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Car of The Year - 
Part 4 - and finally

Broadcast dates : 30th January 2005
3rd February 2005

Day Two, and the meat of the competition, after a good night’s rest and some fun at The Emerald Casino on the banks of the Vaal River.

And looking forward… good back-roads to challenge a car’s ride qualities, and a repetitive loop to enable fair comparisons.

Now the journalists could stretch the cars’ legs. Steering feel and accuracy, so important to a car’s relationship with its driver, was highlighted by undulations on the road surface.

And gentle sweeps also showed up the cars’ ability to hold a constant line, without need of corrections half-way through a bend.

This is where it was appropriate to let the engines wind out through the rev range. For overall satisfaction, an engine needs to have enough low down power, or torque, and still wind- up sweetly to the redline with negligible vibration.

This phase of the test meant that no consideration was given to conserving fuel. All cars were tested independently for fuel consumption prior to the test weekend, but hard-running often gives a very true reflection of a car’s overall fuel consumption capabilities.

There were winners and losers, and one had to take into account the fact that these cars were being driven hard all weekend.

An interim fuel consumption figure was handed out to all evaluators on day two and this is how the cars shaped up...

Audi A6 3.0 TDi 12,18 l/100 km
Peugeot 407 2.2 Sport 10,96 l/100 km
Ford Fiesta 1,4i 8,90 l/100 km
Mazda 3 1.6 Dynamic 9,83 l/100 km
BMW 120i Manual 10,93 l/100 km
Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDi 8,14 l/100 km
Volvo S40 2.4i 11,14 l/100 km
Opel Astra 1.8 Sport 9,52 l/100 km

The fuel consumption category is a difficult one to call. One would expect a diesel car, such as the Audi and the Golf, to score well, and they did, the Golf more so than the Audi.

Being an automatic, the Audi was subjected to lots of full-throttle driveaways to get it off the line. In day to day use, one could expect an overall figure of between eight and nine litres per hundred kilometers for the diesel-engined Audi.

In Car Torque’s opinion the winner here was the Opel at nine-comma-five-two litres per hundred, an impressive figure for a one-comma-eight-litre car, given the hammering the cars endured over the weekend.

Car Torque’s content editor and script writer Stuart Johnston is a Car of the Year jury member. Stuart has been a judge since the very first Car of the Year competition in 1986.

His prediction for 2005? A close battle between the Audi and the Golf, but for overall honours, the Volvo S40 2.4i is an unbeatable package.

Part 1 - How it works
Part 2 - the cars
Part 3 - more cars
Part 4 - and finally

The contenders
Volvo S40 2.4i
Audi A6 3.0 Quattro Tiptronic
Volkswagen Golf 5 2.0 TDi Sportline
Peugeot 407 2.2 ST Sport
BMW 120i Manual
Opel Astra 1.8i Sport

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