COTY 2015 preliminary judging gets underwayPOSTED BY Dinesh Appavu ON 11 June 2015
The New Straits Times – Maybank Car of the Year 2015 Awards is already underway with a preliminary meeting between the judges to get the categories and nominees in order before judging hits full throttle.
Based on the nominees thus far, the panel of judges has decided to expunge some of the redundant categories from 2014 and reintroduce some from previous years to add relevance to the categorisation and better classify the nominees amongst their automotive peers.
From the first meeting, the initial categories are as labelled below. Some of the categories that did not make the cut this year include the Entry Level Compact Car and Premium MPV. However, the Entry Level Coupe and Premium Executive Car classes make a return and should prove to be hotly-contested with the glut of premium models introduced over the last few months.
Making an official entry into the Malaysian market is Audi, allowing new models to be introduced quicker and that should provide for some stiff competition for the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
In the Entry Level Coupe category, the Hyundai Veloster Turbo and Kia Cerato Koup; essentially sharing the same engine, opens up the doors for buyers into an affordable coupe segment. While the engine in the Kia gets a higher tune for more power, the Hyundai does offer more practicality with its third door for the rear seats.
To say Honda has been on a bit of a roll lately would be an understatement and their HR-V Compact SUV is expected to a strong contender for the overall title. Nonetheless, another compact heavyweight; the Mazda 2, will not bow out without a fight and will take on the Honda Jazz in the Compact Hatchback category.
An interesting category introduced this year for the first time is the Executive Estate one that pits the Peugeot 508 GT SW against the Subaru Outback 2.5i-S. Station wagons have not been a popular choice for local buyers although the practicality and style of these cars cannot be denied. Hopefully, this new French and Japanese take will prove to be a success and get more Malaysians to jump on the wagon bandwagon.
Keeping in line with last year’s trend, the SUV category is once again divided into two according to the drivetrains; the SUV 4×4 and the SUV 4×2. Honda’s CR-V, one of the most popular SUVs in the market gets a new 2.0-litre 2WD variant that should prove to be a shot in the arm and push sales up even more.
On the other hand, Nissan and Isuzu find themselves competing in both SUV categories against each other. The new X-Trail from Nissan is available in both 2WD and 4WD variants, as is the MU-X from Isuzu, and this should keep the nominees on their toes as the refined unibody Nissan with a third row seat takes on the body-on-frame MU-X with a third row as well.
Finally, the re-entry of the Jeep brand into Malaysia has turned things on its head with the availability of rugged yet premium SUVs. Nonetheless, pricing has proven to be a thorn in their side and the higher-than-average pricing when compared to their peers will be a stumbling block as the judging panel takes into consideration value-for-money in determining a winner.
The list of categories will be subject to changes as the months go by before being finalised prior to the NST-Maybank COTY 2015 Awards Night that will see the respective category winners announced together with the coveted Overall Car of the Year title.
The judging panel for 2015 remains the same at five; comprising four members of the motoring media and a former Petronas powertrain engineer. They are Yamin Vong; editor of Cars Bikes & Trucks as well as the head of the panel, Hazril Hafiz; news editor of Berita Harian Auto, Chew Wooi Foo; motoring columnist with Shanghai Daily, Dinesh Appavu; motoring journalist with CBT and Azmi Abdullah; former powertrain engineer with Petronas.
- Compact Hatchback
- Compact Sedan
- Entry Level Coupe
- Premium Compact Car
- Compact SUV
- Premium Compact SUV / Crossover
- Family Car CKD
- Family Car CBU
- Premium Family Car
- Executive Car
- Executive Estate
- SUV 4X2
- SUV 4X4
- Premium Executive Car
- Premium SUV
- Compact Performance Car
- Sports Car
- Performance Car