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Wheels names its Gold Star cars for 2016

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016

Korean cars, particularly models from Kia and Hyundai, have dominated the annual Gold Star awards from leading motoring magazine Wheels, but the locally made Holden Commodore has also won a gong.

The awards are based on the "real world" value of cars taking into account such things as fuel efficiency, insurance, servicing costs and warranties along with the price.

They produce what might be considered the smartest buys across 21 categories and sometimes the results can surprise.

This year Kia has taken out five of the categories, including the best value small car under $24,000 with the Cerato and the best value medium SUV under $45,000 with the Sportage, two key sectors of the Australian car market.

Hyundai won the best value small car over $24,000 with its i30 Active and also topped the large SUV and large car categories, at least for models over $45,000.

But the best value large car under $45,000 went to the Holden Commodore Evoke, a model that is destined to go out of production once the local car maker shuts up shop in Australia next year.

The judges said that although the broad view was that large cars were "on the nose", the Holden Commodore remained a terrific car and a decent value proposition.

"The fact that the homegrown Holden remains a top-10 seller suggests the average Australian has the nous to know a great car when they test-drive it," Wheels said.

Magazine editor Alex Inwood said the Gold Star awards helped car buyers make the "smartest possible choice" when picking a new vehicle.

"When you consider a car is one of the biggest single expenses in your life, and certainly the most complex product you'll buy, it's nice to know you're at the head of the pack," he said.

But that doesn't stop the assessments throwing up some unexpected winners, such as the Ford Fiesta ST coming out on top as the best value performance car under $75,000, beating out the highly-rated Mazda MX-5.

Another surprise was the best convertible under $60,000 which went to the pint-sized Fiat 500C POP, with a price tag of just $22,000.

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