Wheels COTY 2023: Who missed out

Wondering why a particular car isn’t in contention for COTY 2023? Wonder no more…

2023 BMW X 1 S Drive 20 I SUV Blue 1 2211 Bmwx 1

While Wheels Car of the Year is open to any new car that has launched in the previous 12 months, the reality is that with so much new metal hitting our shores, we simply can’t throw every eligible contender through our rigorous testing regime.

COTY testing takes place over five days and every car is scrupulously assessed and driven by our seven judges. So, to give our team enough time to do the job properly, we need to ensure the size of the field is manageable. This year’s group comprises 17 different models, for example, represented by 26 individual cars.

The result of all this is that simply making the starting grid at COTY is an acknowledgment of excellence in and of itself, but it also means some tough decisions need to be made.


As the 2023 COTY story evolves, the list of stories below will grow. Keep an eye on this page for more, or find it all at our COTY page.


Always a controversial topic. It's linked above, but if you need a refresher on how we define eligibility and our testing criteria, the What's new for 2023? story is where you need to be.

In: Nissan X-Trail

The first cull is the easiest

Eligible cars must be brand-new additions to the Aussie marketplace or fresh versions of an existing nameplate that have been updated with a generational change.

A new-generation Nissan X-Trail, for example, is eligible as it offers a new platform, fresh cabin and new engines, but a Tesla Model 3 is not given it’s largely the same car that we’ve previously tested at COTY. That also explains why popular models such as the Toyota RAV4 and Kia Carnival aren’t included each year.

2023 Subaru Wrx V Toyota Gr Yaris Comparison Review A Brook 220519 3773
Out: Subaru WRX

Easiest, but not easy

Where things get trickier is cars like the BMW X1 and Subaru WRX. While they’re eligible and are solid performers, they didn’t quite impress our road testing team enough to warrant automatic inclusion. In those instances, cars are put to our judging panel for a yes/no vote – and the majority rules.

Other cars just missed out due to timing, while one car - the BMW i4 – was unavailable owing to major supply issues (with some customers now having to wait until early 2024 to receive their order).

We’ve divided up the cars that just missed the cut below. If you’d like more detail on why a model didn’t make the starting grid, ask away in the comments.

Arrived too late

BMW M2Ineos Grenadier
BMW M3 TouringLexus RX
BMW i4 (No test car available)Mazda CX-60
Citroen C5XMercedes-Benz EQS
Cupra BornMercedes-Benz EQE
Honda Civic Type RMG4
Hyundai Ioniq 6Toyota GR Corolla
2022 CUPRA Born 762442
Just missed out: Cupra Born

Ruled out by judging panel

Aston Martin DBXKia Niro
BMW 2 SeriesLDV Mifa 9
BMW X1Mercedes-Benz EQA
Cupra LeonMercedes-Benz EQB
Cupra AtecaNissan Pathfinder
Honda HR-VSubaru WRX
Jeep Grand Cherokee LSuzuki S-Cross


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