THE STRAITS TIMES CAR OF THE YEAR 2017

Which car deserves to be ST Car of the Year? You decide

AUDI Q2
AUDI Q2PHOTOS: BMW AG, ST FILE
PORSCHE PANAMERA
PORSCHE PANAMERA
BMW 5-SERIES
BMW 5-SERIES
RENAULT GRAND SCENIC
RENAULT GRAND SCENIC
LEXUS LC500
LEXUS LC500
RENAULT MEGANE SEDAN
RENAULT MEGANE SEDAN
MAZDA CX-9
MAZDA CX-9PHOTO: BMW AG, ST FILE
VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN
VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN
PEUGEOT 3008
PEUGEOT 3008
VOLVO XC60
VOLVO XC60

SUVs and crossovers sweep top honours in Class of 2017

Another year is coming to an end and it is time to pick the cars that dilated our pupils, weakened our knees and set our hearts a-flutter.

Yes, it is time for The Straits Times Car of the Year 2017. As usual, the panel of judges has shortlisted 10 cars which will jostle for the coveted title.

Not surprisingly, crossovers and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) make up half of the nominees this year. This reflects the rising popularity of such cars - to the dismay of some driving purists among the judges.

These cars with raised ground clearance are the Audi Q2, Mazda CX-9 (a seven-seater), Peugeot 3008, Volkswagen Tiguan and Volvo XC60.

Readers will notice familiar brands such as Audi, Volkswagen and Volvo in the shortlist.

What is noteworthy this year is the entry of three French cars - the Peugeot 3008, Renault Grand Scenic (seven-seater) and Renault Megane Sedan. Renault, in fact, is the only car with two nominees this year.

If nothing else, this strong showing of French fare proves that second-liners can shine if they persevere. The 3008, for instance, has proven that Peugeot is quite capable of muscling into the premium/ luxury segment.

The other cars in this year's top 10 are there for good reason too.

The BMW 5-series, Lexus LC500 and Porsche Panamera are upper-crust contenders. And all three brands are no stranger to this hallowed ritual. Lexus was in last year's shortlist with the wonderful GS F, Porsche won Car of the Year in 2012 and BMW clinched the top title with the i3 (2014) and i8 (2015).

This year's panel of judges has expanded from 10 to 12. They consist of motoring journalists from The Straits Times and Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

The judges sifted through all the new models that were launched in the 12-month period starting from the middle of November last year. There were around 50 such launches. Only cars brought in by authorised agents were considered.

To remain relevant to as many readers as possible, cars priced above $750,000 were not considered.

The costliest nominee is the Lexus LC500, which is going for around half a million dollars. The least expensive is the Megane Sedan, at just under $110,000.

The judges are still going through the cars in the line-up and comparing each with its peers to decide how it scores on various traits.

The winner will be made known on Dec 23.

Meanwhile, The Straits Times invites readers to pick a car in the list which they think should wear the crown this year. Results of this poll will also be published on Dec 23.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2017, with the headline 'Dean's list'. Print Edition | Subscribe