ContractHireAndLeasing.com Car of the Year Awards 2016/17 shortlist
When it comes to voting outcomes, it’s fair to say that 2016 has been the epitome of unpredictable. Whether it was the EU referendum or US presidential election, socio-economic experts all predicted the results would go one way only for the outcome to be the exact opposite of whatever they were saying.
Motoring awards tend to go the same way. Whereas you may see the same old faces on the ballot and expect certain cars to win certain awards, every now and again there will be a result that will shock the industry.
Over many cups of coffee and countless agreements and protestations, our judging panel of motoring writers have compiled a shortlist for the ContractHireAndLeasing.com Car of the Year Awards 2016/17. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think should win:
- City Car of the Year
- Supermini of the Year
- Small Family Car of the Year
- Large Family Car of the Year
- Executive Car of the Year
- Luxury Car of the Year
- Small SUV of the Year
- Large SUV of the Year
- Convertible of the Year
- MPV of the Year
- Commercial Vehicle of the Year
- Green Car of the Year
- Performance Car of the Year
City Car of the Year
After a long overdue redesign, the Hyundai i10 was a giant leap forward from its predecessor. Lower, longer and wider than the outgoing model, we were impressed with its aesthetic, smooth engines and surprising refinement on the motorway.
The Volkswagen Up has almost everything you need – a respected badge, one of the best boot-size in the class and an engine that returns over 60mpg. What’s more it’s fun to drive, stylish looking, and even better than all of that is you can lease one for under £100.
The Smart city car has always been rather unique, but then when you add an electric folding roof to the mix, what you get is real pocket-sized, city-based fun in the sun (when it does shine that is). It’s the UK’s smallest and cheapest convertible. What else is there to say?
Supermini of the Year
It’s fair to say that Hyundai has a pretty good handle on the small car market. The i20 exemplifies that by offering sharp styling and a surprisingly spacious interior. Add a wide range of engines and that means there’s something for everyone.
Superminis are often defined by their low running costs, impressive space and manoeuvrability. The C3 adds comfort to that list and succeeds admirably. Efficient and with a decent amount of equipment and a stylish interior, it’s a great lease.
Offering function over flair, the Suzuki Baleno is the kind of car you might go for if you need something that’s comfortable, frugal, practical and good value. Amazing interior space, compact exterior, zesty drive and value for money mean it’s the rational choice.
Small Family Car of the Year
2016 has proved to be a fresh start for the French manufacturer, with the Renault Megane offering driver’s unique French style, a great drive, and improved quality over previous models. With decent lease rates and best in class running costs, the Megane deserves your attention.
Occupying the ‘functional’ side of the Fiat philosophy, the Tipo proved to be a capable, spacious, economical and well equipped car when we took it for a drive. Lacking in some areas (in-car tech) but excelling in others (class-leading space) it’s a sensible no-fuss option.
We were thoroughly impressed when we reviewed the Mazda 3 – not only did it offer a strong driving experience, excellent economy and a distinctive design but its entertaining handling and powerful diesel engine proved to be the complete package.
Large Family Car of the Year
Stylish looks, high class cabin, excellent engines, the A5 Sportback has everything you’d expect from Audi. Combining efficiency with performance, the A5 has been the king of the sector for a long time. Could it continue to dominate?
Doing their very best to not only change perceptions but improve with each release, Skoda continue to be a brand that offer quality cars at outstanding prices. The Superb is no different, with a premium feel and an affordable price-tag making it an enticing offer for anyone.
A good-looking and economical alternative to the key players in this class, the Kia Optima proved to be a likeable car offering excellent value for money when we tested it. It might not be your first choice, but it is a great choice.
Executive Car of the Year
With a more exclusive image than our other shortlisted executive cars, the Jaguar XF could be the epitome of the word ‘executive’. Great to drive, fantastic handling, comfortable and well equipped, it’s everything a car in this category should be.
The 'E' in E-Class could stand for elegant but it could also stand for effortless. At any speed and on any route you will be treated to possibly the most relaxing, calm and serene drive you will ever experience. Needless to say we were very impressed.
Showing plenty of promise, the S90 proved that Volvo does executive and they do it well. Comfortable and spacious, with the type of lavish cabin quality you’ll get nowhere else, the Volvo S90 is the breath of fresh Scandinavian air we’ve been searching for.
Luxury Car of the Year
The Aston Martin DB11 takes up where the ageing DB9 left off. Don’t let that fool you though, as it’s more than just a fresh face. It uses a lightweight aluminium construction and gets a raucous 5.2-litre V12 but, crucially for a luxury car, it’s as comfortable as it is opulent.
Offering looks, performance, comfort and quality, the S-Class Coupe is many drivers go-to car in the luxury sector and rightly so. Bringing technology to the forefront via rear-seat entertainment and wifi as standard it’s not only luxury but thoroughly practical.
Maserati is renowned for its lavish super-saloons and agile coupes, but the Levante is its first foray into the ever-popular SUV market. It gets a handcrafted interior which stands up against any German rival, and put it up against a Porsche Cayenne and it stands up in the power stakes too.
Small SUV of the Year
It takes some confidence to walk into one of the most hotly contested segment, with your first attempt at an SUV, and blow everyone away but that’s exactly what Seat have done. Closer to a traditional car than any SUV has managed before, we think you’ll be seeing lots of the Ateca.
Audi has something for every segment, but they have been noticeably absent from the small SUV offering for some time. Enter the Q2. Though a bit of a firm ride, the Audi Q2 offers a classy and user-friendly cabin, and impressive handling.
Spacious, practical, classy, we can see why more and more people are enquiring about the Tiguan. Though driving it is effortless, and it can even go off-road in some specs, comfort is its biggest priority meaning it’s perfect for the family.
Large SUV of the Year
A large SUV that is the epitome of premium, the Jaguar F Pace proved to be great to drive with some amazing handling. With a mix of engines offering either an economical option or a powerful V6, it means any drive is both comfortable and exciting.
Available in America for years, the Ford Edge finally made its debut in the UK this year and impressed us all. Sleek yet brawny, the family-sized SUV has a practical interior, is comfortable and really easy to drive.
The Skoda Kodiaq has got a lot of people talking and a lot of our readers interested, and rightly so. Featuring the largest boot in its class, and a practical and easy drive, the brand’s first seven-seater has enough specs and performance to suit any leasing profile.
Convertible of the Year
Offering the perfect balance of handling and comfort as well as a sporty-feeling and fun drive, the Fiat 124 Spider brought classic looks and the laid-back sensibilities of the Mediterranean to UK shores. Easy on the eye, effortless to drive and perfect for cruising in comfort.
Like any other BMW, the 4 Series convertible not only has impressive engines and offers a great drive but it is also sleek and stylish. Even more impressive is the fact the roof can be raised or lowered while moving, it just takes up a lot of space.
The Evoque convertible is the epitome of divisive – you either love it or hate it on looks alone. But at the end of the day it’s still a Range Rover Evoque and that means it’s a decent drive with a spacious interior and premium looks.
MPV of the Year
Having dominated the MPV segment for so long now, the Grand C4 Picasso remains a go-to automobile for many leasee. This facelift offers a range of engines, comfort, refinement and outstanding visibility.
Another facelift for an established and respected MPV model, the Zafirra Tourer offers everything you’ve come to expect as well as updated infotainment and impressively economical engines.
Taking some styling cues from the current SUV craze, the Renault Grand Scenic has great looks, is cheap to run, well equipped and is cavernous inside. It is everything an MPV should be.
Commercial Vehicle of the Year
Entering its eighth generation, the Hilux remains the stalwart of the commercial vehicle and pick-up segment. Looking over those eight models, the Hilux exemplifies the evolution of the pick-up with this model offering a car-like cabin and comfortable ride as well as huge load capacity.
Practical, safe, enjoyable to drive, and car-like interior comfort, the Ford Ranger stands out as a great example of the evolution the pick-up has undergone in the UK over recent years. Smooth engines, dependable, tough, and great load carrying capacity, it’s a stand-out CV.
This mid-size van is a good size, and offers fleets excellent fuel economy figures as well as a lot of useful tech features such as ‘hands-free’ sensor opening side-doors. With a load range from 5.1 cubic metres, the Dispatch is a smooth and refined drive perfect for most deliveries.
Green Car of the Year
Get past the divisive looks and there’s a lot to like about the Prius. It’s a refined hybrid that is great to drive and is the epitome of reliable and on top of that it is very well equipped.
The Ioniq is a statement of intent from Hyundai as they look to dominate the green segment by offering hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full EV powertrains. Easy and relaxing to drive, outstanding quality and low running costs makes whatever your choice a good one.
Looking like a beefed up estate car, the Niro is not only Kia’s first crossover it is also their first hybrid. And for a first attempt we were very impressed. It combines many strengths in terms of refinement, practicality, value and safety to be a serious lease option.
Performance Car of the Year
Despite contentious issues surrounding the noise (or lack thereof) of the engine, when it comes to out and out performance, few can compete with the Porsche 718 Boxster. Even better you can use a Boxster all-year round thanks to affordable running costs and decent boot space.
The look of the Audi TT RS is very deceiving, because underneath that simple design is a small supercar dying to break out thanks to its incredible 335bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine. Drive it, enjoy it.
What can we say about the Ford Focus RS that hasn’t been said a billion times already? It’s mind-bendingly fast, stunning to drive, well equipped, relatively practical and comfortable enough to be used every day. We love it.
Stay tuned to ContractHireAndLeasing.com, the winners will be announced soon.