As one of Australia’s most respected and experienced motoring journalists, Ged Bulmer has driven and reviewed everything from hulking off-roaders to sleek supercars in a career spanning more than 20 years.
Now managing Bauer Media’s market leading motoring stable – Wheels, Motor, Street Machine, Unique Cars, WhichCar and 4x4 Australia – Ged’s love of cars and his background as an editor of publications as diverse as Wheels, Motor, 4Wheeler and Overlander magazine ensures he has a clear view of what constitutes great automotive design, and its importance to consumers.
“I think in terms of what you feel when you first see the [Ford] Mustang, it has the strongest emotional connection,” he said. “It makes you feel something, and not every car does that.
“The design cues of this car are all about harking back to the original 1964 Mustang and the great Mustangs that we remember through the ’60s and ’70s… they’ve managed to bring those heritage cues into the contemporary setting really well, and I think it’s a good-looking car.
“It’s a V8 and it’s a muscle car in the true sense of the word. Personally I like that; I’m a fan.”
But while the powerful-looking Ford Mustang revealed Ged’s undeniable car enthusiast colours, he also recognised the sophistication and class of the other finalists.
“What captures your attention with the Audi is how understated it is… If you take time to look at it, it’s a really nicely designed car.
“It’s also really classic design… like a well-made suit that you can pull out of your cupboard 10 years later and it’s still going to be just as good today as it was when you first bought it.
“And I think Audi is like that; it’s certainly not a fashion victim, it’s certainly not about trying to chase a particular trend.”
Ged described the Holden Astra hatchback as a “welcome return to European design cues” for Holden, something he believed can only be positive for the Aussie brand as it moves from local manufacturing to being a full-line importer.
“The Holden Astra is a really nicely designed little car. It’s quite restrained in its design. There’s not a lot of shouty, over-the-top stuff going on but it’s very sophisticated.
“It’s got a bit of sport about it, too, which I like, and that same level of sophistication that you see on the exterior of the car is carried over to the interior.”
The most controversial of the finalists was the Honda Civic, but Ged also acknowledged as the most courageous.
“The thing I like most about the new Civic is that Honda hasn’t played it safe. They’ve taken a risk with this car – they’ve been bold, they’ve been daring,” he said.
“They’ve thrown a lot of different design elements at the car and I guess that’s why it’s fairly polarising… it’s certainly getting a reaction.”