While Wheels Car of the Year is open to any new car that has launched in the previous 12 months, the reality is that with so much new metal hitting our shores, we simply can’t throw every eligible contender through our rigorous testing regime.
COTY testing takes place over five days and every car is scrupulously assessed and driven by our seven judges. So, to give our team enough time to do the job properly, we need to ensure the size of the field is manageable. This year’s group comprises 17 different models, for example, represented by 26 individual cars.
The result of all this is that simply making the starting grid at COTY is an acknowledgment of excellence in and of itself, but it also means some tough decisions need to be made.
As the 2023 COTY story evolves, the list of stories below will grow. Keep an eye on this page for more, or find it all at our COTY page.
A NOTE ON CRITERIA
Always a controversial topic. It's linked above, but if you need a refresher on how we define eligibility and our testing criteria, the What's new for 2023? story is where you need to be.
The first cull is the easiest
Eligible cars must be brand-new additions to the Aussie marketplace or fresh versions of an existing nameplate that have been updated with a generational change.
A new-generation Nissan X-Trail, for example, is eligible as it offers a new platform, fresh cabin and new engines, but a Tesla Model 3 is not given it’s largely the same car that we’ve previously tested at COTY. That also explains why popular models such as the Toyota RAV4 and Kia Carnival aren’t included each year.
Easiest, but not easy
Where things get trickier is cars like the BMW X1 and Subaru WRX. While they’re eligible and are solid performers, they didn’t quite impress our road testing team enough to warrant automatic inclusion. In those instances, cars are put to our judging panel for a yes/no vote – and the majority rules.
Other cars just missed out due to timing, while one car - the BMW i4 – was unavailable owing to major supply issues (with some customers now having to wait until early 2024 to receive their order).
We’ve divided up the cars that just missed the cut below. If you’d like more detail on why a model didn’t make the starting grid, ask away in the comments.
Arrived too late
|BMW M2||Ineos Grenadier|
|BMW M3 Touring||Lexus RX|
|BMW i4 (No test car available)||Mazda CX-60|
|Citroen C5X||Mercedes-Benz EQS|
|Cupra Born||Mercedes-Benz EQE|
|Honda Civic Type R||MG4|
|Hyundai Ioniq 6||Toyota GR Corolla|
Ruled out by judging panel
|Aston Martin DBX||Kia Niro|
|BMW 2 Series||LDV Mifa 9|
|BMW X1||Mercedes-Benz EQA|
|Cupra Leon||Mercedes-Benz EQB|
|Cupra Ateca||Nissan Pathfinder|
|Honda HR-V||Subaru WRX|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee L||Suzuki S-Cross|