The awards night, represent the culmination of months of discussions and debates by the panel of judges to first arrive at a shortlist and then whittle this down to segment winners, and finally one overall winner as our Car of the Year. This is nowhere near as easy as it might sound, as in a year we drive nearly 70 new cars on an average, and a good number of them are hard to fault. So narrowing it all down to a handful of winners is an arduous, nerve-wracking task.

The process starts with the team drawing up a list of all the cars tested over the past 12 months. Each car is judged individually on its segment criteria, so each winner is assessed against its own market rivals. These cars are divided into their respective segments, and if there are more than three good models in each category, we eliminate the rest by consensus. From the three remaining, the winner is chosen by voting. The one picked by the most number of judges will be the segment winner. From this list of category winners, which incidentally has 23 cars this year, the judges vote for their top three. The votes are tallied and the car that receives the highest number of endorsements is crowned the Car of the Year.

While winners of the different segments and the overall Car of the Year are chosen by the panel of judges who base their opinions on impressions from test drives and perspective gained from years of driving cars of varying types, we also offer our readers a chance to choose their favourites in two categories. These are the top three cars featured in our popular My Wheels section, and the Readers’ Choice Car of the Year.