured model, and the second most successful model overall.

Uniquely, the Falcon has been a past winner in two separate categories. It was awarded Best Family Car/Large Car in 2002-2004, 2008 and 2011, with the XR6 Turbo variant crowned 2002's Best Sports Car Under $57,000.

While Australian-built sedans have dominated the Best Family Car/Large Car class, this year also sees a locally manufactured car take out the Best Medium Car Under $50,000 category in the shape of the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Remarkably, it is the first ever Australia's Best Cars award for Camry, and the first ever win by an Australian-made vehicle in a medium car category.

The origin of past award winners has been diverse. Nineteen individual manufacturers have been represented, with winning vehicles sourced from no fewer than 13 countries.

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SNAPSHOT OF THE WINNERS


BEST LIGHT CAR UNDER $20,000
KIA RIO Si
DRIVETRAIN: 1.6-litre, 4 cylinder, 6 speed manual
FUEL ECONOMY: 5.6L/100km (ULP)
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 5

This is Kia Rio's second successive category victory.

Standard equipment is impressive. It leads the category in design and function.

Back seat and luggage space is generous.

The Kia Rio has a five-star ANCAP rating and six airbags.

Steering precision is the equal of many more expensive vehicles.


BEST LIGHT CAR OVER $20,000
VOLKSWAGEN POLO 66TDI COMFORTLINE
DRIVETRAIN: 1.6-litre, 4 cylinder, diesel, 5 speed manual/7 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 4.7L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 4

This is the third year that the Volkswagen Polo 66TDI Comfortline has won this class.

The turbocharged diesel Comfortline compares favourably with more expensive vehicles. Its build quality is a standout.

This year VW has dropped its price further to make it even greater value for money.


BEST SMALL CAR UNDER $35,000
HYUNDAI i30 ACTIVE
DRIVETRAIN: 1.8-litre, 4 cylinder, 6 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 6.9L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 3.5

The new Hyundai i30 is significantly revised with more power and improved fuel economy as well as major revisions to ride and handling.

There are three model level packages. All models have a full complement of safety equipment including seven airbags, ABS brakes, stability control and parking sensors, ensuring a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

A new all-alloy 1.8-litre direct injection petrol engine replaces the previous 2.0-litre with more efficiency. Power is up 5kW and fuel use is down 9.2 per cent.

There is also a diesel option.


BEST SMALL CAR OVER $35,000
FORD FOCUS TITANIUM
DRIVETRAIN: 2.0-litre, 4 cylinder diesel, 6 speed, DCT
FUEL ECONOMY: 5.4L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 3.5

The Ford Focus Titanium is built in Europe, which means it is both sophisticated and well-suited to the Australian market.

Recent price revisions and capped price servicing have made the Titanium a class-leader in value for money.

It has eight airbags plus advanced technologies not normally seen at this price point, such as auto park and a voice command system.

The Duratorq 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine offers good fuel economy and praiseworthy mid-range torque.


BEST MEDIUM CAR UNDER $50,000
TOYOTA CAMRY H
DRIVETRAIN: 2.5-litre, 4 cylinder, hybrid, CVT
FUEL ECONOMY: 5.2L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 5

The Toyota Camry H (Hybrid) is the first hybrid petrol-electric car to be made in Australia.

The second-generation car has sharper pricing yet offers some $2000 worth of features above the conventionally powered Camry.

Performance is brisker and fuel economy has been improved by 0.8L/100km to 5.2.

Emissions have been lowered to 121g/km from the previous model's 142.

This Camry Hybrid has greater road competency with better dynamics and poise.


BEST MEDIUM CAR OVER $50,000
BMW 320i TURBO
DRIVETRAIN: 2.0-litre, 4 cylinder, 8 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 6.0L/100km (PULP)
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 4.5

The new BMW 3-series is a significant upgrade.

It now has more passenger space, especially in the rear.

In previous years this category has been dominated by diesel vehicles. The small capacity, forced-induction BMW petrol closes the gap in power output and efficiency.

The BMW 320i uses an eight-speed automatic transmission.


BEST LARGE CAR UNDER $60,000
FORD FALCON G6 ECOBOOST
DRIVETRAIN: 2.0-litre, 4 cylinder, 6 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 8.5L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 3.5

Ford's first four-cylinder Falcon is the second Falcon to win this category in two years.

Last year it was won by the six-cylinder Falcon EcoLPi, the first LPG-powered vehicle to win an Australia's Best Car award.

The new four-cylinder Falcon matches the six-cylinder model in acceleration while delivering better fuel economy and a smoother ride. It is 109kg lighter.


BEST LARGE CAR OVER $60,000
LEXUS GS 350 F SPORT
DRIVETRAIN: 3.5-litre, V6, 6 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 9.7L/100km (PULP)
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 4

Traditionally dominated by European makes, the fourth-generation Lexus has swept all before it to win this prestige motoring category.

The GS 350 F Sport offers strong response and performance to surprise and delight.

The judges said it would have also fared well in the sports car classes.


BEST SPORTS CAR UNDER $80,000
BMW 135i
DRIVETRAIN: 3.0-litre, 6 cylinder, 8 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 7.5L/100km (PULP)
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 4

The BMW 135i coupe has dominated this category for four years. It is now replaced by the four-door hot hatch version.

The new car has more power and torque and it is lighter.

It uses an eight speed automatic, a larger brake package and M-tuned suspension.

It offers M3-like performance for about half the cost.


BEST SPORTS CAR OVER $80,000
BMW M3 COUPE
DRIVETRAIN: 4.0-litre, V8, 6 speed manual
FUEL ECONOMY: 12.4L/100km (PULP)
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 3.5

BMW's M3 is a thoroughbred rear-wheel drive luxury sporting coupe, bringing race car-style technology to a road car.

Stunning performance is delivered by an extremely high revving, naturally aspirated V8 developing an impressive 309kW at 8300rpm and maximum torque of 400Nm.

There's a choice of six-speed manual or double clutch seven-speed auto-shift.

M3 is at its best on a winding open road but is unfazed by urban driving.

Build quality is first class.


BEST ALL TERRAIN 4WD
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 4 SDV6 SE
DRIVETRAIN: 3.0-litre, V6, 6 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 9.3L/100km, diesel
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 2.5

The Land Rover Discovery has now won this category for eight successive years, an all-time record.

The 2012 model, Discovery 4, is a major change. The new engine, developed with Jaguar, is 30 per cent more powerful and develops 36 per cent more torque than its 2.7-litre predecessor.

Towing capacity is 3500kg.

A massive new inventory of features enhances the vehicle.


BEST SUV UNDER $40,000
KIA SPORTAGE SLi AWD
DRIVETRAIN: 2.4-litre, 4 cylinder, 6 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 9.2L/100km (ULP)
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 4

The Kia Sportage has suspension purpose-tuned for Australian conditions, improving ride and handling.

An on-demand all-wheel drive system with a differential lock, hill start and descent modes allows occasional off-bitumen work within the capacity of ground clearance.

A five-year unlimited kilometre warranty and capped price servicing for five years helps keep costs down.


BEST SUV OVER $40,000
HYUNDAI SANTA FE R SERIES ELITE
DRIVETRAIN: 2.2-litre, 4 cylinder diesel, 6 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 7.3L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 3

Launched just before ABC judging, the new Hyundai Santa Fe features sharp styling over the company's familiar, 2.2-litre R series diesel.

Substantial standard equipment combines with excellent safety features and good build quality to create value for money.

The Santa Fe is also available with a 2.4-litre petrol engine, but the diesel pumps out more horsepower and significantly more torque at 436Nm.

The engine is smooth and quiet to the point where it matches some of its Japanese equivalents.


BEST LUXURY SUV OVER $60,000
VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG V6 TDI
DRIVETRAIN: 3.0-litre, 6 cylinder, diesel, 8 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 7.4L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 3.5

The VW Touareg has now won this category for two successive years.

The standout reason for its win is price: it is substantially cheaper than its competitors but with similar equipment levels.

The new 3.0-litre diesel returns remarkable fuel economy, assisted by an outstanding eight speed automatic with reduced friction and overdrive ratios on the top two gears.


BEST PEOPLE MOVER
HYUNDAI iMAX
DRIVETRAIN: 2.5-litre, 4 cylinder, diesel, 5 speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: 9.8L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE: 2.5

The Hyundai iMax has won this category for five successive years.

It shines in space, ergonomics and practicality.

There are large sliding doors on each side and it seats up to eight adults in comfort.

The iMax's commercial van roots are evident, but engineers have improved on road comfort.

There is a petrol engine available but the diesel is preferred, matched to a five-speed automatic transmission.

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AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS 2012 WINNERS AND FINALISTS


Best Light Car Under $20,000

Best Light Car Over $20,000

1. Kia Rio Si

Finalists

2. Hyundai Accent Active
3. Volkswagen Polo 77 TSI Comfortline

1. Volkswagen Polo 66 TDI Comfortline (d)

Finalists
2. Ford Fiesta LX (d)
3. Peugeot 208 Allure

Best Small Car Under $35,000

Best Small Car Over $35,000

1. Hyundai i30 Active

Finalists
2. Volkswagen Golf 90 TSI Trendline
3. Hyundai Elantra Active

1. Ford Focus Titanium TDCi (d)

Finalists
2. BMW 116i
3. Audi A3 TDI Attraction (d)

Best Medium Car Under $50,000

Best Medium Car Over $50,000

1. Toyota Camry H (h)

Finalists
2. Kia Optima Si
3. Volkswagen Jetta 118 TSI Comfortline

1. BMW 320i

Finalists
2. Volkswagen CC 125 TDI (d)
3. Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde (d)

Best Large Car Under $60,000

Best Large Car Over $60,000

1. Ford Falcon G6 EcoBoost

Finalists
2. Toyota Aurion AT-X
3. Peugeot 508 Allure HDi (d)

1. Lexus GS 350 F Sport

Finalists
2. Audi A6 3.0 TDI Quattro (d)
3. BMW 520i

Best People Mover

1. Hyundai iMAX (d)

Finalists
2. Toyota Prius V (h)
3. Subaru Liberty Exiga 2.5i

Best Sports Car Under $80,000

Best Sports Car Over $80,000

1. BMW M135i

Finalists
2. Volkswagen Scirocco R
3. Volkswagen Polo GTI

1. BMW M3 Coupe

Finalists
2. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe
3. Audi RS5 FSI Quattro

Best SUV Under $40,000

Best SUV Over $40,000

1. Kia Sportage 2.4 SLi

Finalists
2. Volkswagen Tiguan 103TDI (d)
3. Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2WD

1. Hyundai Santa Fe Elite (d)

Finalists
2. Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring (d)
3. Kia Sorento Platinum (d)

Best Luxury SUV Over $60,000

Best All Terrain 4WD

1. Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI (d)

Finalists
2. BMW X5 xDrive 30d (d)
3. Range Rover Sport SDV6 (d)

1. Land Rover Discovery 4 SDV6 SE

Finalists
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo CRD (d)
3. Toyota Prado GXL (d)



* d = diesel, h = hybrid

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