Last year’s crown for the Car Of The Year award went to the Mazda 6, an excellent midsize executive sedan that looks and drives unlike any other vehicle. A plethora of launches happened this 2014, and with Toyota achieving a 100,000 unit milestone, sales numbers are definitely better than ever, and not just for Toyota. Most major automakers will be ending 2014 with record breaking sales as well. If there is any automaker we should commend this 2014, it would be Honda. When Toshio Kuwahara said that he’d keep the media busy this year, well, he wasn’t kidding. Honda launched more vehicles than any other automaker would dare, launching a staggering 7 models. Will any of Honda’s cars appear in the COTY list, or perhaps even be crowned as Go Flat Out’s COTY? Scroll down to find out.
5TH PLACE: Toyota Corolla Altis
Surprised to see the Toyota Corolla Altis? Well, I’m surprised I placed it in my list as well, but here’s why. See, the Toyota Corolla Altis wasn’t known for fun to drive dynamics, and even worse, was a joke to anyone who loves driving. Well, there’s nothing wrong with it, because it’s a comfortable and reliable car, but it didn’t have any excitement at all. Well, this new generation somehow changes that. While still not a fun to drive car by any means, its handling credentials is more well balanced, and with the “keen look and under priority” design language that Toyota has infused into the Corolla Altis, it is now far from being called a boring looking car. It hits the perfect spot between sport and elegance in terms of how it looks and feels, effectively changing the public’s perception of Toyota’s appliance, and here at Go Flat Out, cars that changes a buyer’s perception towards a car, for the better, are highly appreciated, and that alone makes the Corolla worthy of the fifth spot.
4TH PLACE: Lexus NX
Last year, the Lexus IS was placed second, another sports sedan that also changed the public’s perception towards what used to be a boring luxury brand. Now that all of Lexus’s products carry the brand’s Spindle Grille, Lexus was able to further up the ante in terms of design with the Lexus NX. It looks unlike any other crossover, or pretty much, any car out there, with its tri-L-shaped LED headlamps and cuts and creases that seem like it has been sculpted by a Japanese Samurai. While the hybrid powertrain may not be the sportiest set ups especially when compared to its German rivals, its sporty handling credentials do make a statement, this is not your ordinary luxury crossover, and being a standout in design is highly appreciated here at Go Flat Out.
3RD PLACE: Nissan X-Trail
Nissan has been slowly building its brand back from scratch, which started with the takeover of Nissan Philippines by the main Nissan that we know from Japan. In a bid to regain trust and confidence from the consumers, Nissan needs an excellent product portfolio, and the new Nissan X-Trail is Nissan’s best bet so far, and here’s why. The Philippine market loves crossovers, thanks to their tall ride height, car-like driving dynamics, and practicality, but most of them are no good off-road, which does make sense since the majority of buyers only take their crossovers to schools, dropping off their kids. What about those who fancy a bit of off-roading? That’s where the Nissan X-Trail stands out. It has a *4×4-i system, and with a twist of the knob, the front or rear wheels can be completely locked depending on which has the most grip. Yet, despite its off-road credentials, its on road manners are unaffected, cosseting even, since your are wrapped around by one of the most beautifully made cabins in its class. Being the jack of more than one trade is highly appreciated here at Go Flat Out, and these traits keep the Nissan X-Trail at the 3rd spot.
2ND PLACE: Mazda 3
Last year’s winner was the Mazda 6, and here we are, another Mazda on our COTY list. The Mazda 3 is one of the industry’s highly-acclaimed vehicles. Almost all media outlets are singing praises for this car, and for a good reason. It’s a sexy looking machine, and the way it drives is even better. It is the sportiest driving compact sedan or hatchback in its segment. If the traffic situation is being too unfriendly towards you, the Mazda 3 is there to soothe you with its beautifully made cabin. Just like the Mazda 6 and CX-5, the Mazda 3 is also the recipient of Ward’s Best Interiors award. Everything is ergonomically laid out, save it for the head-up display on the 2.0 R variant, and the MZD connect system, which is controlled by a German luxury sedan style giant center knob, is one of the best infotainment systems I’ve experienced in a mainstream car. i-ELOOP, my most favorite feature Mazda feature, eliminates the load from the engine to power the electronics, keeping the engine at its rightful duty, to power the car forward. Along with the i-STOP Start/Stop system and a host of other Skyactiv Technologies, the Mazda 3 is one of the most fuel-efficient cars in its class. Stylish, fun to drive, and fuel-efficient. Being a stand out in more than one respect is highly appreciated here at Go Flat Out, but there is one aspect that it slightly doesn’t stand out, and that is interior space. While it isn’t by any means cramped since I perfectly fit at the back, compare it to the Toyota Corolla Altis and most of its competition, the difference becomes apparent, and regrettably, this keeps it from taking the top spot.
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1ST PLACE: Honda City and Jazz
While I was creating a shortlist of what set of cars deserve the Car Of The Year Award, I had a seriously hard time deciding between the Mazda 3, Honda Jazz, and Honda City, on which of the three should take the crown for this year’s Car Of The Year. All the three cars represent a huge step forward for the generations they replace. Since all of these three cars are so good, a careful analysis of what negatives did I experience while I had my time with these cars were made, and the Honda Jazz and City are practically the pair of cars where I experienced the least negatives. Both cars represent Honda’s excellence in interior packaging, making the most of the available space. Both cars also have substantially higher quality and fit and finish than the model it replaces. Both cars are also fun to drive on a twisty winding road. Both cars also introduced a host of new technologies and connectivity features unheard of in any of its competitors, heck even in the bigger compact class. Both cars also have substantially better refinement and better sound insulation, almost on par with the Volkswagen Polo and the Ford Fiesta. The Honda City and Jazz, I believe, are hard to separate, as these two cars complement each other. These pair of cars are leaps and bounds a huge improvement on literally all aspects compared to its predecessors. Go Flat Out highly appreciates cars that are literally excellent in almost all aspects, and for these reasons, the Honda City and Jazz are Go Flat Out’s Car Of The Year.
Click For Review (Jazz)
Click For Review (City)
A summary as seen on The Ultimate Car Guide.
Happy New Year To Everyone!