Any new car launched and homologated in India in the 12 months prior to December 31, 2006, is considered a contender for the 2006 ‘Car of the Year’ award. This does not include cars that are imported into India without being certified orhomologated. These must necessarily be all-new cars and not just upgraded or face-lifted ones. Vehicles from the passenger car segment, including minivans and multi-utility vehicles, are eligible for the award.
The objective of the award is to find a single, decisive winner. The voting process, therefore, is designed to pick one outstanding contender and not to provide a scale of merit of the competing cars. A jury consisting of a minimum of five persons is entrusted with the task of voting.
Each jury member is an expert in evaluating cars and has a fair amount of experience with a wide range of vehicles. The jury will be assisted by the objective test data and analysis by Autocar India, which has exhaustively tested all the eligible vehicles.
Scoring system
Jurists will rate the contestants on a scale of one to 10, based on the parameters detailed below. Vehicles will be individually assessed but ranked in relation to their direct market rivals.
The final score will be upon 100 — an aggregate of the total points of all the jury members. The car with the maximum points will be judged the winner.
Fitness for purpose
The most important criterion, it essentially examines how well the car does the job it was made to do and whether it lives up to the expectations of its owners.
Is it relevant to the Indian market? Is the car right for the majority of consumers? Does it have mass appeal? Will it suit the lifestyles of most people in the country?
Value for money
This doesn't mean the cheapest car available; rather it points to how much car you get for your money.
Design and styling
This is a subjective rating on the car's looks and aesthetics and also the level of engineering that has gone into the car. This also includes the safety features.
Engine, gearbox, performance
Engine noise, smoothness, performance, driveability in varied conditions, acceleration, gearshift quality and choice of gear ratios will be rated.
Ride, handling, brakes
The dynamic behaviour of the car will be assessed at various speeds in terms of steering feel and response, agility in the city, stability, ride comfort and effectiveness of the brakes.
Driving pleasure
Cars today are expected to be more than mere transport. This is largely subjective, but an enjoyable driving experience has become a crucial consideration for buyers.
Fuel efficiency
Vitally important in calculating a car's real cost of ownership over a long period, this is based on fuel consumption figures in the city and highway cycles.
Safety features, both active and passive, will be examined in each car. Safety equipment like ABS, airbags and traction control will be considered.
Ownership experience
This looks at the post-purchase considerations such as warranties, quality of aftersales service and spare parts prices, as well as the potential depreciation of the car.
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“Based on cold, hard, irrefutable facts and figures, the CNBC-TV18 Autocar Auto Awards are the most coveted in the Indian automobile industry. What they aim to do is simple - help buyers buy better.”