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Wheels Car of the Year 2016: The selection process

By Wheels staff, 08 Jan 2016 COTY

Wheels Car of the Year 2016: The selection process

How the COTY nominees are chosen

How the COTY nominees are chosen.

OF THE hundreds of vehicles Wheels journalists test every year, only the best earn a COTY guernsey.

Choosing COTY nominees for testing from the wide range of eligible cars is a long and difficult process, with the final line-up determined by the magazine’s chief road-testers.

The choice for most nominees is obvious if they make significant generational improvements, or reset class benchmarks. The process gets tricky when it comes to eligible cars whose gains are less apparent, or if the breadth and ability of the entire range is unclear. Due to the sheer volume of new cars released each year, Wheels simply can’t test each variant of every new car before COTY.

In some cases the Australian release timing of new models falls so close to the December 1 cut-off that no Wheels road-tester has driven them. A wildcard nomination can be granted if it’s decided they are significant enough or have sufficient promise.

Once nominees are chosen, variants within the range are hand-picked to provide judges with the broadest spread of a range’s credentials and to balance different trim, drivetrain and bodystyle options. Wheels also endeavours to include the volume-selling variant.