Car of the Year: Highs & Lows

Wheels COTY Judges 2014

Now in its 52nd year, the Wheels Car of the Year award has had its share of highs and lows. We shine the spotlight on this month's hot topic.


0 - The number of scheduled dinners that anyone at COTY 2014 turned up to on time. In the case of the shooters and film crew, they barely made it before closing time.

217 - Shots of coffee consumed over seven days at COTY 2014. That equates to 31 a day, much of which was by caffeine fancier, and serious addict, John Carey.

$14,990 - The price of the cheapest COTY 2014 entrant, the Honda Jazz. The most expensive was the Mercedes S-Class, topping $400K in S65 AMG guise.

$3,798,457 - The total value of the entire 2014 COTY field, including each and every derivative provided by the manufacturer for testing.

14/14 - Highest possible safety score, achieved by no fewer than six different Mercedes-Benz models. Not surprisingly, the S-Class achieved top points, but so did the smaller C-Class.

$70K - Average price of COTY's 2014 field


Mazda MX-5 wins, despite lacking ESC. Wrap party hosted by MX-5’s Bose stereo – blasted, top down, in motel carpark.


Centre-rear lap-sash belt becomes mandatory for eligibility. Holden quickly rectifies Barina’s seatbelt status and wins.


Toyota ends the 80s on a high as the Lexus LS400 scoops the pool, with the ‘egg’ Tarago finishing runner-up.


Mitsubishi does a COTY double with Nimbus (’84) and Magna (’85). TV ads proclaim “Car maker of the year. Again.”


COTY’s first joint winners – the front-drive Mazda 626 and its Ford Telstar twin. The Ford was styled in Broadmeadows


Imported cars are eligible for the first time, though the title is taken out by the locally
assembled VW Golf Mk1.


Robbo’s first year as COTY judge, crowning the VH Valiant Charger. The following
year, he withheld the award.


Ford becomes the first car-maker to take out successive awards – in ’65 for the XP Falcon and ’66 for the XR.


The first front-wheel-drive car to win the award is the Morris 1100. Renault’s 12 followed in 1970.

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