THE STRAITS TIMES CAR OF THE YEAR 2015

ST Car of the Year 2015: Readers pick Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 is the top choice of Straits Times readers for the Car of the Year title, drawing almost a third of votes in an online poll.
The Volvo XC90 is the top choice of Straits Times readers for the Car of the Year title, drawing almost a third of votes in an online poll. PHOTO: ST FILE

As usual, the public has a somewhat different opinion on which car deserves to be ST Car of the Year.

In an online poll that drew 2,717 votes, 877 (32.3 per cent) backed the Volvo XC90. The Mazda MX-5 was second most popular with 620 votes (22.8 per cent). The BMW i8 - the judges' choice for ST Car of the Year 2015 - initially led the public's choice, but ended in third spot with 314 votes (11.6 per cent).

It is not known how many voters had driven all 10 contenders.

Last year's ST Car of the Year, the BMW i3, was placed fifth in a similar readers' poll. The survey last year garnered only 585 votes - 22 per cent of this year's number.

Car of the Year panellist Edric Pan says: "It's good to see greater reader involvement and interest."

Going by the distribution of the car population here, it would seem a car's performance in the showroom has little to do with its success with the Car of the Year jury.

Land Transport Authority statistics show that the top five most popular car makes, according to last year's population size, are Toyota (153,163 cars), Honda (85,636), Nissan (52,273), Mercedes-Benz (41,525) and Hyundai (39,626).

Of these, only Honda has clinched the ST Car of the Year title - in 2004 and 2006, with the Odyssey and Civic respectively.

With the exception of MercedesBenz last year, none of the other four bestsellers even came close.

But cast the net wider to include the next five most popular brands, and the link between winning a Car of the Year title and selling more cars is stronger.

The sixth to 10th bestsellers according to population are BMW (39,518), Mitsubishi (32,440), Kia (22,749), Mazda (21,949) and Volkswagen (21,801).

Volkswagen has won thrice - in 2005, 2009 and 2013, with the Golf GTI, Scirocco and Golf respectively. BMW won last year with the i3 and this year with the i8.

The top 10 makes accounted for 82.5 per cent of last year's car population of 619,023 (up from about 75 per cent). The remaining 17.5 per cent was shared among about 65 brands.

The remaining votes of the readers' poll went to the Audi Q7 (197 votes), BMW 7-series (183), Ford Mondeo (144), Mazda 2 (139), Kia Sorento (103), Lexus RC (98) and Citroen Cactus (42).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2015, with the headline 'Readers pick Volvo XC90'. Print Edition | Subscribe