Sizing up the compacts for COTY 2014POSTED BY Dinesh Appavu ON 20 October 2014
As the New Straits Times – Maybank Car of the Year Awards 2014 enters the final stretch, amendments to the nominees list is to be expected, ranging from the deletion of certain models due to unavailability or recategorisation to better suit the classes at hand.
The judging panel has performed a number of minor revisions to the previous list of nominees published. Leading the changes is the removal of the Honda Jazz, one of the clear favourites in the Compact Hatchback class, as Honda Malaysia were unable to prepare a unit for reviewing.
This has effectively made it a one-horse race in that class as the Ford Fiesta EcoBoost, previously expected to go head-to-head with the Jazz, is now the clear favourite although it has to be pointed out that the Proton Iriz is the dark-horse there and should not be written off just yet. The Volkswagen Polo 1.6L hatchback completes the trio of nominess.
In the Entre level Compact Car class, the two nominees remain; them being the Kia Picanto and Perodua Axia. Although the price gap between the two are significant, the key point remains that both represent the newest compact cars in the market that fall within a price range deemed acceptable for first-time buyers.
While the Picanto is miles ahead in terms of equipment and safety features that would make mincemeat of the Axia, the “Entry Level” bit in the class’ title places a little more emphasis on pricing and value-for-money; ensuring that the Axia is still in with a fighting chance.
For those that prefer the traditional three-box design from their compact cars, the Compact Sedan class would provide a clear indication of a good buy for consumers. The Honda City is the clear favourite here with its feature-packed spec sheet and segment-leading room.
However, with judging still underway and each other nominee having a trick up its sleeve nothing can be set in stone just yet. The Mitsubishi Attrage is arguably the most fuel efficient of the quartet, the Ford Fiesta Titanium (sedan) has its comprehensive three-year free maintenance package and the Volkswagen Polo 1.6L sedan has the honour of being the sole continental car in the B-segment.
Each of those attributes can be enough to sway a potential buyer so the City should watch its back until final judging has concluded.
The final category under the microscope this week is the Premium Compact Car class that consists of the Citroen DS3 and the Mini Cooper. Although there is quite a considerable difference in price between the two, the “Premium” tag here means that pricing has less of an emphasis and features will play a bigger role.
We will be digging into each of the 18 categories a little bit more over the coming weeks to help the readers and consumers alike to better understand the rationalisation behind each of the nominees and their respective categories.
Next week will see us covering the Compact SUV, Family Car CKD, Family Car CBU and Premium Family Car class as we inch closer towards the New Straits Times Autoshow and COTY Awards Night.
You can catch all the NST COTY nominees at the NST Autoshow that will be held over the 14-16 November weekend at the Matrade International Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur.