Autocar has announced the winners of its inaugural Britain’s Best Cars Awards, with the category winners able to call themselves the country’s best cars – to drive, own and really cherish.
These are awards with a difference that sidestep the typical and ever-expanding categorisation of cars by size – such as city cars, superminis, hatchbacks, estates, saloons and SUV-coupés. Instead they name the very top of the crop not bound by typical conventions.
The small team of judges picked winners based not just on a car’s objective merits but also on more nuanced and subjective factors such as how likeable and enjoyable a car is. All winners are cars that everyday motorists want to own and drive.
Among those celebrated by Autocar, the Peugeot e-208 is recognised as Best Electric Car, the Volkswagen Golf GTI as Best All-Rounder and the Mazda MX-5 as Best Fun Car.
Other winners include the BMW 330e for Best Company Car, the Toyota Corolla for Best Hybrid Car and the Land Rover Defender for Best SUV. The Best Family Car award goes to the Skoda Octavia Estate while Citroën’s Berlingo is Autocar’s pick of the large cars. The Ford Fiesta supermini is our Best Small Car winner.
Alongside the 10 individual cars celebrated (see the full list below), there are two extra awards. The Honda E is crowned winner of the Best Car Tech and Toyota is the manufacturer that impressed most across the board this year.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS AND WHY THEY WON:
Best Company Car: BMW 330e
Our judges said: “Your bank manager will love it, but you will even more: the 330e is a car of quite extraordinary all-round abilities.”
Best Fun Car: Mazda MX-5
Our judges said: “It’s affordable and effortlessly entertaining. There is, quite simply, no way to have more fun on four wheels for less.”
Best SUV: Land Rover Defender
Our judges said: “No other SUV can claim to be as versatile across such a wide price spectrum, nor as capable on the road as off it.”
Best Dream Car: Alpine A110
Our judges said: “It’s hilarious fun delivered in effusive and accessible fashion. A car to stand the test of time.”
Best Electric Car: Peugeot e-208
Our judges said: “It looks great, performs strongly, is fun to drive and is well priced for an EV, plus it has enough range to quell anxiety.”
Best All-Rounder: Volkswagen Golf GTI
Our judges said: “It’s desirable, fast and exciting yet also smart, usable and less shouty than its rivals. Feels ready for just about anything.”
Best Small Car: Ford Fiesta
Our judges said: “With agile handling, characterful engines and a pervading sense of fun, the Fiesta is the standout driver’s choice.”
Best Family Car: Skoda Octavia Estate
Our judges said: “Now looks smarter than ever yet retains its outstanding practicality, comfort, value for money and ease of use.”
Best Hybrid Car: Toyota Corolla 2.0 Hybrid
Our judges said: “Responsive, keen-handling and frugal, it’s a hybrid with as broad a spread of dynamic qualities as any conventional car.”
Best Large Car: Citroën Berlingo
Our judges said: “It can meet your every need yet doesn’t feel drab. Well priced, brilliantly thought out and appeals as an anti-status symbol.”
Best Car Tech: Honda E
Our judges said: “The E’s futuristic exterior looks are backed up by the kind of clever technology to which even Tesla would doff its cap.”
Best Manufacturer: Toyota
Our judges said: “Toyota has transformed itself into a maker of exciting enthusiast-focused cars as well as dynamic everyday models.”
Autocar editor Mark Tisshaw commented: “The experience and expertise of our testers means they are uniquely placed to offer great car-buying advice from the perspective of car lovers. As well as being great to drive and own, our award winners are lovable cars that owners can cherish.
“But the best rule is always to have very few rules, and that’s why we haven’t followed traditional categories but rather reflected how people actually buy cars across different categories and considering all sorts of – sometimes contradictory – criteria. The awards reflect how differently people choose and buy cars these days.”
In the future, these new awards will become part of an expanded main Autocar Awards that will return to its traditional calendar slot in May 2021. This inaugural set of Britain’s Best Cars Awards winners will also be celebrated at next May’s Autocar Awards.