Wheels Car of the Year is Australia’s senior and most coveted motoring award, and each year there is only one winner. Here are nine fast facts to put you in the picture.
1. Wheels Car of the Year is the world’s longest running motoring award for excellence: this is its 53rd year.
2. The first Car of the Year was awarded to Renault in 1963 for the R8.
3. The most successful manufacturer over the history of Car of the Year has been Holden, with 10 wins. Ford, Honda and Mazda have won six each, while Volkswagen has five.
4. There were three years in which Wheels refrained from anointing a Car of the Year, judging that none of the contenders in that year deserved the accolade: 1972, 1979 and 1986.
5. There will be no Car of the Year 2015 – but that’s only because we have changed the way we name the award. The winner this year will be the 2016 Wheels Car of the Year – not 2015 – recognising its year of reign instead of the year in which the model arrived in Australia.
6. The field of nominees for Car of the Year 2016 is one of the biggest in the award’s history, with 25 models and 55 individual cars making the long list.
7. Each Car of the Year nominee is assessed under five categories: Function; Efficiency; Value; Technology; and Safety. Nominated cars must be new or significantly revised models introduced in the previous year.
8. All nominees for Car of the Year are gathered for three days of testing, this time at the Holden proving ground at Lang Lang, south-east of Melbourne. Nominees shortlisted after the first three days move onto the second stage of testing, comprising four days of driving on public roads.
9. The retirement of Peter Robinson after 43 years on the panel has left European Editor John Carey as the most experienced Wheels Car of the Year judge. This year’s award is the 22nd for which Carey has worn his judging cap.