As another year draws to a close, it’s time to recognise and honour the significant new models at the annual Car of the Year event (which goes back to 2002) supported by the Malaysian Automotive, Robotics & IoT Institute (formerly Malaysian Automotive Institute). This year’s event was an extra special one as it was attended by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, our Prime Minister, accompanied by his wife, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah.
Tun Dr. Mahathir was the recipient of a special award – the COTY Lifetime Automotive Award – which recognises him as the driving force behind the development of the Malaysian automotive industry. From being a mere ‘screwdriver operation’, when vehicles were merely assembled, prior to the 1980s, Tun Dr. Mahathir’s National Car Project was the catalyst for the growth of the auto industry which has been a key element in the country’s industrialisation.
Another key figure in the auto industry, Datuk Aishah Ahmad, was also recognised with the Automotive Personality of the Year Award. Datuk Aishah has been in the auto industry since the 1970s and has been the President of the Malaysian Automotive Association for many years. The award recognises her contributions to the industry and its development.
For 2018, the overall Car of the Year award goes to the Peugeot 3008 which also received the award in the Compact Crossover category. The brand which received the most awards this year was Mercedes-Benz which won awards in 5 categories: Premium Crossover (GLC 200), Premium SUV (AMG GLC 43), Executive Sedan (C200 AMG), Premium Executive Sedan over RM300,000 (AMG C43) and Limousine (S450L AMG Line).
The winners of the other categories were:
Entry Level – Perodua Myvi 1.5
Hot Hatch – Volkswagen Golf GTI (facelift)
Pick-up – Ford Ranger 2.2 Wildtrak
Midsize Crossover – Mazda CX-5 2.2 GLS SKYACTIV-D
MPV (below RM200,000) – Kia Grand Carnival 2.2D
MPV (above RM200,000) – Toyota Alphard 3.5
Entry Level SUV – Subaru XV 2.0i-P
Midsize SUV – Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4
Midsize Premium SUV – Volvo XC60 T8 Inscription
Special mention awards were also given to BMW for selling the most plug-in hybrid vehicles and to Honda for selling the most hybrid vehicles. Mazda also received an award for being the top export brand.
This year, the judging panel, headed by Yamin Vong, consisted of 9 judges, including a representative from Motor Trader. The judges assessed each nominee based on exterior and interior design, technical specifications and engineering innovations, safety features, energy efficiency and environment friendliness, and overall value for money.
PAST WINNERS OF OVERALL CAR OF THE YEAR AWARDS
2017: Honda Jazz Hybrid
2016: Honda Civic 1.5TC
2014: Honda City
2013: Volkswagen Golf GTI
2012: Ford Ranger 2.2XLT
2011: Peugeot RCZ
2010: Volkswagen Passat
2009: Peugeot 308 Turbo
2007: Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0GT
2006: Honda Civic
2005: Mercedes-Benz CLS
2004: BMW 530d
2003: Volvo XC90
2002: Perodua Kelisa