2017 COTY – Joel Helmes’ Finalists

My three finalists for 2017 Behind the Wheel COTY

car of the year joel helmes

I can’t believe its Car of the Year time again, where did that year go? It seems like just a couple of weeks ago that we were handing over the 2016 Car of the Year trophies to our first joint-winners – Mazda’s CX-9 and the BMW M2.

This year we are doing our search for the most impressive car of the year a little differently.

The Behind the Wheel team has expanded over the past 12 months and that means we have trimmed the number of finalists from each contributor to just three.

Seemingly, that would make coming up with your nominations easier, I found it the opposite.

Add into the mix a very strong field of impressive new and refreshed models launched this year and it makes the task that little bit more difficult.

We haven’t even got to the really hard decision yet – who will be the overall winner?

Ahead of all that, here are my three 2017 COTY finalists (in no particular order):

MINI Countryman

mini countryman 2017This is the vehicle that has been on my mind as a potential Car of the Year nominee since it was launched in Australia back in March.

Managing to do what seemingly would be impossible – combining that famous MINI feel with a truly usable, roomy and comfortable interior.

A great array of engines, two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants, fun colours, the chance to add heaps of personality through the options list, the new MINI Countryman isn’t just likable, it is truly lovable.

Hyundai i30

hyundai i30 2017The new Hyundai hatch has won nominations from a couple of my colleagues and I’m really not surprised by this.

We consistently see the Koreans, Hyundai and Kia, take big steps forward with each new-generation model – but the new i30 was a bigger leap than we’ve ever seen.

Hyundai has a car here that will suit even the fussiest of buyers, all in a package that won’t break the bank and even brings some style to the equation.

Mazda CX-5

mazda cx-5The Mazda CX-5 has been nothing short of a sales phenomenon in Australia and for good reason – it’s a fantastic all-rounder.

Not too big, nor too small, it’s good to drive, economical, and has always been a good-looking mid-size SUV.

Coming onto the market in 2017 was the series two CX-5 and this was the icing on the cake for a model that wouldn’t look out of place in anyone’s driveway.

Honorable mentions? I won’t lie, these vehicles came extraordinarily close to gaining a nomination from me.

All three are nothing sure of ‘must drive’ propositions in each of their three categories – the Volkswagen Golf 7.5, Peugeot 3008 and updated Kia Sorento.




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