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The Hits and Misses of 2016

You could call 2016 a lot of things, but dull isn’t one of them.

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The world has been a busy place, and even in our little corner of it, CarAdvice has had the biggest year on record, in many ways.

But let us just turn our attention to new car reviews, where we saw an increase of almost 10 per cent in published content, to 506 in total. Those reviews generated over 30,000 comments on the site, suggesting there are plenty of opinions when it comes to what makes a good new car.

So, what worked and what didn’t?

The CarAdvice team share their thoughts on the biggest hits, misses, surprises and disappointments of 2016.


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Trent Nikolic

Senior Editor

Hit – Audi SQ7. The Audi SQ7, which isn't cheap mind you, has hit the mark of modern technology and proper SUV usability. Its clever electric turbine and 48V electric system is avant garde, and it retains all the appeal of the beautifully executed Q7 platform. It's a sports SUV that is befitting of the Audi 'S' badge. Some performance Audis might not quite hit the nail on the head - think RSQ3 - but this SQ7 is an impressive, clever and fast SUV.

Miss – Various petrol/electric hybrids that offer utterly uninspiring driving experiences. If this is the future, then manufacturers have a lot of R&D in front of them. There are numerous protagonists but the Lexus RX450h is a good example of one that has missed the mark.

The platform itself is competent and others in the range make all sorts of SUV sense, but the 450h is expensive, has an old-tech battery pack, lacklustre transition from electric to petrol propulsion and a confounding CVT. The rubbish infotainment controls only add to the hair-pulling list of annoyances.

Surprise – Ford Mustang GT. It's not a straight-out replacement for the Falcon, but in the V8 Mustang, Blue Oval fans have a muscle car weapon in which they can truly rejoice. It's fast, it's competent, it has excellent brakes, steering and handling, and it takes track abuse in its stride and then asks for more.

This vehicle, along with the new Corvette, proves the Yanks can build a sports/muscle car crossover that drives like a proper sports car. Its limitless aftermarket support is positive once the warranty runs out, too. If you love V8 propulsion, the Mustang is a bargain example of it.

Disappointment – Pricing that takes the piss, regardless of manufacturer. Australia is one of the smallest, but most competitive and overloaded new-car markets anywhere in the world. At the high end, the government is taking the piss with the Luxury Car Tax, but at the lower end, we found ourselves way too often saying 'decent car but it needs to be eight grand cheaper'.

Manufacturers know what they are getting into when they bring a model into Australia, and taking the piss by either pricing the car too high, or offering endless lists of expensive options, is something that needs to be curtailed. Buyers in Australia deserve better. (Did I say 'taking the piss' enough?)


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Mike Stevens

Producer and News Editor

Hit - 2018 Holden Commodore. It's such a massive change from what we've known for so long and, I must admit, I'm a sucker for upheaval.  Some aspects are saddening - particularly the use of a naturally aspirated six for the flagship model, rather than the turbo four that will be offered in Europe - but it's a good-looking thing and I think it deserves to do well. That is, as well as can be expected in a flagging market segment.

Miss - Audi Q2. I suspect I'm going to come around to it eventually, but when I saw it unveiled in Geneva, and had a good walk around it, I just wasn't impressed. It doesn't look sufficiently premium - entry-level model or not - to wear the Audi badge. Even the little A1 looks more upmarket. Still, they say it's for a completely new type of buyer…

Surprise - Lexus LC. I was blown away when Lexus revealed a production car that was so remarkably close in appearance to its concept progenitor. I even felt compelled to put together a 'styling face-off' article to work through my pleasure and disbelief.  This sort of thing doesn't happen often. We're all so used to muscular, audacious concepts setting the stage for disappointment (like the Suzuki Kizashi show car, or every Subaru concept ever).  What an incredible-looking thing. Tony's first-drive review suggests it will be a winner, but on looks alone, it already is for me.

Disappointment - Ford Mustang. It looks amazing, just amazing. But the cabin feels like I've climbed into a superhero lunchbox from K-Mart, and I wasn't thrilled at all by the handling of the car that promised to be a genuine rival, dynamically, to the best coupes on the market. Should I have known better? No skin off Ford's nose, of course - it's selling like mad.


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Matt CampbellContributor

Hit - BMW M2. I don't care if people say it rides too rough for a $100K car. I don't care if people say it isn't as life-threatening as the old 1M. I don't care that a BMW M240i Coupe is actually better value and probably a better car on balance.

What I care about is the simple, driver-focused purity of the BMW M2: it brought back something that I felt was missing from M cars for a while - heart and soul. I'd buy one in a heartbeat, and it'd be manual. Better convince the boss of that massive pay rise, then...

Miss - MG 3. It was new to the world a good three or four years ago, and apparently that makes it new enough to launch in Australia as a new car. I'm not saying it looks old - I quite like the styling, in fact - but there are elements of this little city car that make it feel very, very old.

It lacks standard safety (no rear-view camera, even as an option; three-star Euro NCAP crash rating), and doesn't have the modern conveniences of similarly priced rivals like the Holden Spark. It's not cheap enough, and, to be frank, it's also not good enough to succeed here. Oh, and it's manual only. Why even bother?

Surprise - Toyota Corolla Hybrid. So it's not exciting, it's not that much fun to drive, and it's not the most desirable car ever made. But when the first-ever Toyota Corolla Hybrid arrived in Australia earlier this year, it came with sharp pricing (from $26,990 plus on-road costs), miserly fuel consumption (claim: 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres) and plenty of equipment.

It quickly became my pick of one of the country's most popular car ranges, and it surprised me because I didn't expect it to be so affordable, yet so good.

Disappointment - Mediocre vehicles succeeding while superior cars stumble. There are some cars out there that are selling in big numbers that simply aren't as good as some of their rivals.

Some of the ones that are selling better than they should: Hyundai Accent, Mazda CX-3, Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, Mitsubishi ASX, Mitsubishi Lancer, Toyota Tarago. Ones that should be selling better: Ford Focus, Ford Kuga (deceased, 'replaced' by Escape in 2017), Volkswagen Polo, Peugeot 308, anything from Citroen, most Kias.


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James Ward

Associate Publisher

HitMazda CX-9. Given the success of the CX-5 and CX-3, the new CX-9 had big expectations, and for mine it didn’t disappoint. A sensible, comfortable and practical cabin, mated with a classy exterior, has again moved Mazda forward in the sub-premium SUV stakes.

Miss – Great Wall Steed. Come on guys. You’ve been the longest standing Chinese brand in Australia, and you’ve sold utes before, so why ‘relaunch’ the brand with a vehicle that doesn’t meet the core criteria of the segment. Utes need to carry and tow. A Triton is almost as cheap, so the value card doesn’t even carry much weight. I can forgive the 1990s look, but utes need to ute!

SurpriseHolden Colorado. It’s the mid-life update we all wish we could have. In true Cinderella fashion, the tough but basic Colorado got the bibbity bobbity boo treatment and transformed into one of the better riding, better equipped pickups in the segment. We weren’t really expecting that!

DisappointmentInfiniti Q30. We all want to like Infiniti. We all want to see it work. But you aren’t helping yourselves. The Q30 had promise, with Mercedes-Benz underpinnings and cool styling, but the reality is a car that doesn’t have a real position in the market, there is no USP. Be better, be cheaper, be faster – be anything, but stand out in a way that gives you market relevance.


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Paul Maric

Senior Road Tester

Hit - Audi RS 6 Performance - Just when you thought that the Audi RS 6 couldn't be any more sublime, Audi ups the ante with the Audi RS 6 Performance. More power and even faster to 100km/h, something that it never really needed. Cherry on the cake was being able to go for a blast in this and the RS 7 Performance at Phillip Island with no pace car or track nannies — it was seriously cool.

Best part is that somebody like Alborz Fallah would never own one, because it's not orange, or British.

Miss - Mercedes-Benz GLE350d Coupe - Let's put how ugly this, the BMW X6, X4 and GLC Coupe are, to one side for a second. This is a car that couldn't come close to matching its performance figures, it performed poorly during braking tests and handled like a car that weighs 2.4 tonnes (because it does).

It's a disappointing car from a brand that has been busy releasing some really great products. One thing that it does do well is prove that people don't buy cars because they're good.

Surprise - Ford Focus RS. What an absolutely awesome car. From a bang-for-buck standpoint, it's unmatched. It drives great, sounds awesome and...drift mode.  And, I get to chuckle every time somebody complains that it's too firm (IT'S A FORD FOCUS RS!).

Disappointment - Poor dual-clutch gearboxes. I'm talking about you, Hyundai Elantra SR, Mercedes-Benz A250, Audi A4 and anything Volkswagen. How is it that we're a decade down the track from dual-clutch gearboxes debuting in regular cars and low performance being so damn poor.

Surely engineers should have figured out a good formula by now? Let's just stick to regular gearboxes for regular cars.


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Tegan Lawson

Lifestyle Editor

Hit - Range Rover Evoque Convertible. I love it when we see something that goes against the grain and is unique in the market. What should be a preposterous proposition, the Range Rover Evoque Convertible actually manages to capture and maintain the essence of the Evoque, combined with the fun of a convertible.

It handles itself considerably well off-road and it’s got that chunky SUV feel with a high driving position. SUV, convertible, luxury – when you think about it, it makes total sense. If only it wasn’t so expensive. Sigh.

Miss - MG 3. When you talk with people about the return of MG, the conversation goes one of two ways. Why is the brand back again after it failed here last time? Or, there's a nostalgic sense of hope, that this time, its rich history will be evident in the new vehicles. Sad to say, the launch of the MG3 and MG6 in Australia recently was not what I had hoped it would be.

The MG3 is funky, and could be a great little sporty city car – but it feels old and is lacking performance and dynamics. Similarly, the MG6 is lagging behind its competitors and though I wish it might be different, I can’t see them succeeding where they failed previously. MG needed to hit us with a modern, updated, competitively priced range and instead they served up a couple of lacklustre offerings.

Surprise - Citroen C4 Cactus. When I first saw it, I was excited. But then I wondered if this would be too quirky, too impractical, too distinct and too polarising. The Citroen Cactus is odd looking and I’m not sure where the demand for Airbumps actually originated from – perhaps there was a genuine public outcry and desire to reduce the damage done by shopping trolleys and rogue door-openers.

Inside, there are plenty of interesting touches like the suitcase-style glove box but it is so comfortable and practical. With the ability to choose a seemingly never-ending combination of colours and an impressively efficient diesel option, I didn’t think it would make as much sense as it did.

Disappointment - Mazda CX-3. Rather than attempting to set a benchmark in the baby SUV segment, the Mazda CX-3 seems to just fill a gap in the Mazda line-up, albeit rather awkwardly. It doesn’t ride high enough, it doesn’t feel anymore spacious than the hatch and I found myself looking at it, arms folded, wondering - why?

Mazda could have done a proper jacked up compact SUV very well, but I found this disappointing because I don’t see the point in it.


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Alborz Fallah

Founder

Hit - Ford Focus RS. This car brought me true feelings of joy and happiness. When I was going flat-out and sideways on a race track in Portugal in one of these at the beginning of the year, I had the world's biggest shit-eating grin on my face.  It was epic. It was like being a child again. Smoke was coming out of every side and I felt like cars were fun again. I felt like Ford was giving a big 'F.U.' salute to all the nanny-state-loving do gooders. It was putting fun back into motoring.

I cherish that memory and go back to it whenever I'm in a toyota hybrid and begin to have suicidal thoughts. I thought that perhaps I had over estimated how good the car was, till I drove the car again in Brisbane and nope, it's bloody good. It's the best car of 2016 for me, without a doubt.

Miss - Lexus RC F. How do you make a naturally aspirated 5.0 V8 sound like a poorly built elevator? You hand it over to Lexus. Here is a car that if you happen to lean on in the wrong way, it's a trip to the ER ward. Its Samurai sword edges can be forgiven - but its lack of soul, its lack of any form of character and that awful infotainment mouse controller that makes Jason Statham feel like Michael J Fox, cannot.

Surprise - Jaguar F-Pace. What idiot would buy a Jaguar SUV? Why not just a Range Rover sport? Why not a discovery? Jaguar isn't meant to make SUVs, it's stupid. No one will buy one.

...I may have been wrong. And the best way to admit you're wrong is to own up, and buy one. So I did.

Disappointment - Mitsubishi. What the hell? Does this company still invest in new cars? Because you would've fooled me. I went to Japan a few years ago where the folks at Mitsubishi took me to their R&D centre to show off all the future products. Here we saw everything that the company had up its sleeve (under strict confidence) for the next few years and it was frightening. It was nothing. No new Lancer. No new Evo. No new technologies.

The current lancer is now older than Anthony Crawford and it looks prehistoric inside. Actually, the Lancer as we see it today was unveiled in its near-production form back in 2005. In two thousand and freaking five! Facebook was one-year-old back then and Blackberry was still a thing. Well, the world has moved on and has left Mitsubishi behind. Here's hoping Carlos Ghosn's hair can restore some dignity to the once proud Japanese brand.


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Mandy Turner

Audio Editor and Podcast Producer

Hit - Honda CivicAfter slow sales, what a bounce-back from Honda, with the bigger and better Civic. It was the second-best-selling car in its segment in November, and for good reason. From $18,490, the styling has got a lot of people talking. In fact, it felt like it was the centre of one of the most asked questions on the radio shows we do: "what's the new Honda Civic like?" I just don't get sick of seeing these on the road. 

Miss - Great Wall SteedI asked to drive this home one night, because I wanted to experience driving a Great Wall for the first time. I don't know what I was thinking. Even though it was a manual, where I could rev it out to get as much power as possible, it still wasn't enough for the 2.0-litre diesel engine. Sometimes it would've gone quicker if I got out to push it up the hill, with most times having to slip it into 3rd or even worse, 2nd! For $29,990, it is affordable for a dual-cab ute, but remember, you get what you pay for. 

Surprise - Mysterious SUVSomething that got the entire CarAdvice office stumped this year, was when we received photos of a mysterious black and white camouflaged SUV. Some thought it was a Lamborghini Urus or even a Mitsubishi Triton, but we all replied with, "whaaaaa?" when it was confirmed to be the Volkswagen Amarok V6. Spotted in the Hunter Valley in the dirt, it was designed to feature in a new marketing campaign for Volkswagen.   

Disappointment - Toyota FortunerWhen the Fortuner was put against the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport in a comparison, it didn't really live up to our expectations. For a 4x4, it crashed over bumps, and even had wheel spin in rear-wheel-drive. It was $3000 more than the Pajero, and doesn't even have leather seats or satellite navigation, and lacks in a lot of safety features. I was expecting a bit more towing capacity than 2800-kilograms too. 


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David Zalstein

Journalist

Hit - Toyota 86 T86RS. For a guy who already digs the standard Toyota 86, the stripped-out, caged-up, Toyota 86 Racing Series version of Toyota’s popular rear-drive sports car is a super little beast. I got the chance to slide my arse into this thing while attending and covering the 2016 Toyota Festival of 86 in Canberra, and I certainly won’t forget the experience in a hurry.

Great noise, razor-sharp steering, sharp and playful handling, and excellent brakes and throttle response – the only thing missing is a number plate, as this is a car I would happily daily.

Miss - BMW M2 Pure. Sigh. Such a shame. Such a very big shame. I know trillions of people around the world love and swear by the most-hyped car of 2016, but for me, as good as the 2016 BMW M2 Pure is, it’s my biggest miss. Why?

I want Alcantara on the shifter itself, not just on the shift boot. I want better, more supportive, and more aggressive bucket seats, not the plain-looking average items you get as standard. I want proper, tangible feedback and feel from my car’s steering, and the M2 falls short. And lastly, I don’t want my manual sports car to auto-blip the throttle for me – ever. Just don’t! Let me drive! Damn it, you could’ve been great M2, but for this chap at least, you ain’t.

SurpriseHSV Clubsport R8 Track Edition . Wow. Wow. Wow. No car built in Australia offering comfortable seating capacity (and luggage capacity, for that matter) for five adults, and costing less than $75,000 has any right to be as fun, dynamic, and downright impressive as the 2016 HSV Clubsport R8 Track Edition.

A proper, naturally-aspirated V8 engine note, quality steering, sublime brakes, and far more grip than you’d ever expect from a ‘Stralian muscle car, and I drove it in pissing rain around the notoriously slippery Sandown Raceway. A total smile machine.

Disappointment - Ford Focus RS. Yeah, no, you read that right. The most disappointing car I drove in 2016 was the 2016 Ford Focus RS. Laugh and ridicule if you like, but it’s the truth.

As a huge fan of the previous second-generation Focus RS – the Green Meanie – I could not have been more psyched to drive the latest, fastest, and more-mental version of this phenomenal and iconic vehicle. Now all-wheel drive and powered by a 2.3-litre turbo-four, instead of the old front-wheel-drive RS’s 2.5-litre turbo-five-pot, the new Focus RS is quick in a straight line, and ballistic around a racetrack or through a smooth stretch of mountain roads. But, and it’s a big but, it’s simply nowhere near as characterful or interesting or engaging or boy-racer as it should be.

To date, Mini still holds the crown for the best sports mode of any volume manufacturer. Jump in a Cooper S or a John Cooper Works, flick it into Sport mode – for ‘maximum go-kart feel’ – and you get a metric shit-tonne of pops and farts and noise. And it’s excellent. Don’t believe me? Steal a Mini Cooper S Carbon Edition – with its variable sports exhaust system – select ‘Sport’ mode, engage the exhaust’s ‘Track Only’ setting, and go for a drive – a ‘fun drive’ – and then tell me the Focus RS is raucous enough.

I’m by no means saying a tarted-up Cooper S Mini can take it to a Focus RS, no way, but this Ford should be mental. Properly mental. It should pop and bang and make turbo noises and throw you back in your seat and be angry and make you never, ever, want to stop driving it. And the 2016 Ford Focus isn’t that car. Not by a long shot. Not for me, anyway.


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Mike Costello

Senior Editor

HitHonda Civic sedan. I had a number of brilliant motoring experiences in 2016, including time in the anachronistic BMW M140i (a rear-drive, six-cylinder, manual hatch in the modern era is extraordinary), the almost perfect Audi A4 1.4 TFSI, the monstrous 450kW Mercedes-AMG E63 S, and proper mud-slinging in the re-jigged 70 Series Toyota LandCruiser.

But it was the 2016 Honda Civic sedan that impressed me most, because it’s such a well-sorted return to form for a brand that went from hero to zero in the blink of an eye during the mid-2000s. And moreover, it’s a car that can be bought by most anyone, starting as it does at $25,000.

It’s a hit because its abilities were quite unexpected. Benchmark ride, dart-like steering, German-style cabin ambience, and excellent cabin practicality are some of the Civic’s hallmarks. Only the base 1.8 engine lets the team down, and we hope Honda makes the higher-grade 1.5-litre turbo a cheap proposition.

MissSubaru Levorg GT. The Subaru Levorg GT isn’t a bad car. After all, this Japanese wagon is practical, well-made, has grippy AWD and is fairly quick in a straight line. But it’s still a miss.

The company insists that it shouldn’t be considered a WRX wagon, but like it or lump it, that’s the role it should have played. Instead, we get a wagon with an easily unsettled suspension setup, a middling CVT, a character-less engine and a steep price.

This car left me cold. I wanted a WRX wagon, a ballsy and characterful load-lugger with flair and fire, flares and scoops and an angry snarl. Instead, I got a pseudo-premium touring wagon that is generally inferior to the Skoda Octavia RS. With a silly name.

SurpriseIsuzu and Mazda announce alliance. There were many automotive alliances that were announced or expanded this year, with the headline act being Nissan’s significant purchase into Mitsubishi Motors.

But Mazda parting ways with Ford to team up with Isuzu for the next BT-50/D-Max is a surprise, and potentially a great one, provided each plays to its strengths. It has all the makings of a truly symbiotic relationship, if each company plays to its core strengths. Sure, the current BT-50 is good because it shares much with the Ford Ranger. But the current car has fallen behind its more-updated Ford twin-under-the-skin, due to Mazda’s meagre purse. It’s still ugly, too, though Mazda has since admitted it erred here.

If the new Isuzu-based BT-50 can incorporate Isuzu’s famous reliability — the D-Max is nigh-unstoppable thanks to its de-stressed truck engine — and Isuzu can pinch Mazda’s swish cabin infotainment and materials, we have a match made in commercial vehicle heaven.

DisappointmentNT open speed limits removed. In August this year, the newly-elected Northern Territory government vowed to get rid of the open speed limits on sections of the Stuart Highway.

In November, the opposition essentially ceded defeat, meaning the incredibly remote unlimited-speed 350km/h stretch between Alice Springs and Ali Curing would become 130km/h. This will make lobby groups and a lot of punters happy, but evidence that the road toll was hurt by high speeds is scarce. Of the 11 crashes that occurred during the 2014 year long trial period on stretches of the Stuart Hwy, there were no fatalities. And of the one serious injury reported, alcohol and not wearing a seatbelt were factors.

Given Australia’s road toll is climbing in states with stringent speed regulations, and given it’s proportionally worse than Germany despite that country’s broad swathes of mega-speed motorways, we suggest a solution may be found elsewhere. It’s nannying.


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Curt Dupriez

Comparisons Editor

Hit - Volvo. I’d suspected that the quantum leap of reinvention of Volvo in 2015’s XC90 might’ve been a leading light of change in a highly crucial segment that the Swedes mightn’t sustain moving forward. Then the S90 arrived this year, impressing me enough that I’m more excited about any future product from Volvo than I am any model from any other carmaker.  

The styling mightn’t be to everyone’s tastes, the cabin design mightn’t hold universal appeal, and it’s not a flawless execution, but the S90, like the XC90, is pushing all the right buttons in the crucial areas Old Volvo needed to change.

I wasn’t the only observer wowed by its sleek, tough, modernist looks – I lost count of the number of punters whose jaws dropped the moment they first laid eyes on an S90 present for punter laps at the recent Motorworld Sydney event.

The palatial interior, the almost ‘art deco’ stylisms, the new-school minimalism with the occupant interface, the material richness… the once-dowdy and passé Volvo is becoming the trendsetter and making premium German rivals look formulaic and unimaginative.

Then there’s character and driver engagement, hardly touchstones of recent-era Volvo. Not long ago, I drove the S90 against two established premium large-car stalwarts – watch this space – and the newcomer was clearly the most passion-filled offering, be it soundtrack, dynamics and just plain King of High Street feel-good factor.    

For its injection of excitement, deflection of convention and sheer surprise factor, New Volvo was my hit of 2016. And I’m expecting more to come in 2017…

MissFord Falcon FG X XR8 Sprint. What? Too soon…?

A couple of months back, before Broadmeadow’s assembly lines fell silent, I borrowed a manual XR8 Sprint and manual Mustang GT for a few days. The intention? A part swansong, part changing-of-the-guard piece on Ford Australia’s muscle car providence. I’d spend the last decade or so panning Ford’s/FPV’s habitually over-powered, under-achieving ‘performance’ cars and, caught up in lament of Australia’s carmaking wind-up, I’d hoped the last-in-line XR8 Sprint could finally sway my negativity about go-fast Falcons.

After a full day and hundreds of kays back-to-back against Mustang GT – the kind of drive I’d hoped some stillborn, next-generation Falcon could be – any hope of rose-tinged closure was false.

My notebook reads: “…Doughy throttle response. No linearity. Strange surging on overrun. Dead clutch feel. Clunky, archaic gearbox. Overshot gear ratios. Easy to stall. Knife-edged when launching. Horrendous axle tramping. Marginal traction. Dull, inaccurate steering. Heavy. Uncommunicative. Ponderous front end. Tail-happy rear end. No balance. Lead-tipped missile. Punishing ride. Worst driving position ever. Taxi steering wheel…”

And on it went. For pages. Looking down at my notes, and given the timing of the story, I didn’t have the heart to stick two Blundstones into the last Falcon. Equally, I wasn’t going to lie or sugar coat my opinions. So I shelved the story indefinitely.

Save the witch-hunt. I’m no Falcon hater. I’ve reviewed every warmed-over Falcon since 1990s Tickford stuff. There have been gems – recent-era non-turbo XR6s are ‘in balance’, enjoyable punts even around a race track if you’re not hard on the anemic brakes. But the more output you throw at recent Falcons, the worse they are to drive, and the more Band-Aid-ing is required attempting to amend irremediable shortcomings.

In a decade’s time, when these blown V8 ‘classics’ are wrapped in cotton wool and commanding stupid prices, and my young son is old enough to care, I’ll look him straight in the eye and tell him how average they were and will remain to be.   

Surprise - How fun some light/micro/city cars have become. It took the five-way ‘first car’ comparison this year – specifically, tooling around Sydney for a week in Holden’s Spark and Kia’s Picanto – to appreciate how much perverse fun ‘your little sister’s car’ can actually be.

It was quite the revelation. Both the Holden and Kia steer fantastically well, have great chassis, have decent pace if you wring their necks and are small and nimble enough in stature to slice and dice the urban landscape like a Senna qualifier. All without risking your licence. I can’t remember having more fun during the Sydney work commute.

That they’re as cheap as chips, run on the whiff of petrol and can be parked where most lumbering SUVs and dual-cab 4x4 utes wouldn’t dream of makes them downright sensible as well.

DisappointmentAussie car-making closure. That Australia is ceasing car manufacturing in a world where the MG3 survives is impossibly sad.


So there you have it.

It's any wonder we aren't at each others throats all the time with such diverse views!

And yes - that header image shows every car review this year. See it in full, here.

What were your hits and misses? Lets us know in the comments below!