2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year – Third Finalists

2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year - Third Finalists

The search for 2014 Behind the Car of the Year continues.

2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year - Third Finalists
Chris Miller (r) hands over the 2013 Car of the Year trophy for the Holden Commodore to Holden’s Sales and Marketing Executive Director, Philip Brook.

Chris Miller has followed in the footsteps of Behind the Wheel’s Joel Helmes and Paul Maric in naming four finalists for 2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year.

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year - Third Finalists
2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year finalist – Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.

Citroën have picked up the baton dropped by Honda to take over the most coveted people mover on the Australian Market.

With futuristic good looks, a tardis like interior and jaw dropping economy, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is a lesson in brilliant design.

At $43,990 and with a standard six year unlimited kilometre warranty the Grand Picasso makes a lot of sense. But it’s not just the logical choice; it’s an emotional one with lots of quirky but clever French touches that make this car easy to love.

It’s a rewarding drive with plenty of low down punch from the miserly diesel power plant, while the interior is as spacious and a lot more modern than many lounge rooms. The innovative use of LCD displays in the cabin add a sense of luxury, not to mention functionality, and the standard equipment like 360 degree cameras, digital radio and clever mirrors to keep an eye on all those kids in the back make it a clear winner.

Kia pro_cee’d GT

2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year - Third Finalists
2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year finalist – Kia pro_cee’d GT.

Another surprise package from Kia, the pro_cee’d GT not only has a real presence on the road but the performance to match…all for under thirty grand.

Low slung with a wide stance, the Kia pro_cee’d GT is much better looking in the metal than the photos suggest, while inside the cabin you’ll find lots of great tech built into some really modern, aesthetically pleasing architecture. With a great sounding 150kW four-cylinder meshed to a notchy six speed manual, it is a peppy performer.

A great suspension set up including independent rear suspension makes it a car that is hard to unsettle in the corners and encourages you to hit the twisty bits with pace. Throw in a seven year unlimited kilometre warranty with capped price servicing and you get a car that no only is an intelligent financial choice, but one that also rewards the boy-racer within.

Subaru WRX

2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year - Third Finalists
2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year finalist – Subaru WRX.

Subaru have really upped the ante with the latest and most refined ever WRX. It’s also one of the cheapest at $38,990 for the manual.

The optional CVT gearbox is surprisingly good, and for a change, the Subaru design department has made the new WRX look almost pretty.

Like the original WRX the new car has plenty of raw performance. There’s an all-new 2.0 litre turbo charged four-cylinder boxer engine that develops 197kW and 350Nm, and with amazing grip from the all-wheel drive system the WRX is seriously good fun to drive. It amazingly quick but is also quite docile around town. The suspension tune is spot on with enough firmness to make it competent when under pressure yet supple enough to provide a genuinely comfortable ride around town.

Big points as well for the upgraded interior, finally the WRX cabin is a pampering place that is nice to spend time in.

Volkswagen Golf

2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year finalist - Volkswagen Golf.
2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year finalist – Volkswagen Golf.

Whether it’s the base model 90TSI at $21,490 or the blistering quick Golf R – everything in the Golf range is an absolute winner.

The GTI is a real highlight…a cracker of a car that does the Jekyll and Hyde thing better than anything else on the market. Pedestrian enough not to draw too much attention while still being reasonably good looking, and with a ride that is brilliant at any speed, the Golf GTI is able to get you to Bunnings for a load of timber and carry it home at almost race car speeds. It is the definition of an all rounder.

The base model cars feel worthy of a $40,000 price tag with a fit and finish that is second to none. The smart German engineering can be felt as soon as you close the door and competency of the chassis is staggering.

Economy is brilliant in all of the models, and the latest iteration of the 7-Speed DSG gearbox is smooth even at low speeds and blisteringly fast when the right foot is planted.

A genuinely satisfying car to drive and with great resale values, the Mk 7 Golf is head and shoulders above the opposition.

So there we are, our 2014 finalists are; Kia pro_cee’d GT, Isuzu MU-X, Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, Audi RS 6, Porsche Macan and Subaru WRX.

We will announce our 2014 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year on Thursday the 4th of November.