The Toyota Supra is a core part of the brand’s resurgence. Picture: Mark Bean
The Toyota Supra is a core part of the brand’s resurgence. Picture: Mark Bean

The best new cars of 2019 revealed

Japanese cars are making a comeback.

Over the past decade, only one Japanese car, the Toyota 86, has claimed News Corp's annual Car of the Year award, despite the fact that Japanese brands account for more than half our new car sales.

But this year four of the seven finalists are sold by Japanese brands.

Leading the charge is Australia's top-seller, Toyota.

The conservative car maker, which has dominated the new car market over the past decade, is shaking off a reputation for dependable but dull cars with a mix of sports cars and petrol-electric hybrids.

It has two finalists this year - the reborn Supra and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid is a favourite for Australian motorists.
Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid is a favourite for Australian motorists.

Both have attracted huge interest. The waiting list for a RAV4 stretched up to six months at one stage after its launch in May.

In a year when electrification became a divisive political issue, Toyota has ramped up plans to have a petrol-electric option in every model in the range.

One in five new Toyotas sold is a hybrid model, and more than 60 per cent of RAV4s sold have a dose of battery power.

Next week a hybrid version of the C-HR SUV will join the range.

The rest of the finalists reflect our growing obsession with SUVs and utes.

Kia's value-packed Seltos is our pick of the small SUVs, while Volkswagen's Touareg gets the nod for new full-sized models.

VW's decision to import only the diesel version of the Touareg is controversial in the wake of its emissions scandal, but the latest model promises relatively clean and green performance.

The Mitsubishi Triton ute, BMW 3 Series sedan and Mazda3 hatchback make up the rest of the field.

All seven finalists proved their worth in an exhaustive two-month long process involving the 21 best new arrivals for 2019.

Mazda’s latest hatch is a cut above the competition. Picture: Thomas Wielecki
Mazda’s latest hatch is a cut above the competition. Picture: Thomas Wielecki

That field included Tesla's new entry-level electric car, the Model 3, which impressed with its performance and tech but couldn't quite match the BMW 3 Series for quality and refinement.

If Toyota's Supra wins, the Japanese giant will owe a debt of gratitude to BMW.

The sports car was a joint venture between the two companies and the car feels more BMW than Toyota from behind the wheel.

The result is a car that comes close to matching the thrills of a Porsche 911 Carrera for less than half the price.

It's the second time Toyota has teamed up with a rival to develop a sports car.

The Toyota 86 was jointly developed with Subaru.

It just might be the ticket to a second Car of the Year title, which will be revealed on Friday, December 6.

 

2019 News Corp Australia Car of the Year winners:

Small car: Mazda3 G20

Small SUV: Kia Seltos Sport+

Family car: BMW 330i

Family SUV: Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Large SUV: Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI

Ute: Mitsubishi Triton

Performance car: Toyota Supra GTS



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