Winning the Wheels Car Of The Year (COTY) Award was once a huge affair and allowed car companies to trumpet the win to all and sundry. Such is the nature of the award that winning it is still prestigious but no longer as widely spread as it once was.To that end though, both Honda and Volvo have reason to continue the tradition of telling the world of their wins. The Volvo XC60, a vehicle reviewed recently by me, was named the Wheels Car Of The Year for 2018. There’s a bit of extra fizz in this for the iconic Swedish brand as it’s the first win for them of its kind. Up against 21 other competitors.Part of the structure of COTY is inviting cars that are essentially new from the ground up. As Nathan Ponchard from Wheels says: First to go were cars too closely related to existing models, despite styling differences.
That meant the A5/S5 Coupe, Sportback and Convertible from Audi, and Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class Coupe, Cabriolet and All Terrain Wagon, each with the same basics as last year’s A4 and E-Class sedan COTY finalists , were deemed ineligible.
Amongst those that did make the cut were Audi’s Q2, Hyundai’s Kona, the Peugeot 3008, the Model X from Tesla, and Range Rover’s beautiful new Velar.The slightly more performance oriented sister magazine to Wheels, Motor (once known as Modern Motor) provides the Performance Car Of The Year (PCOTY). This year Honda‘s Civic Type R took the gong. It’s another first timer as well, with the win being the inaugural one for Honda and just the third for a Japanese marque in the twenty two year history of the PCOTY. More notably it’s also the first front wheel drive car to take the gong.
The car features three driving modes: Comfort, Sport, and +R. This adjusts the steering, throttle, and suspension. Peak power is 228kW from the 2.0L engine, and a very useful 400Nm between 2500 to 4500 rpm.
Such is the impact the car made on the five judges they all scored the Type R first. Tim Robson, a well known and respected writer, says: “Just wow. Phenomenal on road and track. It’s made me fall in love with driving again.”
Such is the essence of what driving a car should be seen as.