Looking back at last year, one 4x4 still really grips me
MY pick of last year’s newcomers, the Volkswagen Golf, swept up the major prizes this year. Following its European Car of the Year title it won the World Car of the Year title and became the first foreign car to win the Japanese COTY title. Its voting score of 504 out of 600 was a new record.
Do female motorists have a different view?
A women-only panel of 18 critics gave the Ford Fiesta one litre Ecoboost its Women’s World Car of the Year title. Oddly, given the eco-cred of that gong, their runners-up were the Porsche Boxster S, Audi Allroad and Range Rover. Hmm.
BMW’s MINI celebrated its millionth model from the Oxford factory since 2006, with the total since 2001 sure to pass two million any day now. A new, larger Mini is on sale in Spring.
This month eight cars (ex Dick Skipworth, Ecurie Ecosse, with 1950s Le Mans victories) were sold by Bonhams. A 1952 Jaguar C-Type made £2.9m and a ‘56 D-Type made £2.6m while the team’s three-car transporter Commer made £1.8m – to the same US buyer.
Renault celebrated the 20th birthday of the Twingo – the best French car never to be imported to Britain. SEAT celebrated 60 years with a press release which omits its original links with FIAT. The 1953 1400 saloon sold for the equivalent of £32,500. Now it is part of Volkswagen Group. Production has passed 16 million.
My own picks from the new cars I have tried this year include the Mazda3 (reviewed on page 8), the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Cayman and Dacia Duster. I can’t ignore the SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia, versions of the Golf. The fastest accelerating car I drove was Audi’s RS7, which has staggering pace. At the moment I am driving a Chinese-sourced MG3, which is worse than I’d expected.
My pick, money no object, would be the Range Rover Sport. It is cheaper and nimbler than a Range Rover and a leap ahead of the old Discovery-based Sport. It will go anywhere, smartly and efficiently. The picture shows it descending icy grids on a ski jump at Schonwald, in the Black Forest.
DEBUT: SEAT’s first car, the 1400 from 1953. The manufacturer is celebrating its 60th birthday. Main image, Range Rover Sport.