Christmas is still more than a week away, and New Year a further week beyond that, but as far as Drivesouth is concerned, this issue is the end of the year.
We mark year's end with news of New Zealand's 2012 Car of the Year (COTY), the identity of which was revealed at a gala event in Auckland on Wednesday.
As luck, and maybe a bit of good judgement, would have it, Drivesouth happened to have a road test of the new COTY winner up its editorial sleeve, and so it is a delight to mark the announcement with both a news piece, and our impressions of the wining car.
Better yet, along with a test of the winning car (the Toyota 86), we bring you a test of a variant of the medium-car class winner, the BMW 3-series, which was also the safety award winner.
As you would hope, given the honours each has been accorded, both the Toyota 86 and BMW 3-series impressed me hugely on test. So too have all of the other class winners, listed alongside this week's story.
Drivesouth now goes into recess for three weekends, returning on January 12 with part one of a two-part series in which senior contributor Richard Bosselman and I look back on our favourite cars of 2012.
These aren't cars of the year as such - that's what this issue is all about. What they are, though, are cars that, for various reasons, have made a big impression on each of us during 2012.
As we head for the festive break, I'd like to issue two festive season challenges to all readers.
The first is the same one I issued last year: set aside time over the Christmas/New Year break to enjoy some motoring or car-related fun. It could involve a book, movie, computer, or better yet a real car (or motorbike) on which to take an adventurous trip.
The second is to drive or ride with due care and attention, and with even more than the usual amount of courtesy I am sure you already display: if widely deployed, such care, attention and courtesy will go a long way to making this a safe, low-stress motoring Christmas and New Year.
Last, and certainly not least, I'd like to sign off for the year by wishing readers all the best for an enjoyable festive season.
I deliver this wish not only on my own account, but on behalf of the whole Drivesouth team, taking in the editorial crew of Richard Bosselman, Catherine Pattison, Sam Stevens and myself as writers, Tom McKinlay and the rest of the ODT features production team, Tina Stevens and the advertising crew, and Phil Skelton, our master of cover design.
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