A national competition co-judged by the RACT will help take the hard work out of selecting and purchasing a new car.

Almost 200 of the most popular vehicles on the Australian market across 15 categories were assessed by a team of expert judges from all of Australia’s Motoring clubs against 21 different criteria (including pricing, comfort, depreciation, insurance costs, standard features, build quality, safety and fuel consumption) in the areas of value for money, design and function and on road ability to determine Australia’s Best Cars.

A selection of cars were tested over four days in rain, sunshine and mud at the Australian Automotive Research Centre, a 1000 hectare proving ground near Anglesea in Victoria.

One of the judges, RACT general manager Mobility Services Darren Moody, said: “Testing the 45 finalists to determine a winner in each category was a challenging task, there was a serious side to the process and selecting the winners.

“The awards aim to take the guess work out of finding the best vehicle in a category for a consumer, and also influence the new car market by challenging manufacturers to continually improve safety, performance and affordability.

“Pleasingly, we are seeing considerable improvements in standard safety features with ANCAP recently announcing the inclusion of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) increasing almost 10-fold in the last two years.

“Overall vehicle affordability remains high with manufacturers fitting more and more features in as standard to lure customers to their brand.

“Buying a new car is a big decision, maybe one of the biggest purchasing decisions a consumer will make outside of buying a house, so it is important that they have access to as much relevant information as possible to make the best decision possible.”


List of winners

  • Light: Mazda2 Maxx
  • Small Under $35k: Mazda3 Maxx Sport
  • Small Over $35k: BMW 125i M-Sport
  • Medium Under $50k: Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid
  • Medium Over $50k: BMW 330i Sportline
  • Family Wagon: Kia Carnival SLi
  • Large Under $70k: Kia Stinger 200S CK MY18
  • Sports Under $50k: Hyundai i30 N
  • Sports $50k-$100k: Mercedes Benz A 45 AMG
  • Small 2WD SUV Under $35k: Mazda CX-3 Maxx
  • AWD SUV Under $50k: Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium
  • AWD SUV $50k-$65k: Kia Sorento GT Line
  • AWD SUV $65k-$125k: Volvo XC60 D4 Inscription
  • 4×4 Dual Cab Utes: Ford Ranger XLT 3.2

There was no trophy awarded in the Micro category as the highest scoring vehicle only has a four-star ANCAP safety rating.

Photo: RACT ABC judge Darren Moody during testing at Anglesea in Victoria. Photo credit: Shannon Morris.