The Mazda6 Touring was named Best Medium Car under $50,000 in Australia's Best Cars awards.
The Mazda6 Touring was named Best Medium Car under $50,000 in Australia's Best Cars awards. Contributed

The cars left out of Australia's Best Cars awards

MAZDA'S medium-sized sedan has claimed bragging rights in today's controversial 2016 Australia's Best Cars awards.

While the Mazda6 secured two of 16 gongs in the annual competition which this year saw 165 vehicles tested, it was the no-shows which overshadowed the result.

The field did not contain any vehicles from Volkswagen Group - which includes VW, Audi and Skoda. Had they been included, the nine judges would have evaluated nearly 200 cars.

All three brands were excluded in the 2015 awards following the "dieselgate" scandal where certain overseas models cheated diesel emissions tests. About 90,000 Volkswagen and Skoda cars and 16,000 Audi cars were recalled in Australia to modify their emissions software.

Concerned the Australian Automobile Association had become "hostile" to its brands, Volkswagen Australia, along with Audi and Skoda, declined to provide vehicles for testing.

"We do not consider that this program has sufficient merit to participate," a Volkswagen Group Australia spokesman said.

Volkswagen and Audi dominated the awards in 2014, winning five out of 16 categories.

Brands from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia also chose not to take part, which included Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Abarth.

The Ford Ranger XLT won best dual-cab honours at Australia's Best Cars awards.
The Ford Ranger XLT won best dual-cab honours at Australia's Best Cars awards. Contributed

Once again there were some surprise packets among the winners.

The nation's top-selling Toyota HiLux was trumped by Ford's Ranger in the dual-cab ute class. In fact, while Toyota is Australia's top-selling brand it received no awards in any category.

Holden also missed out with the Commodore relegated by Hyundai's luxurious Genesis in the large car arena for the second year in succession, while Mitsubishi and Nissan were also empty handed.

With a seismic shift from large cars into SUVs, the key winners in the high-riding wagons were the Mazda CX-3, Subaru Outback, Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.

 

Best Micro Car was the Kia Picanto Si.
Best Micro Car was the Kia Picanto Si. Contributed

Kia cemented its position as the fastest-growing mainstream brand, bestowed with three awards courtesy of the pint-size Picanto, compact Cerato and the Carnival people-mover.

BMW also snared three awards, with the 125i and 330i claiming victory in the plush small and medium segments as well as the prized sports car win for cars $50,000-$100,000 with the M240i Coupe.

 

The Best Sports Car $50,000 - $100,000 in Australia's Best Cars awards was the BMW 240i Coupe.
The Best Sports Car $50,000 - $100,000 in Australia's Best Cars awards was the BMW 240i Coupe. Contributed

But when asked which car they'd want most from all the winners, it was the Mazda6 which claimed the overall win.

"There's been a real shift to downsizing in the past 10 years, but buyers are for some reason skipping over these medium models altogether. The strength of the Mazda6 model shows this family size car has a lot to offer," RACQ's Steve Spalding said.

"Ultimately, we're spoilt for choice of brands and models available in Australia. No matter your vehicle preference and budget, you can purchase a car that's right for you and your family and importantly carries a tick of approval from our judges."

 

The Mazda CX-3.
The Mazda CX-3. Contributed

Mr Spalding said Mazda6's award highlighted why drivers shouldn't overlook family-sized models in favour of the more popular SUVs and smaller cars.

"There's been a real shift to downsizing in the past 10 years, but buyers are for some reason skipping over these medium models altogether. The strength of the Mazda6 model shows this family size car has a lot to offer," Mr Spalding said.

"Ultimately, we're spoilt for choice of brands and models available in Australia. No matter your vehicle preference and budget, you can purchase a car that's right for you and your family and importantly carries a tick of approval from our judges."

The Mazda6 last won the judges' choice in 2013.

Australia's Best Cars 2016 winners are:

Judges' Choice: Mazda6 Touring.

Best Micro Car: 1st Kia Picanto Si, 2nd Mitsubishi Mirage ES, 3rd Holden Spark LS. 

Best Light Car: 1st Suzuki Baleno GL, 2nd Kia Rio S, 3rd Mazda2 Neo.

Best Small Car under $35,000: 1st Kia Cerato S, 2nd Ford Focus Trend, 3rd Mazda3 Maxx.

Best Small Car over $35,000: 1st BMW 125i, 2nd Volvo V40 T4 Inscription, 3rd Mercedes-Benz A180. 

Best Medium Car under $50,000: 1st Mazda6 Touring, 2nd Subaru Liberty 2.5i Premium, 3rd Kia Optima GT. 

Best Medium Car over $50,000: 1st BMW 330i, 2nd Mercedes-Benz C200, 3rd Jaguar XE 20T Prestige. 

Best Large Car under $70,000: 1st Hyundai Genesis, 2nd Holden Commodore SV6 Black Edition, 3rd Lexus ES300h Luxury.

Best Family Wagon: 1st Kia Carnival SLi, 2nd Honda Odyssey VTi-L, 3rd Kia Sorento SLi (4x2).

Best Sports Car under $50,000: 1st Ford Focus ST, 2nd Ford Fiesta ST, 3rd Renault Clio RS200 Cup.

Best Sports Car $50,000 - $100,000: 1st BMW M240i Coupe, 2nd Mercedes-AMG A45, 3rd Ford Focus RS.

Best Small 2WD SUV under $35,000: 1st Mazda CX-3, 2nd Honda HR-V VTi-S, 3rd Nissan Qashqai.

Best AWD SUV under $50,000: 1st Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium, 2nd Kia Sportage Platinum, 3rd Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport AWD. 

Best AWD SUV $50,000 - $65,000: 1st Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 150 SE, 2nd Kia Sorento Platinum, 3rd Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander CRDi.

Best AWD SUV $65,000 - $125,000: 1st Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d, 2nd Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription, 3rd Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport 30d.

Best 4x4 Dual Cab Ute: 1st Ford Ranger XLT 3.2, 2nd Toyota HiLux SR5, 3rd Holden Colorado LTZ.

Each vehicle is assessed not only for performance and safety, but also value by taking into consideration deprecation, warranty and dealer access, insurance, repair costs.

 

The Kia Carnival.
The Kia Carnival. Contributed


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