Final 10 for ST Car of the Year

SUVs make up a third of the 10 cars in the running for the coveted award

'Tis the season to honour the best car of the year - the one that got us all hot and bothered, the one that brought the game to another level, the one that deserves to be The Straits Times Car of the Year.

As always, the judges have sifted through all the new models that were launched in the 12-month period starting from the middle of November last year.

As there were more than 50 such launches, it is an arduous task. We use the present tense because the final decision has not been made.

The judges have, however, come up with the shortlist of 10 contenders, presented in alphabetical order.

This year's list is noteworthy on a few fronts - seven-seater sport utility vehicles make up one-third of the cohort; two brands make up four candidates; and there is a good international mix in the line-up.

Which car in the list do you think should be Car of the Year? Cast your vote online by noon on Monday. The ST Car of the Year will be announced next Saturday.

•Cast your vote for The Straits Times Car of the Year after reading the list below.

1 Audi Q7

The second generation of Audi's seven-seater sport-utility vehicle appears less bulky than before and drives a lot better. The finishing has also improved noticeably.

2 BMW 7-series

The last car that made it to this year's contest (because it was launched in November) is by no means the least. It boasts the most rear legroom in its segment and yet drives like a car with a shorter wheelbase.

3 BMW i8

This petrol-electric sports car has a carbon-fibre body, swan doors and killer looks. It is not too shoddy on the go, either.

4 Citroen Cactus

A hatch that redefines funky, this Citroen promises fun - despite a less-than-ideal robotised manual gearbox.

5 Ford Mondeo

A Toyota Camry rival that is so packed with goodies, it could easily rival the Jaguar XE.

6 Kia Sorento

A well- packaged seven-seater SUV with build, space, presence and useful tech, the Kia Sorento would not be entirely out of place next to either the Audi Q7 or Volvo XC90 in the line-up.

7 Lexus RC

This car could well outrun a BMW M model if both drivers were novices. After the superlative Lexus LFA, the Lexus RC cements the carmaker's reputation for verve as well as quality.

8 Mazda MX-5

A retort to all who say the Miata roadster has lost its magic. The Mazda MX-5 goes back to the fundamentals of what made it such a hit when it was launched in 1989, embodying simplicity, lightweightedness and purity of drive.

9 Mazda 2

This small car is making a huge impression. It is as cute as a button, better finished than most subcompacts and offers the one thing that small cars promise but seldom deliver - superb fuel economy.

10 Volvo XC90

This seven-seater SUV offers a whole lot of luxury, tech and utility. A worthy replacement of the first-generation XC90, which had a 13-year run, despite its substantially loftier pricing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2015, with the headline 'Final 10 for ST Car of the Year'. Print Edition | Subscribe