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Top ten comparisons of 2018

By Daniel Gardner, 30 Dec 2018 Car News

Top ten comparisons of 2018

Hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs and one-tonne utes – no segment avoids the spotlight in our exhaustive comparison reviews

There is no better way of fully evaluating a particular vehicle than pitching it against its arch rivals in real time. Comparisons highlight small differences, qualities and flaws that can easily go unnoticed when focussing on just one vehicle.

That’s exactly why we put so much effort into arranging proper, fair head-to-head comparisons, and the resulting verdict is a critical appraisal that you can really trust.

Read next: Wheels’ best news stories of 2018

During 2018, we lined up more models for comparisons than ever before. Some were simple head-to-head tussles between two obvious enemies, while others involved as many as 12 vehicles, a week of assessment on racetrack and public roads.

Here, then, are the comparisons that most piqued your interest in 2018.

Highlighting Australia’s interest in vehicles that can go far beyond the beaten trail, our most popular comparison in 2018 asked if your Toyota Landcruiser budget was better spent on something else.

You might be surprised at what 4x4 Australia pitched against the evergreen Japanese competitor, but it’s certainly worth a read.

Our second most watched and read comparison was another outback battle between tough off-roaders, this time between luxury newcomers to the one-tonne segment and, you guessed it, a Toyota.

Before seven-seaters began proliferating all the major brand’s product portfolios, people movers were the only way to cart large families and big groups of people, but there is still a market for the more van-like options.

This comparison from 2016 looks at how the Volkswagen Multivan stacks up against some seven-seat newcomers - and despite its relative age, it was our third most popular comparison of 2018.

As the memory of locally built medium-to-large sedans fades, we tried to find a new champion of this sliding but still attractive segment.

Five cars went to battle, including the new imported ZB Commodore with something for everyone in this increasingly niche arena, but would you choose a sedan over an SUV?

For our fifth most-read comparison on 2018, we presented the decision faced by thousands of Australians each year – Hyundai i30 or Kia Cerato?

As two of the most popular small hatchbacks on offer locally - and from sister South Korean brands to boot - many customers find it a hard decision to make, but let us take the hard work and uncertainty out of this close comparison for you.

Ranking in sixth place is another fierce battle that continues to rage in the mid-sized SUV market. You might be after a reasonably priced high-rider but that doesn’t mean it has to be dull, and these four options are a case in point.

Hyundai’s strong-performing i30 was, once again, under the spotlight in 2017, this time fighting it out with the equally popular and compelling Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3. Our seventh most visited comparison for 2018 proves that there is still plenty of interest in small hatchbacks, even though SUVs dominate in overall sales.

One of the most hyped and eagerly anticipated developments of 2018 was the arrival of new dual-cab ute models from Ford and HSV. In the blue corner, Ford delivered something shamelessly muscular with incredible suspension, but the red corner hit back with something wearing a badge that has always been associated with power and performance. Take a look to find out who was victorious.

Utes are now so popular that manufacturers are reimagining well-known and established pick-up models to be fully enclosed SUVs as well. At the more affordable end of the spectrum, these two 4x4s based on the Mitsubishi Triton and Isuzu D-Max were the subject of our ninth most read comparison.

And in tenth spot, one of our chilliest comparisons of the year took five large SUVs to the Gippsland coastline in the depths of winter. We were blasted by icy Bass Straight winds, hammered by the August rain and were still shooting in the dark, to find out which is the best diesel seven-seat SUV.

Comparisons are a tough job, but we love them and we can’t wait to bring you even more in 2019.