The Straits Times Car of the Year 2017: What the judges say

Christopher Tan.
Christopher Tan.
David Ting.
David Ting.
Edric Pan.
Edric Pan.
Kong Yongyao.
Kong Yongyao.
Lionel Seah.
Lionel Seah.
Lynn Tan.
Lynn Tan.
Andre Lam.
Andre Lam.
Jeremy Chua.
Jeremy Chua.
Sarjeet Singh.
Sarjeet Singh.
Shreejit Changaroth.
Shreejit Changaroth.
Toh Yong Chuan.
Toh Yong Chuan.
Tony Tan.
Tony Tan.

Christopher Tan, 58, senior correspondent, The Straits Times; consulting editor, Torque

"This year's results say something about French cars. Three made it to the top 10 list - quite a feat for any make. But for French cars, which have long been playing second fiddle to the Germans, Japanese and even the Koreans, this outcome is a sure sign of a renaissance."


David Ting, 44, editor, Torque

"The LC500 looks like a million bucks, but costs half of that, so it's a lot of V8 cool coupe for the money compared with, say, the Maserati GranTurismo and Lexus RC F. The interior of the LC is slightly less exotic than the exterior, but it's still a fantastic cabin. The LC is sexy, special and simply the coolest Straits Times Car of the Year since 2015's BMW i8."


Edric Pan, 44, lawyer

"Among the hordes of heaving SUVs with more bulk than style, more mass than dexterity, the XC60 is refreshingly different. It is strikingly handsome inside and out in Volvo's current minimalist style, its cabin is roomy and airy, its chassis brilliantly marries agility and comfort, and there is impressive shove from its turbocharged 2-litre engine. Finally, a desirable SUV."


Kong Yongyao, 29, medical doctor

"Out of nowhere - from Lexus, of all people - straight off the concept car show stand comes a thing of pure romance. It is a worthy occupant of bedroom posters and little kids' dreams. Other cars deserve admiration; this car evokes a raging, lustful desire. That, in our cynical times, deserves the grandest celebration."


Lionel Seah, 60, freelance writer

"Standing out in a crowded sea of soft-roaders, the Audi Q2 is hip and funky, while practical and zippy. The three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo variant, especially, punches well above its capacity and doesn't get more road tax-friendly. Available in cheery colours, it's the definitive premium compact crossover with a high fun quotient."


Lynn Tan, 40, freelance writer

"The Volvo XC60 subtly encourages you to live a little on the wild side and feed the need for speed, with the assurance that you are in safe hands."


Andre Lam, 59, dentist

"I found the Mazda CX-9 to be a very honest presentation of an SUV. It has a very analogue feel and sorted driving dynamics. It looks great, seats seven and is well finished. For such a huge vehicle - over 5m - it is very responsive and has enough punch in its 2.5-litre turbo engine to wheelspin at will. It still uses analogue dials in a world that has just too much whizz-tech foisted upon it by manufacturers. It also offers great value."


Jeremy Chua, 38, senior writer, Torque

"I love the Renault Megane Sedan's road presence, snazzy interior and well-sorted ride. It has raised my expectations of what a family saloon can be."


Sarjeet Singh, 51, lawyer

"An SUV shouldn't handle as well as the Peugeot 3008. Sharp, agile and composed are some of the adjectives which come to mind to describe this handsome French car. Add the Teutonic build quality, futuristic dash and fluid drivetrain, it is the surprise of the year."


Shreejit Changaroth, 60, engineer

"There is only one way to describe the Audi Q2: small, but big. Compact on the outside but spacious enough for five, Audi's smallest crossover also has big car quality and a little 999cc three-cylinder engine that behaves like a 2-litre."


 
 

Toh Yong Chuan, 48, senior correspondent, The Straits Times

"The Megane makes the Japanese family sedans feel so bland. And the XC60 shows that Volvo is catching up with the Germans, from design to build quality."


Tony Tan, 51, senior corporate communications manager

"The superbly stylish Peugeot 3008 is one of the best examples of a carmaker listening and acting on feedback. Peugeot has fixed what was wrong and developed what was right. The 3008 is spacious, with a supple ride and its handling is above average. Then there's the cabin - Peugeot's massive commitment to a high-quality, high-tech new interior is obvious."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2017, with the headline 'What the judges say'. Print Edition | Subscribe