Desirable dozen show their class in running to be voted UK Car of the Year
- Credit: Hyundai
The UK Car of the Year contenders have been whittled down to the 12 category winners which are now vying for the top accolade. Motoring editor Andy Russell looks at the class winners.
Cars from 10 different manufacturers have been hailed best-in-class after the first round of voting in the UK Car of the Year Awards 2017.
With the winners of the 12 categories now decided, the successful models go on to battle it out for the title of UK Car of the Year 2017.
Winning their first UK Car of the Year Awards – supported by Cox Automotive, whose UK brands include Manheim and Motors.co.uk – were Hyundai, Toyota, Renault and SEAT.
Established in 2014, the UK Car of the Year Awards are voted for by a panel of 27 leading motoring journalists with 12 cars selected from 56 that were entered into the competition.
In the best small hatch class, the Hyundai Ioniq beat off stiff competition. Recognised for being the pioneer of offering three electrified eco drivetrains, the Ioniq was praised by the judges for its green powertrains, combined with a chassis that delivers a good driving experience and its stylish body design.
The fourth generation of Toyota's Prius was voted best family car, hailed by the judges for its spaciousness, enormous boot, standard equipment and being genuinely fun – completing the shift from 'hybrid' car to mainstream.
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Renault's five-seat Scénic and seven-seat Grand Scénic have been named best multi-purpose vehicle. The five-seat Scénic and seven-seat Grand Scénic were praised for space for large families, new level of practicality, pleasant environment and showing Renault's new-found confidence.
The popular category of best crossover saw the SEAT Ateca took the honours. The compact SUV was singled out for its rewarding driving experience, practicality and keen pricing – a 'new standard-setter in the crossover class'.
The UK Car of the Year Awards 2017 proved fruitful for two German manufacturers, as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche claimed two prizes apiece.
In the best executive car category, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class took top spot, while the S-Class Cabriolet was hailed as best cabriolet.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class was recognised for its class, comfort, technology and quality while the S-Class Cabriolet was praised for its good looks, comfort and driving dynamics.
The judges agreed the E-Class 'sets new standards for tech and comfort' and has 'the best executive class interior in the industry and an exterior that's rediscovered its former elegance.'
On the S-Class Cabriolet, it was noted that 'this drop-top wins on looks alone, but it's also comfortable, capable and great to drive.'
The Porsche pairing of the mid-engined 718 Cayman and Boxster were voted best coupe and best sports car respectively.
After winning the title of best luxury car in 2015 with its Ghost, Rolls-Royce once again triumphed in the category with the Dawn drophead coupé.
At the other end of the driving spectrum, Ford reclaimed the best performance car crown with the Focus RS, having previously won the category in 2014 with the Fiesta ST.
The best estate car was judged to be Volvo's V90, winning praise for its mixture of style, practicality and desirability, along with its touchscreen control system and semi-autonomous drive technology.
The new large crossover category was won by the Jaguar F-Pace. The judges praised Jaguar's first SUV, and its best-selling vehicle ever, for its 'show-stopping' looks, agile handling and best-in-class residual values.
The overall UK Car of the Year 2017 will be announced on February 24. Previous winners of the award were the BMW i3 in 2014, BMW i8 in 2015 and Mazda MX-5 last year.
UK Car of the Year Awards 2017 category winners:
Best small hatch – Hyundai Ioniq.
Best family car – Toyota Prius.
Best executive car – Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Best luxury car – Rolls-Royce Dawn
Best estate car – Volvo V90.
Best multi-purpose vehicle – Renault Scénic/Grand Scénic.
Best crossover – SEAT Ateca.
Best large crossover – Jaguar F-Pace.
Best coupe – Porsche 718 Cayman.
Best cabriolet – Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet.
Best sports car – Porsche 718 Boxster.
Best performance car – Ford Focus RS.