Car of the Year choice down to final dozenThe journey to select the 2016 Car of the Year has begun.
The first round of screening was held on Monday at the 10th floor of the JoongAng Ilbo’s headquarters in Jung District, central Seoul, where 52 cars launched by 27 auto brands were assessed.
The first-round screening involved presentations by automakers that explained each vehicle’s features. Of the 52, only 12 cars will advance to the second round that will actually test the performance of the cars on a racetrack.
A panel of 15 judges including car engineers, designers, car racers and journalists reviewed the cars and questioned automakers.
Among the local cars, Hyundai Motor’s EQ900, the new flagship sedan of the automaker’s luxe Genesis brand, attracted the most attention from judges. The company said the car offers segment-leading riding quality and high-end tech, including Highway Driving Assist, a partial autonomous driving system developed by the automaker.
The automaker was asked, “Many features provided by the EQ900 are seen in other models. What are the features that the EQ900 is really ahead of than other cars?”
Hyundai replied that “in the local market, it definitely is a flagship sedan that Korean consumers will be satisfied with and can compete in the global market.”
The final 12 cars that will progress to the performance test are Kia Motors’ Sportage SUV, Kia Motors’ K5 sedan, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S-Edition 1, the Mini New Clubman, BMW’s 7 Series sedan, Chevrolet’s the Next Spark, Chevrolet’s Impala sedan, Ssangyong Motor’s Tivoli SUV, Audi new TT, Jaguar XE sport sedan, Hyundai Motor’s Genesis EQ900 and Hyundai Motor’s Tucson SUV.
The EQ900 is expected to compete with BMW’s new 7 Series sedan that was rolled out in the second half of last year. “Considering price options, it has the best features among flagship sedans,” said judge Yu Ji-soo, president of Kookmin University. “It also looks like it has one of the best safety options in the industry.”
BMW’s 7 Series sedan also made fans with its high-end tech. “Traditionally, the 7 Series has been introducing industry-leading tech every time it rolled out a generation-shift model, and this new 7 Series showed impressive features, including laser lights and many other convenient options,” said Prof. Lee Nam-suk from Chung-Ang University’s business department.
There was also fierce competition in the SUV category. Kia’s new Sportage competed with Ssangyong’s Tivoli and Hyundai’s Tucson, and mid-size sedans such as Kia’s K5 competed with imported cars, including the Jaguar XE.
BY KIM JOON-SOOL, KWON SANG-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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