ASEAN, for the first time in the region’s 48-year history, will see Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia joining hands to introduce and launch the first ever ASEAN Car of the Year 2015 (ACOTY 2015). The award programme is exclusively put together by our peers from iCar Asia, with no less than 15 automotive journalists forming the judging panel.

Of the 15 judges, 12 of the journalists are not affiliated with the organisers, and the scoring process will include evaluation from third party service providers such as Opal Auto Mart Sdn Bhd (Malaysia’s leading aftermarket warranty service provider), Liberty Insurance Berhad (formerly known as Uni.Asia General Insurance) and Shell Helix. They will score each finalist based on their Reliability and Dependability, Depreciation and Running Costs as well as After Sales and Service Satisfaction.

As for the motoring journalists, the scoring mechanics will take into account each car’s pricing and value, safety, build quality, driving performance and overall exterior and interior design. The move to introduce ASEAN’s very own COTY Awards is rather timely, considering that the said market has collectively sold 3.19 million vehicles in 2014 (excluding motorcycles) while exporting a good 800,000 more. At its current rate of growth, Hans Cheong in his report suggested that the ASEAN market is expected to become the fifth largest automotive market by 2019.

Nominations are broken down into 22 different categories, from Budget Car of the Year, Premium MPV of the Year to Flagship of the Year and Driver’s car of the Year (see full list below). All vehicles currently on sale have been considered for nomination, but the finalists have been selected by the panel of judges from various motoring media publications across the three countries.

Allow us to introduce to you the 12 automotive journalists: Chips Yap of Motor Trader Malaysia, Kon from Autoworld.com.my, Yap Kam Foo of Top Gear Malaysia, Tom Goh of Zerotohundred, Vishal from NST’s Car Bikes and Trucks, Denis Wong from Countersteer.my, Kenneth Sow from Kensomuse.com, Gan Yong Li from Pandulaju.com, Johan Izham and Qhalis Najmi of Traffic Magazine Online and yours truly, GC Mah and Matthew H. Tong of AutoBuzz.my. Judges from the iCar Asia team are Chris Aaron from Carlist.my, Daniel Wong from Malaysian Evo magazine and Hans Cheong of LiveLifeDrive (soon to be relaunched).

Without further ado, here are the 22 categories and its finalists:

Budget Car of the Year

Perodua Axia
Proton Iriz
Kia Picanto

Compact Car of the Year

Honda Jazz
Mazda 2
Ford Fiesta

Family Car of the Year

Mazda 3
Toyota Corolla Altis
Honda Civic

Executive Car of the Year

Mazda 6
Toyota Camry
Ford Mondeo
Honda Accord

Family MPV of the Year

Mazda Biante
Proton Exora
Volkswagen Cross Touran

Premium MPV of the Year

Honda Odyssey
Volkswagen Sharan
Ford S-Max

Crossover of the Year

Honda HR-V
Peugeot 2008
Ford EcoSport
Mitsubishi ASX
Subaru XV

Compact SUV of the Year

Mazda CX-5
Ford Kuga
Honda CR-V

Family SUV of the Year

Isuzu MU-X
Hyundai Santa Fe
Nissan X-Trail

Pickup Truck of the Year

Ford Ranger
Isuzu D-Max
Mitsubishi Triton

Coupe of the Year

BMW 2-Series
Peugeot RCZ
Hyundai Veloster
Subaru BRZ
Toyota 86
Volkswagen Scirocco

Premium Compact Car of the Year 

Audi A3
Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Volvo V40

Premium Family Car of the Year

BMW 3-Series
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Lexus IS
Volvo V60

Premium Executive Car of the Year

Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Audi A6
BMW 5-Series

Premium Flagship of the Year

Mercedes-Benz S-Class
BMW 7-Series
Audi A8
Lexus LS

Premium Compact SUV of the Year

Audi Q3
BMW X1
Mercedes-Benz GLA
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Premium Mid-Size SUV of the Year

Volvo XC60
Lexus NX
BMW X3
Porsche Macan

Premium SUV of the Year

BMW X5
Porsche Cayenne
Volvo XC90

Premium Coupe of the Year

BMW 4-Series
Lexus RC
Audi TT
Jaguar F-Type

Performance Car of the Year

BMW M4
Porsche 911
BMW i8
Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
McLaren 650s

Grand Tourer of the Year

BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe
Porsche Panamera
Bentley Continental GT

Driver’s Car of the Year

Volkswagen Golf R
Renault Megane RS
Ford Fiesta ST


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Matthew H. Tong
A straightforward, fun-loving guy who appreciates the superficiality of a car's appeal, but his admiration for anything on four wheels gives him no reason to neglect the makings of a car. He still believes that fun comes with three pedals and a stick.