wheels Car of the Year 2016

14 amazing cars, eight judges, 500 kilometres, one worthy winner
By Dejan Jovanovic, Features Writer
|
November 07, 2016
Source: Malek Fayoumi
Source: Malek Fayoumi(1/4)
Source: Malek Fayoumi
Source: Malek Fayoumi(2/4)
Source: Malek Fayoumi
Source: Malek Fayoumi(3/4)
Source: Malek Fayoumi
Source: Malek Fayoumi(4/4)

The shortlist started out as an absurdly long list of nearly 50 cars. That’s understandable when you have eight judges all nominating their favourites from the past 12 months (and a bit), so the final decision turned more into an elimination battle rather than a selection process. The wheels maxim often seems to be, “Why make something simple when you can make it complicated?”

Well we’ve had enough — Car of the Year really doesn’t have to be a convoluted maze of criteria and silly parameters. The car has to be new, the car has to be on sale, the car has to have been driven by all or most of the judges. And the car has to be good. It’s all about navigating past the PR fluff and keeping it real; telling it straight. Simple. Right…

Now let’s get to complicating things.

14 amazing cars, eight judges, 500 kilometres, one worthy winner.

Meet the judges

Amit Roadster owner, boss, calls the shots, his votes count x10 of everyone else’s, because he said so.

Imran Drives a ’91 Trans Am, whenever it’s not in the impound lot or a Sharjah Industrial Area 2 back-alley garage…

Gautam Motoring journalism veteran and Renaultsport Clio addict. First car was a BMW 2002 on twin Webers. Respect…

Dejan Allergic to automatics, CVTs and electronic parking brakes. Just bought a 30-year-old GTI and immediately blew the engine.

Tim An energiser bunny in human form. Industry veteran, currently building a 6x6 rig to travel the globe — we aren’t jealous at all.

Kinan We forgive his choice of personal car, a 2015 Optima, because he’s the nicest person in the world and the car has loads of rear legroom.

Fadi An Italian soul in a Lebanese body, devoted to Ferraris, Alfa driver, an unrealised F1 world champion, but then again, aren’t we all…

Sony wheels’ deputy sheriff. He carries a lot of weight on his shoulders considering the group of juveniles he’s dealing with here…

The route

1 Gulf News headquarters It all starts here. 14 cars, 14 drivers and a depart time of 5.30am sharp...

2 Sieh Shuaib Cyclists and cars — together in perfect harmony? We’ll have to see about that...

3 Bab Al Shams/al qudra lake Weekend campers are in for a rude awakening as our noisy convoy rolls in...

4 Bid’ Al Hilli There’s a fabulously twisty 9.0km stretch of tarmac waiting for us just off the E66 highway...

5 Al Taween Drive through Margham, Nazwa, Maliha, Al Dhaid and Manama until we reach the road to nowhere...