20 October 2023
AutoApp Launches Its First Car Of The Year (ACOTY) Awards

The inaugural AutoApp Car Of The Year awards consolidate the best cars tested in Singapore that will be on sale in 2024.

Welcome to the first-ever Autoapp Car Of The Year awards. ACOTY, as it is otherwise known, is meant to be the definitive car award that consolidates the thoughts and opinions of vehicles that we have reviewed this year.

Hopefully, this will help you make an informed choice when choosing your next car in 2024.

This is an awards programme like no other. Every vehicle tested and reviewed on AutoApp is rated and voted on its merits by an objective scoring system that the voting panel of experienced and diverse automotive journalists decide on.

We do not rule out any contenders either. If you have four wheels, you are automatically enrolled. In other words, every car we test has a chance to win an Autoapp Car Of The Year award.

There are many categories that recognise the diverse range of cars that suit various needs. Yet, those who simply want to know which is best will also have their answer.

Just follow this series of posts. We promise that this will be an interesting journey.

Why ACOTY 2024?

Although the cars were tested in 2023, it is a common practice in the car industry for models launched after July to be referred to as the following model year.

This also differentiates ACOTY from the other local awards formats. We want car companies to have a full year to market their cars with the 2024 awards.

We anticipate that customers would also be more receptive to the accolades for the cars they are shortlisting for the year ahead rather than making decisions based on last year’s models.

The voting panel

It is important that the Autoapp Car Of The Year should be representative of a car that is relatable to the Singapore general public, and something that most of us can agree is special enough to rise above all others that year. It may not be just about performance, price, or even style.

Chosen vehicles must also have that emotional ‘X’ factor that enables us to collectively give it a nod in recognition of a car that is perhaps “just right” for its time.

To decide on this, AutoApp’s voting panel calls on a range of automotive journalists of different ages, driving backgrounds and divergent personal interests when it comes to cars.

Joel Tam

Our fearless leader has been a serial car buyer and seller for more than 20 years, owning at one point or another: hot hatchbacks, turbocharged rally-bred saloons, mid-engined sports cars, Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPVs), SUVs and even classic German cabriolets.

Professionally, Joel has also been reviewing cars and has involved himself with just about every facet of the industry. Altogether, this makes for a unique combination of discerning experience that few can match.

Sheldon Trollope

Closing in on 25 years of reviewing cars, Sheldon is a veteran raconteur of the automotive industry. He has helped untold numbers of customers make informed buying decisions about the cars they have owned over the years.

His experience and extensive product knowledge will be put to good use in deciding on the best cars of the year.

Sean Loo

Sean brings youth and exuberance to balance out the voting panel. He may be the youngest member on the panel, but has more than made up for it with a driving acumen and intuition that has seen him win numerous driving awards in the short time he has been with us.

His prolific editorial contributions online are a testament to how quickly he has been exposed to a wide range of vehicles, and his decisions are backed by encyclopedic car knowledge garnered ever since he learned to read.

Vivek Max R.

As our resident fuel efficiency tester, Vivek’s metronomic consistency with his driving routes, and testing processes along with a deep interest in automotive engineering and technology means that every car tested is assessed as objectively as possible.

The eventual ACOTY winner will definitely have to need that elusive ”Max” factor to win his approval…

Scoring criteria

Every car entered for ACOTY is judged on a standard set of criteria, with a maximum of 10 points per category:

CategoryArea(s) of Assessment
Exterior Design Let’s face it, first impressions count.
Interior Design The part of the vehicle occupants spend the most time looking at.
Performance Does this car feel more or less powerful than what is expected from its given class of vehicle?
Handling How responsive is this car to driver inputs?
Comfort Ride quality.
Practicality Rear passenger room, luggage and storage compartments, ease of loading, ergonomics, hooks, and other thoughtful features.
Function How well does this car fulfil its intended purpose?
Safety Braking ability, number of airbags, active safety systems, or any innovative safety features will earn above-average scores here.
Features Does the car have standout features we love or hate? Is it sufficiently specced in its class?
Quality Haptics, interior build quality, exterior fit and finish, paint quality, sound system, and panel tolerances.
Value How does this vehicle compare against its class competitors for its given price?
Driver Appeal The X-factor. Are we reluctant to return the car after a test drive?

In the event that a member on the voting panel did not get to drive that particular car, a default score of 6 points out of a maximum of 10 for each category is awarded if the judge does not have sufficient information to make a credible assessment. This is so the car will not be disadvantaged if it is not driven by all the voting members.

The other reason for a default of 6 points (and not 5 for example) is that there is an assumption that there are rarely any bad cars today. Just about every car on sale in Singapore works competently; they start, they run, the air-conditioning works and they generally don’t break down. Hence, we provide the benefit of the doubt with 6 points.

If the importer wants to improve their car’s scoring chances, they will arrange for the cars to be driven by the rest of the voting panel.

Pricing percentile

One aspect of ACOTY that is unique is the factor of a price percentile. This is useful in determining which car qualifies for certain categories. For example, a car has to be priced within the 90th percentile of the ACOTY field to qualify as a luxury model while the top 50th percentile may be considered as premium models.

This is a more consistent parameter given how fluctuations in COE prices can make setting absolute price points irrelevant.

In case you were wondering, the most expensive car entered for ACOTY is the BMW XM priced at $1,034,888 while the lowest-priced car happens to be the Suzuki Swift Mild Hybrid at $136,888. Additionally, the most affordable vehicle on our list is the Citroën e-Dispatch, priced at $135,400.

Prices were based on the COE results as of 4 October 2023 and may have changed by the time you read this. Chances are, however, that the vehicles will still be in the same price percentiles so the context in which they are judged remains relevant.

The road to ACOTY

To qualify for this ACOTY, each car must have been launched between 1 September 2022 and 31 August 2023. Also, the qualifying model has to be on sale the following year.

Next, the car must have been driven by at least one member of the voting panel. This is to ensure that no “armchair reviews” are at play and opinions are based on actual experience; not hearsay or what has been said in other reviews. All eligible cars will also have an AutoApp review published before being entered, so anyone is able to browse and read up on how each car fared.

To be in contention for the ACOTY Grand Prize, a car must first top its individual category on points. After securing a first-round victory, it will then be judged against other category winners. For example, in the case of the Overall Best Cat A vehicle, the winner of the Cat A Hatchback will be compared against the Cat A Sedan, Cat A SUV, Cat A EV and so on.

Second-round or Overall winners will then head into the final round where they will be judged again to be worthy of the overall Grand Prize, which is the AutoApp Car Of The Year.

Now that that’s all cleared up (take a deep breath), here are the categories:

First-round ACOTY categories

Second-round ACOTY categories (Finalists)

From these 11 finalists, the AutoApp Car Of The Year will be chosen. The following series of articles will make for fascinating reading as we get into the surprises and conundrums to decide which car emerges above the rest. Stay tuned.

Read more automotive news at AutoApp, or check out our latest videos on Ignition Labs TV!