Australia has one of the most diverse new car markets in the world. Currently there are more than 50 active brands vying for your attention, most offering a wide range of model, trim and drivetrain options.

It’s a daunting level of choice for the prospective buyer, and one that can make the journey to new car ownership incredibly complex.

To streamline that process, the editorial team has, since 2012, compiled a list of recommended vehicles across appropriate lifestyle categories.

Drawing from the expertise of our experienced journalists, this truncated guide aims to tailor your search toward those vehicles we feel are the best of their respective type.

There are basic parameters that define each category which in the main match the rules under which defines its new and used car lifestyle categories. To qualify, new cars must satisfy the category criteria and be available via recognised OEM (manufacturer or approved importer) channels. Vehicles that go on sale after September 1, 2014 will qualify for consideration in our 2015 awards.

We nominated our number one choice in each category, but we believe every car nominated has merit.

In essence, these vehicles are the best of the new car crop, and a shortlist from which you can choose with confidence.

Australian new car buyers are bombarded with advertising, marketing messages, new car reviews and hard specification data. Deciding which new car to buy can be a difficult process.

Debuted in 2012 and back for 2013, recommends is intended to be an easy-to-understand, first-hand critical new car guide via which you can narrow your search.

The crew drives literally hundreds of cars each year. New releases, both local and abroad, seven-day tests in the cut and thrust of normal traffic and longer-term test periods that seek to approximate the ownership experience.

In many cases our impressions are based on multiple drives of multiple variants of each car in each category. In addition, the crew also test drives the best cars back to back across a range of categories.

Once again, we've used this knowledge to name our five top cars across a range of lifestyle-based categories, so new car buyers can short circuit their research and fast track their buying decision.

The cars named as ' recommends' are the best of breed in their respective classes and represent canny choices for new car shoppers -- whether you're shopping for a first car or a performance icon....