Lightning strikes twice for VW's winning Golf
Arguably this car means more to Toyota than Subaru, for it represents a revival of fun and spirit in an otherwise functionally-orientated brand. It’s important that within such a successful auto giant there beats a sporting heart, to show it’s not just another corporate focused on fuel economy, functionality and financial results.
Ford B-Max – 3 points
A smart format with a good choice of engines that already proved themselves in the Fiesta range, it’s a family-friendly and relatively affordable high-roofed supermini. Ford’s new technology package works well in the new car but the switchgear is too cluttered for ease-of-use.
Dynamically it maintains the blue oval’s ability to offer an engaging drive regardless of the shape or size of the car. Overall a much better car to drive than to look at.
Renault Clio – 3 points
Part of my fondness for this Renault is due to the fact that I expected very little from this car. However, both in terms of its sharper design and its – albeit slightly too soft – driving dynamics, the car impressed.
The steering is a little light but it fits with the nimble character of the car. The Grand Tour version is a smart edition, offering decent practicality with good looks.
Mercedes A-Class – 2 points
This is the car Mercedes should have built first time around when it deigned to create an entry-level model. Its handling is much crisper than what was there before, and the mix of engines offers a choice of decent fuel consumption or outright power.
The interior is well-designed – if not class-leading – while the look should appeal to an audience previously untapped by the three-pointed star.
Volvo V40 – 2 points
A very smart design is matched by interior comfort that delivers in terms of premium tastes and expectations. Again, Volvo deserves credit for its commitment to safety technology, although many others have now adopted similar systems to the likes of city safe.
Dynamically the car copes well with changing road conditions, the ride is comfortable and in keeping with its aim to offer some premium-like comfort in a smaller frame.
Peugeot 208 – 1 point
The look harks back to the good old days of the 205 and 206. Little tricks such as the smaller steering wheel help make it feel fun to drive. It’s a solid effort that feels more composed on the road than many of its rivals.