Subaru's off-roader should have been up for Car of the Year
SO it's official, the best car in Ireland is the Citroen C4 Picasso. This is to say the C4 Picasso is better than the Range Rover, the Audi RS 6 Avant, a BMW 4 Series, a Ford Fiesta ST, the Mercedes Benz CLA and the MINI John Cooper Works GP Hatch.
It is also a better car than the Mercedes Benz S Class, the Range Rover Sport, a Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo and the BMW M6 Gran Coupe.
And just so you know, an Audi Q5, the all-new Seat Leon, a Peugeot GTi, the Audi S3, a Volkswagen Golf GTi, the Subaru Forester – none can compare with the Citroen C4 Picasso.
Does anyone really believe this? No, of course not, it's just the mass musing of a group of men who all write under the club colours of the Irish Motoring Writers' Association (IMWA).
EACH YEAR THE IMWA GIVE US THE HILARIOUS HOOTENANNY, OR EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT OF THE CAR OF THE YEAR AWARD, IN WHICH A GROUP OF MOTORING JOURNALISTS GATHER TO PICK THE BEST CAR OF THE YEAR, WITHOUT ACTUALLY PICKING THE BEST CAR OF THE YEAR.
That's not to say there is anything wrong with the C4 Picasso, it's a perfectly good car, and definitely the MPV of the year.
But to say it's the very best of the lot just goes some way to highlight the flaws in a selection process which omits the likes of Audi or BMW, who make superior models and have brought out some of the greatest cars of all time in this calendar year.
There was much speculation that the VW Golf would win too, but is the VW Golf better than the Golf GTi? Of course it's not.
The whole process is completely bonkers, and revolves around the reasonably priced, rather than the very best.
So from now on the Car of the Year Award should be renamed the Reasonably Priced and Affordable Car of the Year Awards.
One of my cars of the year has been one of my most eagerly anticipated of the year, too.
The Subaru Forester is one of those rare beasts that ticks all the boxes.
It is beautiful, aggressive, rugged, high performing and cheap. For a car of its kind to get all that performance and power, as well as authentic off road capabilities, and the most thrilling badge in motoring, sure says something about the latest offering.
There are two 2.0 litre engines for buyers, a XE petrol power house which pops out 150bhp, and splendid 147 bhp turbo diesel X.
All of the powertrains are 4-cylinder horizontally opposed boxer units and the diesel especially has masses of torque at low revs ( ideal for towing or off-roaming) while it's smooth at cruising speeds. There is a one size fits all suspension set up across the range which was excellent on all terrain.
And the other great thing about the Forester is that it is so posh.
Any old country dweller can drive a Range Rover, but a Forester shows a bit of mischief, along with a twinkle in the eye.
The fourth generation Forester is taller, wider and longer than its predecessor which brings practicality to a whole new level, making it an ideal family car.
The elevated driving position has been hailed as best in class which is not compromised in the rear – with enough room for three six footers.
Boot capacity is a gargantuan 505 litres and with no lip to negotiate – lugging akward loads is much easier. The Forester also shows a beautiful symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive technology, which handles as good as any off-roader I've driven.
It can seem a little jumpy on take-off, but this is all part of the fun, and out on the open road it's as poised as a stallion in full gallop. The Subaru Forester starts at a very agreeable €34,995, but it won't win any Car of the Year award ... it's far better than that.