The CarAdvice Winners Circle 2018: Our personal faves

welcome to the inaugural car boss
winner’s circle it will assemble some of the most interesting exciting in some
cases most practical cars think about winner’s circle is our nod to motoring
highlights that have been released this year in Australia deserving of an award
except some car awards can be a little bit ho-hum failing to ignite the kind of
passion and excitement deserving of the field of cars we have here and some of
the more cynical might even think that some car awards are a marketing ploy
what do you want well we ask you and it’s not conventional reward systems so
instead of handing out an award for every car category if it count advice
you’ve taken a more straightforward approach and that is to get our tune of
experienced journalists together for one very simple assignment that’s to deliver
a favorite car but not just one car 12 journals and one CEO will present 13 of
our favorites that ignited passion and ownership desire in each member of the
crew these are cars that we would personally spend our hard-earned cash on
and there’s so much variety here from small to sports cars to an SUV for some
truly exotic supercars welcome to the car advice winner’s
circle 2018 mic pick as my favorite car of 2018 is
this because of the way that it looks have a look at things stripes old
fantastic red on white is sensational just kidding no it’s my pick because
it’s rear-wheel drive and it has a v10 this is the Audi r8 RWS okay let’s put
this to the side for a second at its v10 and an Audi supercar the reason this
thing is so special is that it’s our T’s first-ever rear-wheel drive car and that
makes it super special plus the fact that they’re only making at 999 of these
globally so it is going to be one rare beast it’s just like a regular car on
weekdays and then a super car on weekends you get this awesome looking
out interior really well-built ahead of the driver is virtual cockpit and then
when you want to turn it up a notch the drive selection button is right
there you don’t need a degree to make this thing go loud being rear-wheel
drive all you need to do is hold this button here down switch stability
control off then you can have some fun I have figured out the one downside to
this car and that it’s virtual cockpit it is great for then when your passenger
decides to change the radio station or any other functions of the car it all
appears ahead of you and it can get really distracting there’s why the Audi
alright OWS is my pick for 2018 it is the best car
I’ve driven this year and I can it could be the best car I’ve ever driven noise
power v10 rear-wheel drive what else more could you possibly want probably
doesn’t surprise me that Paul picked the RA WS there it’s it’s just like a normal
are right but comes with less now in all honesty though it’s it is a good choice
it may miss the front traction of a regular RA but it’s a heap of fun once
you get it down on the road so the choice this is the BMW i3 S I drove it
earlier this year was in April actually to find out if you can go a full week of
commuting on a single charge spoiler alert
you can I love the BMW has beaten its own path with this car its innovative in
the way it’s built it’s got a carbon fiber chassis and the interior perfectly
blends modern design if those BMW fundamentals we know and love it’s like
a concept car but you can drive it on the road it’s not a conventional BMW
experience but the i3 S is great fun to drive you sit up really high with great
visibility and with all that electric torque on tap you can just wheeze in and
out of traffic plus the regenerative braking means you
can drive with one pedal pretty much all the time the interior of the BMW i3 is just a
brilliant place to spend time all the materials are ethically sourced and it’s
kind of unlike any other BMW in there with lots of light and lots of space
also check out these suicide tours unfortunately all these futuristic
goodness does not come cheap in fact the i3 s is far more expensive
than any city car has the right to be with a starting price of $69.99 t as a
pure electric vehicle that’s just too much for what is a cramped compromised
compact vehicle but I kind of don’t care we talk a lot about fit for purpose here
at car advice and the i3 is absolutely males its brief it’s the perfect
runabout for well-heeled urbanites and it offers a tantalizing taste of what’s
to come and electric cars of the norm the i3 it’s an interesting one the one
that we have here is it looks cool cuz it’s dark and looks edgy but I’m still
not really sold on the whole electric kind of thing yet and apparently you can
get a proper 200 k’s of range out of it but 70,000 bucks it’s not very big it’s
a lot of money for that car so I’ve chosen the 2018 Mustang v8 GT
and auto guys there’s a backstory for this never been a muscle car fanboy
in 2016 we had a long-term canary yellow Mustang and I loved that car more than
any long-term we had that year every time I got in it put a smile on my doll
when the 2018 came out addressing some of the concerns that I had about it I
was excited to get behind the wheel again I initially chose the Mustang because I
know my team well enough to know that least half of them would pit cars of
more than quarter a million dollars and above more seriously I chose it because
it’s not the fastest car going around or the necessary of the most dynamic but
what it is is a car that oozes Street appeal and is good old fashioned
rear-wheel drive giggles or wrapped up in that muscular naturally aspirated v8
and the best bit about it it delivers loads of go for your day one
of the key highlights for me of the new 2018 Mustang is that finally it’s been
fitted with a bimodal exhaust that makes this bad boy sound like the previous
generation one should from the get-go glorious old-school naturally aspirated
v8 mumbo means you can drive all day like this or like this and the best bit as long as you’ve
dropped the cash to splash on rear tires you can do this one of the negatives you do have to come
to terms with as a parent is the less than ideal and cut rating for the
Mustang that said I put my three and a half year old on the back and he loves
it I also put safety conscious adults that annoy me in the back such as Palmer prior to driving one I’d never lusted
over a Mustang now I’m a full convert and if I had the garage space I’d buy
this car today I reckon this is the best value sports
car for sale in Australia today the Mustang thankfully we’re looking at
the back because I don’t love the facelift but it is now the most amazing
sounding thing and I really don’t think for bang for buck that there’s better
value on the road right now Mustang Beach chose the Mustang are you
serious I thought he was more refined than that must be his idea of a joke he
probably only did it to piss off Marik as part of our hot hatch mega test
earlier this year I got to spend a lot of time behind the wheel of the i30 n
driving it on some pretty spectacular roads the mega test process revealed
that the hyundai may not be the quickest hot hatch you can buy but it makes up
for that by being bucket loads of fun a big part of that fun factor is the noise
this thing makes check this out stick it in end mode give it some revs
that’s raucous radish and completely addictive a hot hatch can’t just sound
good though while it wasn’t the quickest around a race track the i30 end is alive
with feedback it’s got beautifully balanced steering a
well tuned ride and a logic-defying ability to get power to the ground
via its limited slip diff some hot hatch devotees will bemoan the lack of
heritage while others won’t embrace the garden-variety interior presentation but
as a starting point it feels like Honda is really over-delivered with this one
it’s lively energetic and affordable three key criteria that rival hot
hatches often miss so here it is my favorite drive of 2018
the McLaren Center sadly none of the rest of the crew will be able to drive
it today because today is actually two months ago
and the crews camped up in Victoria whereas I’m in Budapest in Hungary
tough luck guys so sad just to twist the space-time continuum a little harder I
didn’t actually drive it today ila but two months ago in Portugal it’s like the
Where’s Wally of supercars so given that I’ve cheated just a little I’ve had to
come up with another choice for my car of 2018 but my other pit for 2018 is the
Mercedes AMG c63 or g-wagen which are used to crush much of the French
Mediterranean landscape at its international launch back in June sure
it wasn’t the smartest the quickest or the most sensible thing I drove all year
but in over 20 years of journalism I can’t ever remember laughing so much at
the Lords of the car loaded up on the brakes and nine hundred you mean sort of
cocks the nose into the air and it launches towards the horizon with a
ludicrous amount of fanfare anyway the soundtrack that feels like
you’ve been pinned to the PA system of an ac/dc concert it’s hilarious when you
stick it into a corner because it’s like some sort of high performance apartment
block where you’re steering it from the third floor land room window look I know it’s any social it’s
thirstier than an Airbus a380 and somewhere that baby dolphin is choking
on a rainbow but for me the g63 was the largest swig of antidote to murdering
mediocrity of 2018 when I first heard that Kurt chose the
MJ j63 was he on everyone rags on the g-wagen
but I think it’s super cool like just look at it it’s bold its brash and a
super gangster so I’m a big fan here I have the Toyota Corolla Hybrid in
top-spec zr trim I drove the hybrid shortly after the local launch in August
while it’s a little compromise in terms of practicality for both passengers and
luggage I was immediately impressed with how well the Corolla drives its long
distance comfort and real-world fuel efficiency the exterior and the interior
of this Corolla particularly the top shell seda is visually exciting
something that’s not normally associated with the Corolla nameplate these racing
style bucket seats are as comfortable as they are sexy and the overall feeling of
quality in the interior is top-notch while it’s not as fast or as thrilling
to drive as some of the other cars here the Corolla offers seamless transitions
between petrol electric and hybrid driving which is a refreshing point of
difference compared to its largely combustion-powered competitor set it’s
also really nice to glide along at low speed traffic without any engine noise
notice I feel savings as well it really is a shame that there isn’t a whole lot
of room for people back here nor a lot of space for luggage in the back in
saying that people aren’t really buying Corollas as family haulers and if you
fold down the second row seats the luggage area is actually quite
accommodating you win some you lose some I guess I don’t think there’s ever been
a time in my life where it’s been cool to drive a Corolla but this new
generation hybrid is genuinely a top contender in the small car segment I
love it so Jay waves pic of the Corolla it’s
brilliant it’s been doing fuel economy of about three point three I actually
don’t like how it looks it’s an improvement I’m not sure it’s gonna age
well apart from that really cool car I was really not expecting to like the
Corolla because it’s a Corolla but it’s actually fantastic that hybrid system is
awesome it looks good on the outside and the interior is really quite nice it’s
the antique Corolla it’s crazy I picked the Porsche 991 point2 gt3
manual because there’s a lot of people might know I love my Porsches having
owned a classic 911 I’ve always wanted to know whether the new one still had
that Porsche pedigree and I wasn’t disappointed when qez Casey and I were
driving the new one one day I said to him I think I’m in love and then you stand back and look at its
iconic design it really does deserve to be hung on the wall alongside the Mona
Lisa just look at it sure you can pretty much buy a house with the same amount of
money but can you drive a house yeah I thought not you know what they say if it
ain’t broke don’t fix it and Porsche is stuck with the same jeans for around 50
years and I don’t ever want it to change okay Mandy our resident Porsche file has
predictably peaked the Porsche 911 gt3 is her winner’s circle car Adia frankly
I’m in love with as well although I have to say at its exorbitant price tag for
me bass career manual with the way I’d go so Mandy’s chosen the Porsche 911 gt3
and given how good she is behind the wheel I’m not surprised she’s gone for
such an overt drivers car here’s a pretty sound argument to make that the
gt3 is the absolute pinnacle of German automotive engineering and anyone who
loves cars loves Porsches so great choice this is quite easily one of the most
talked-about vehicles of 2018 is the Ford Ranger Raptor and now it’s released
people are still talking about it people seem to love this 4-wheel Drive the Ford Ranger Raptor is my car of the
year because I think this represents the big next step in the evolution of the
Australian 4-wheel Drive this isn’t just another crappy sticker pack special
edition this is a serious upgrade to the Ranger with some awesome engineering
under the body there are Fox Racing shops at each corner
they’ve got internal floating Pistons internal bypassing and they’re turned
really nicely to this car and one of the best things there isn’t a leaf pack or a
drum brake in sight and that is magic that means this Raptor has more traction
more ground clearance more capability and more durability offroad this thing
will tackle harder tracks than other four drive Utes and will also do it a
lot faster all right elephant in the room that’s a
2 liter Biturbo under the bonnet which is the same as another ford ranger so no
power upgrades for this model the general consensus is that this thing is
a bit underpowered especially on the highways and I agree 100%
this thing could use a lot more engine under that bonnet no new vehicle is
judged on this engine alone and this Ranger Raptor the complete package is
much more capable than your average for Drive plus it’ll put a massive grin on
your face when you’re driving it the Ford Ranger Raptor it’s about as
close as you can get to a monster truck ready to roll out the showrooms small
wonder then that Sam’s chosen it I think he’s the smartest guy here because that
was my second choice after the r8 iws why have a look at it it is beasty it
does jumps it does all the cool things yes the only downside though is that it
has a 2-liter engine only milk comes in two litres my pick of 2018 is the 595
our bath and iconic retro diminutive Italian hatch that I use to good effect
poncing around the inner city in sydney pretending that I’m in Milan Rome or
Naples but I’m not so I don’t look anywhere near as good fit for purpose
it’s a term that we bandy around a lot here at car advice and let me tell you
the R Bar 595 ticks every single box a potential owner could want it’s like
burning around town in a little go-kart and each time you drive it it puts a
smile on your face the styling need i say anymore have a
look at it aside from the Mustang it’s probably the best and most successful
retro take on a classic design of all time the Fiat 500 was brilliant then and
it’s brilliant now a masterpiece of iconic design and clever packaging just like any Italian car any Italian
thoroughbred the real enjoyment comes from driving the r-bar put some dodgy
Italian pop music on the otherwise average audio system and the quite
frankly silly exhaust note which we love will drown out the lyrics that you don’t
understand anyway because you’re pretending to be Italian generally
you’re not actually Italian the ride on this revised model is vastly improved
over the old one and the steering that’s pin sharp – the driving position
is awful and you feel like The Hunchback of Nitra Dom trying to get your eyeline
low enough to see the way ahead but who cares when your car has this much street
cred you’re any kind of self-respecting
Italian car owner coffee is an absolute must
fortunately for instances when there’s no parking at your favorite cafe as I
discovered today I carry a 12 volt espresso machine with me at all times well there you have it the Abarth 595
proves that in a world of motoring mediocrity certainly in a styling sense
that iconic Italian fashion never goes out of style the Trent Mario Nicollet likes to call
himself Italian is picked of course the Arbour five nine five well one of my
favorite cars too in fact it’s the most fun you can have in a small package
manual transmission only right that’s the only one you should have I think
it’s a bit of a pocket rocket first I leave it the ergonomics is just an
absolute mess inside but it goes pretty good there are more than a few cars I
could name here like the 911 T the i30 N and even the all-new McGann RS all
cracking drives but for me it’s a bit of a left of field choice in the Lexus GS F
high performance sedan that literally destroyed the heart Coney skyline in
Japan early this year that’s by the way is one of the world’s most thrilling
stretches of road and this thing honkin and I’ve been infatuated with the hypo
Lexus ever since driving in her armor in Spain in 2015 well before its
international launch it’s one of those cars you can put a lot of trust into
even driving it at ten tenths it won’t bite just grips up and goes while making
such a good noise for that five liter naturally aspirated v8 no turbos no
superchargers now hybrid drives just pure unadulterated v8 music on the heart coney the GSF was epic
catching world-class super bikes seemingly within minutes and the guy was
going through corners with these knees on the floor it’s so well-balanced with
superb responses and steering feedback and the brakes will they prove faultless
even after countless applications and that’s pushing the brake pedal to the
freakin firewall the grip and traction from a rear drive car are off the clock
for a family-size sedan operating at warp speed through an endless succession
of bends that can be taken almost flat in most cases it simply has to be seen
to be believed like the m5 competition in these 63s the
GSF is shamefully underpowered and downright slow if you compare the
numbers but on a twisty road like the heart Coney skyline it’s probably going
to be quicker given the confidence it feeds back to the driver and this may be
one of the last naturally aspirated v8 powered rear drive cars ever unless
you’ve driven a GS F with the leash all the way off you’re never going to know
just how capable this thing is but if you do then I guarantee you’re gonna be
overjoyed by the experience it’s also pretty good daily to sleep because I sound pretty good from the
outside that TSM fit your inside so Tony chose the GSF let me get this straight
so I’ve got a large forward or elderly gentleman’s sedan two words bowling club
call me boring if you must but the hyunbae SantaFe Highlander impressed me
so much during a seven-seater SUV test I wrote earlier this year okay it’s not as
cool as a hot hatch or a supercar even but we can’t forget to focus on everyday
cars for everyday people look obviously the Santa Fe isn’t the most cutting-edge
car here but I love the way that he and a has made a real effort with the
interior design there’s lots of premium materials and it’s all quite interesting
the different shapes and textures that he used throughout I also really like
the suspension chain which has been specifically calibrated for Australian
roads by Australian engineers the companies also pack this car full of the
latest active safety tech the premium materials and design used in the cabin
take the Santa Fe into a higher echelon from the quilted leather seats quality
chrome or wood accents depending on your choice padded headlining Jaguar style
wraparound cowl Bend style wavy speaker covers and more its form and function
look the Santa Fe isn’t perfect for instance that petrol engine option is
about as inspiring as 1990s office furniture and the side head protecting
airbags don’t entirely cover occupants in the occasional use third seating room
I like the way to Santa Fe drives the 2.2 liter diesel is more refined than it
was before and the suspension seems really suitable for this kind of car
it’s soft and comfortable and compliant but the body control through corners is
also really good the company’s also fitted this top spec model with all the
latest active safety tech from Park Assist ie bail anuses
blind-spot monitoring and radar-guided cruise control look there are enough
ridiculous sex machines and pieces of eye candy here to last a lifetime the
Santa Fe delivers a premium family SUV experience for regular people and I
really think that’s equally worthy of celebration I think it speaks a lot to
the practical nature of my Costello that he picked the Hyundai Santa Fe it’s you
know seven seat family car perfection almost it’s been a bit of time with it
doing a seven seat SUV mega test and that car really shot
so excellent choice the Santa Fe I get it it’s an impressive
car but winner’s circle a seven seat Korean SUV I mean really that’s more at
home in a Woolworths car park than it is here… Anybody that knows me, knows that
I’m a wagon man – so it should be no surprise that my pick of 2018 is the
Audi RS4 Avant, which launched into Australia back in May, some two years
after the wider A4 family – and my family! The new model is powered by a 331 kilowatt 600 Newton meter 2.9 litre V6 and while it’s not a V8 anymore, it is provided
by Porsche. You’ll pay just over 150 grand for this
thing before on road costs, so it’s not cheap – but in my view it’s worth every
penny That famed Audi attention to detail is
clear everywhere in the cabin with quilted seats, contrast stitching, carbon
fibre everywhere, and just the right amount of silver highlights. It’s a family hauler that truly hauls
arse, in a straight line and in corners alike and it does it in all conditions.
No other luxury wagon outside the Audi stable can claim that in quite so angry
a fashion, and it earns my never-ending respect There’s no denying the A4 family is
just about due for an update, with infotainment and some tech now feeling
notably behind the newer models that Audi has been rolling out in 2018, but
ultimately you won’t buy it for the infotainment – you’ll buy it for the looks,
for the power, for the practicality, and yes, even for the sound of that ‘not a V8’
twin-turbo V6. RS4, that was my second pick of 2018.
I just love its practicality and its performance. Good choice Stevo. V6 twin
turbo who cares this is my pick of 2018 the Alpine a110 and it completely
captivated me in the South of France at the end of last year aside from its
nostalgic styling that harks back to the original the Alpine was easily the
funnest car I drove all year lightweight fast agile and oh so engaging and it
looks really cool too it’s absolute key highlight is a tan
link it’s got double wishbones all around that just keep you planted to the
road and the steering it’s so precise and razor-sharp you never left any doubt
what the car is doing underneath you it’s like a little dance with the devil having that 1.8 liter turbo for just
behind your head its glorious let me tell you that pops
the crackles it’s it’s like a chorus of drunken angels singing just behind your
ears it’s intoxicating but don’t think you’re gonna take too much stuff with
you on the road storage options both in the cabin and in this boot is pretty
laughable there is a Frank at the front but it’s pretty shallow but really who
cares about storage when you can have this much fun in a car it’s light it’s
fast it’s agile and it’s equally at home on the road or the track it’s the Pick
of 2018 for me no question alpine it’s the brand of a stereo but I know because
French itself pane organ this car is fairly ugly it’s one of the uglier
releases of this year but I’m hoping it drives better than it looks when I
finally have a chance to get behind the wheel it’s always a bit of a giveaway
when one of our journalists comes back from an international launch and can’t
stop talking about a car for a month after so it was with Rob after he went
to the recently reborn Alpine brand launch of the a 110 frankly I want one
too we hope you liked our somewhat personal and subjective cars that moved
us in 2018 we haven’t scored them we haven’t rated them we’ll put our
hearts and souls on the table here we believe we’ll look back on these cars in
future and there will be the highlights of this era do you agree with our
choices let us know what your favorites are you