'Beetle' bugs opposition
DUNE buggy builder Mike Sharp felt no surprise when Volkswagen came up trumps in the 2011 Australia's Best Car Awards yesterday.
For decades, Toowoomba's speed-mad beachcomber has converted old Volkswagen Beetles into some of the quickest and most resilient beasts on four wheels.
Volkswagen took out five of the 15 top spots in yesterday's awards, but Mr Sharp said the brand's real triumph had been overlooked.
"I got my first dune buggy back in 1968 and I've been playing with them even longer," he said.
"For a rough trip, they will do better than any $150,000 four-wheel-drive you can get off the showroom floor."
Any self-doubt was put to rest when Mr Sharp crossed the Simpson Desert in three days in one of his own creations.
"They've the best-designed off-road suspension systems straight from the factory," he said.
"They have a one-piece chassis, all the parts are heavy duty and cheap to replace and the old Beetles have a one-piece chassis with everything on it."
2011 AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS
Presented by the Australian Automobile Association:
- Light Car under: $20,000: Kia Rio Si
- Light Car over $20,000: Volkswagen Polo 66 TDI Comfortline
- Small Car under $35,000: Volkswagen Golf 90 TSI Trendline
- Small Car over $35,000: Lexus CT200H Prestige
- Medium Car under $50,000: Volkswagen Jetta 118 TSI Comfortline
- Medium Car over $50,000: Mercedes Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde
- Large Car under $60,000: Ford FG Falcon Eco LPI XT
- Large Car over $60,000: Audi A6 3.0 TDI Quattro
- People Mover: Hyundai iMax
- Sports Car under $80,000: BMW 135i Coupe
- Sports Car over $80,000: Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe
- SUV under $40,000: Volkswagen Tiguan 103 TDI
- SUV over $40,000: Kia Sorento Sli
- Luxury SUV over $60,000: Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI
- All Terrain 4WD: Land Rover Discovery 4 SDV6 SE