OzRoamer COTY 2022 Awards list of nominees

List of nominees for 2022 OzRoamer COTY Awards

OzRoamer Car of the Year (COTY) Awards is celebrating its 10th anniversary issue this year. Starting in 2011, we unfortunately missed 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid lockdown restrictions and supply issues.

OzRoamer 2022 Awards Promo Cover 1

So we have brought forward this years awards and also changed the format. Previously we have had an e-magazine but this year the awards are all online.

Over the years OzRoamer’s COTY Awards proved to be an outstanding success, with buyers relying on us in helping them make educated buying decisions. We want to keep it relevant!

These awards are deliberately oriented at having a complete reader and consumer focus, by breaking down the categories into those that best represent their buying decisions and parameters. They can easily compare different vehicles in the same category.

The OzRoamer COTY Awards are without doubt the most independent and comprehensive 4WD & AWD SUV COTY awards in Australia.

Since starting in 2011 we have grown the scope of criteria in line with the changing market trends. The categories have also changed from last time to reflect changing market conditions. The review process is exhaustive but worthwhile.

We look at all vehicles in the various categories, then come up with a short list of possible winners.  All the vehicles nominated in these awards are strong finalists and hold individual merit, however the winners highlight class-leading attributes and those that offer the coveted combination of outstanding design, functionality, performance and value for money.

We have narrowed down over 80 contenders to 36 nominees for you to peruse.

The criteria for our awards is simple:

  • The vehicle must be currently available for sale to the general public as at the date of the awards;
  • The vehicle must meet the criteria for its category;
  • Final contenders are selected by the panel;
  • Each vehicle is subjectively and objectively measured against strict criteria and its competitors in the category;
  • The vehicle with the most points wins. If there is a tie then the panel decides!
  • The judging criteria reflects real life situations because you, our readers, buy these vehicles for use in similar situations;
  • The awards assist our readers make educated buying decisions; and
  • Advertising dollars, reputation and marketing hype doesn’t sway the eventual winners or even the nominees.

Pricing comes from the industry website redbook.com.au with all vehicles adopting the Manufacturers List Price* (MLP*) as the standard. If it is unavailable, we use the manufacturers’ website pricing.

Some manufacturers only promote RDAP so we have no choice but to use that, but it reflects a standard across Australia. Sometimes there is leeway because of this pricing structure with the bands and what is included.

Our price bands are guides as sometimes model variants will go slightly over the top price in the band.

In general we look at the various models in the range as a whole and will pick what we believe to be the sweet spot in the range. Sometimes only one or two models in the range are AWD so we obviously specify those.

So to the categories and nominees!

OzRoamer 2022 AWD SUV under $45000 Awards

OzRoamer 2022 AWD SUV under $45,000 COTY Award

This is a very crowded category with many manufacturers chasing this growing demand. Many models are 2WD only (mostly front wheel drive) and while they are suited to the urban environment, they are not suited to the adventure philosophy we have here at OzRoamer.

To that end we only appraise AWD models.

This does mean that some excellent vehicles such as the Peugeot 2008 GT and Mazda CX-3 (that is over 95% FWD sales) missed out on contention

Contenders included Toyota CH-R, Hyundai Kona, Suzuki Vitara, VW T-Roc, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Subaru XV.

Our final three nominees are:

  • Subaru Forester
  • Kia Seltos AWD 1.6T
  • SKODA Karoq 140TSI Sportline Auto AWD

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 AWD SUV $45000 - $60000 COTY Award

OzRoamer 2022 AWD SUV $45,000 – $60,000 COTY Award

This is another very crowded segment with models from almost every manufacturer. The choices are as diverse as they are plentiful. Again we only looked at the AWD versions.

The list of possible nominees included Audi Q2 40 TFSI Quattro, Audi Q3, Renault Koleos, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail, VW Tiguan and Jeep Cherokee, Toyota RAV 4 Edge and Mazda CX-5.

Our final three nominees are:

  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Subaru Outback
  • Kia Sportage

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 AWD SUV $60000 - $80000 COTY Award

OzRoamer 2022 AWD SUV $60,000 – $80,000 COTY Award       

Here we are starting to see a predominance of European entry level SUVs. Also a diversity in sizes, engines and seating arrangements.

The list of possible nominees includes: Range Rover Evoque, Lexus NX, Jaguar E-PACE, SKODA Kodiaq RS and Volvo XC60.

The final nominees exhibit a diverse design philosophy from the more adventurous to the more urban with some all road capability.

Our final three nominees are:

  • Land Rover Discovery Sport
  • Audi Q5
  • Genesis GV70

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 AWD SUV OVER $80000 COTY Award

OzRoamer 2022 AWD SUV 0ver $80,000 COTY Award

Along with the surge in SUV popularity over the last 10 years or so, has come the inevitable replacement of prestige saloons with prestige SUVs.

The reason we changed this category from the last award issue is that this is the entry price for many large AWD SUVs go from here to the early to mid $100k pricing. It’s the domain of premium brand European models and newer Japanese brands.

Realistically at this price point brand loyalty plays an important part as does market perception. However neither of those play a part in our decision making.

The list of possible nominees is long. Including: Audi Q5 and Q7/Q8, Range Rover Velar, Porsche Macan, Genesis GV80 and Lexus RX.

Our final three nominees are:

  • Audi Q8
  • Jaguar F-PACE
  • VW Touareg

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 4WD $45000 - $65000 COTY Award

OzRoamer 2022 4WD $45,000 – $65,000 COTY Award

This is the first of the categories that are specifically for vehicles that have dual range 4WD. Most are wagon variants of popular Utes, some designed as a 4WD from the ground up.  The list of possible nominees includes Ford Everest, Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Jeep Wrangler and SsangYong Rexton.

This is truly the family adventure vehicle segment, where true off road ability comes at an affordable price point. Some have 5 seats, some seven, some are long in the model cycle, others just newly released.

Our final three nominees are:

  • Isuzu MU-X LST
  • Toyota Fortuner Crusade
  • Jeep Compass Trailhawk

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 4WD $65000 - $80,000 COTY Award

OzRoamer 2022 4WD $65,000 – $80,000 COTY Award

Again only for those vehicles that have dual range 4WD capability. However there are a few more ‘traditional’ 4WDs in this category.  The number of available vehicles in this category is small indeed. It also includes more highly specked models of some in the lower price range.

These include: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Toyota Prado, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Everest.

Soon the all new INEOS Grenadier will join this group and I’m looking forward to that.

Our final three nominees are:

  • Toyota LandCruiser LC70 Series
  • Toyota LandCruiser Prado
  • Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 4WD OVER $80,000 COTY Award

OzRoamer 2022 4WD over $80,000 COTY Award

Once the peak 4WD category, it has sadly dwindled in market presence and model availability, but not capability thankfully.

Dual range 4WDs only need apply and it boils down to a staunch few remaining. However the final winner is anything but!

We have waited for many years for the new 300 series LandCruiser. How does it stack up against the others? Is it good enough to take the award?

Possible nominees include: LandCruiser Prado Kakadu, Land Rover Discovery and Jeep Grand Cherokee

Our final three nominees are:

  • Toyota LandCruiser 300 series
  • Land Rover Defender
  • Nissan Patrol

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 Family SUV under $80000 COTY Award

OzRoamer 2022 Family AWD SUV Under $80,000 COTY Award

More than any other segment the family SUV’s have grown market share. Replacing normal station wagons, people movers and even 4WDs, these, usually seven seat, AWD SUVs are a phenomenon.

Extremely popular and available across a wide price range, it’s confusing for buyers. Especially when you move up through the model ranges that add more comfort and often more safety features. The reason for the wide price range is that many models have entry models that are relatively inexpensive and go through to the more pricey models.

Definitely on road focused, although you could include some true 4WDs as well, but most of these vehicles may see an annual trip to the snow or the occasional dirt road to a favourite picnic spot and that’s about the extent of the adventure side. Many are even offered in 2WD variants as well.

Possible nominees include: Mazda CX-9, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Skoda Kodiaq, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda CX-8, and Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Nissan Pathfinder, which would normally be included is in limbo, with the old model sold out and the new model not arriving yet.

The final nominees’ showcases just how much this category has moved in recent times as some models that normally would be a definite starter for the final list missed out simply because there are others that have stolen their place.

More than any other category this one was the most difficult to narrow down to three finalists and we were tempted to extend it to five, but decided against that.

Our final three nominees are:

  • Kia Sorento
  • Toyota Kluger
  • Hyundai Palisade

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 PRESTIGE SUV COTY Award

OzRoamer 2022 Prestige SUV COTY Award

The expected brand names as well as some unexpected names appear in the possible nominees. BMW X6/X7, Mercedes Benz GLS/GLE, Maserati Levante, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne, Aston Martin DBX, through to the ridiculously expensive Rolls Royce Cullinan.

The latest Range Rover is yet to be released but is set to stand out when it is.

Our final three nominees are:

  • Range Rover Sport
  • Maserati Levante
  • Audi SQ8

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 SPORT SUV Award

OzRoamer 2022 Sports SUV COTY Award

This is an open category in terms of price but the cut-off point is a 0-100kmh time of 5.0 seconds. We use the manufacturers claimed times for the criteria.

There are a couple of notable exclusions as a result of this rule. The surprisingly fast and smooth Genesis GV70 3.5T Sport and the Audi SQ5 TDi Quattro both with a claimed time of 5.1 seconds. But there had to be a cut-off point somewhere. Note that I would happily own either of these cars.

Surprisingly it’s a heavily contested segment with the sports SUV replacing sports saloons and coupes in popularity over the last few years.

There is a long list of possible nominees and in the final article we list them and their 0-100kmh times.

Outright speed isn’t the sole criteria, as often to lose a few tenths of a second in 0-100kmh time the prices escalates exponentially. Likewise top speed is purely theoretical in Australia with our speed laws.

Affordability, smoothness and the ease of living with the SUV every day also play an important part in the decision. Getting this list down to three nominees is almost impossible

Our final three nominees are:

  • Audi RSQ3
  • Jaguar F-PACE SVR
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 4wd ute under $65,000 Award

OzRoamer 2022 4WD Dual Cab Ute under $65,000 COTY Award

With 3 out of the top ten selling vehicles now Utes and more in the top twenty, the ubiquitous Ute has certainly grown in popularity over the years.

Along with the popularity has come the slow moving upmarket of some of the Ute offers. It’s possible to now buy a Ute for $29,990 through to $80,000 plus. Here we are focusing on the Dual Cab 4WD Ute portion of the market.

There is a wide selection, from many manufacturers including Mitsubishi Triton, SsangYong Musso, LDV T60 and Toyota HiLux

Both the Ford Ranger and VW Amarok are due for replacement very soon.

Like a few other categories, the final three came down to a point of difference only.

Our final three nominees are

  • Isuzu D-Max
  • Mazda BT-50
  • Nissan Navara

The winner is announced on the 1 April 2022

OzRoamer 2022 PREMIUM 4WD UTE COTY Award

OzRoamer 2022 Premium 4WD Dual Cab Ute over $65,000 COTY Award

The upmarket surge of Utes is just beginning really and a premium segment has emerged.

This year for the first time we acknowledge this market trend and look at Utes above $65,000.

Contenders come from a wide range of design philosophies and pricing. They include the Amarok V6, Mazda BT-50 Thunder, Jeep Gladiator, RAM 1500, Toyota HiLux Rugged X and Rogue, VW Amarok W580 W and Alpine variants and Ford Ranger Raptor. 

Both the Ford Ranger and VW Amarok are due for replacement very soon.

Pricing ranges from the $65,000 through to $100,000 plus for some of the RAM 1500 or Chev Silverado, the big American Pick-Up style truck Utes.

Our final three nominees are:

  • Mazda BT-50 Thunder
  • Nissan Navara Pro 4X Warrior
  • Jeep Gladiator

The winner is announced on the 31st March 2022

Well that’s our listed nominees for the OzRoamer AWD and 4WD SUV 2022 COTY Awards. We have narrowed down over 80 contenders to 36 nominees in 12 categories for you to peruse.

Stay tuned for April 1 2022 for the award winner announcements.