Electric shocks as Wheels Car of the Year finalists announced

Wheels Car of the Year 2012, 2013, finalists, magazine, Honda Civic Hatch, Mercedes ML-Class, Holden Volt, Audi Q3, BMW 3 Series, Opel Astra, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai i30, VW Up, Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86

There are more shocks than you'd get from licking a police Taser in the list of this year's finalists for the prestigious Wheels Car of the Year award.

Some of the biggest names in motoring – including Porsche, which launched a new 911 and a new Boxster this year but declined to enter them in the contest – have missed out on the final shortlist of 10 cars.

The Toyota Prius, Mercedes-Benz B Class and Lexus GS also failed to make the final cut.

The top-10 list of finalists has been selected from 27 eligible cars and is published in the December issue of Wheels magazine, on sale today.

Perhaps the biggest shock inclusion is Holden's radical new hybrid/range extender Volt, which has both a plug-in electric motor and a petrol engine, which never directly drives the wheels and is used only to recharge the electric batteries.

This means the Volt can be used as an electric-only zero-emissions car for city driving, but can also drive from Sydney to Melbourne, using good old petrol, if required. The judges were impressed with its level of technical innovation.

The 2012 finalists are the Honda Civic Hatch, Mercedes ML-Class, Holden Volt, Audi Q3, BMW 3 Series, Opel Astra, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai i30, VW Up, Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 (mechanically identical, so treated as one car).

The finalists will be judged on functionality, technology, efficiency, safety and value, with the winner to be unveiled on December 17.

"We've pared back the field to focus on the cream of the crop, and hopefully one of these will rise to the top," Wheels editor Stephen Corby said.

Who do you think deserves to win the 2017 COTY title? Cast your vote for a chance to win $1,000.

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