What a year it has been in the car world – I must admit, at the start of the year I didn’t think the selection of new or updated car models was going to be as strong as it ended up being.
In the end, like my Behind the Wheel colleagues have found, getting my finalists down to just three for 2017 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year was a tough assignment.
There are other models that went very close to the list, however, in my opinion, these are the best of the bunch (in no particular order)…
In any guise, whether it be the nimble 180kW four-cylinder, the base S model through to the range topping GT, the Kia Stinger represents excellent value in any spec.
The 3.3 litre twin turbo is seriously fast, try 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds. The handling is sublime, particularly in the cheaper models without the adaptive suspension – it’s unflappable. Try as hard as you like to unsettle this car, you won’t succeed.
It’s about as planted as you can get.
The Kia Stinger is a real driver’s car – it’s fast, rewarding and an awful lot of fun.
This is the best Hyundai ever. It now competes on the same level as it’s European and Japanese counterparts, yet still retains the tremendous value the brand has been built on.
Across the range, the i30 impresses with a great chassis, a suspension set up expertly tuned exactly to Australian conditions, and a level of fit and finish that could make luxury brands blush.
Standard inclusions are generous, even in the Active base model, while the sporty 150kW SR model is a hoot to drive – nimble, rorty and smile inducing.
The best bit about the all-new Hyundai i30? There’s a super sporty edition coming soon. Called the i30N, expect two editions, the sportiest developing more than 200kW.
Combined with that great chassis and brilliant build quality, the i30N will be a guaranteed cracker.
Hyundai are a force to be reckoned with and the new i30 demonstrates brilliantly what accomplished car builders they have become.
Range Rover Velar
It’s everything you expect a luxury car to be. The ride is sublime – it wafts along as if it’s floating above the road, insulating you from any annoyances.
It’s supremely quiet and urgently powerful. Nothing comes close to the Velar’s cabin – it is the best in the business.
Understated and indulgent, and those screens are a thing of absolute beauty – it spoils you in a way only a Range Rover can.
You get the command driving position and of course all the prowess off road that comes standard in every Range Rover.
On road it’s a competent performer thanks to its Jaguar F-PACE DNA. Size wise it’s just about perfect and it is stunning to look at – from any angle.
The Velar is the best Rangie ever.