A Red Dot award is one of the most sought-after seals of approval for good design, with a panel of design professionals meeting once a year to evaluate the latest products and concepts. All of the cars in the automotive category are judged on their innovation, functionality, quality, ergonomics and durability. Scoop a Red Dot Design Award and you know that your product not only looks good, but it works, too.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
The Alfa Romeo Giulia is the automotive equivalent of having your cake and eating it. It looks good, drives well (especially in Quadrifoglio guise) and ticks the ‘I’ve owned an Alfa Romeo’ box.
The jury said: “With its coupé-like silhouette, the Giulia makes an impression that is as dynamic as it is elegant. Furthermore, the improved weight distribution and the rear-wheel drive have a positive effect on its driving performance.”
BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo
You might disagree with the Red Dot judges use of the word “elegance” when describing the BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo, but then you’re probably not the target audience. This thing will sell in huge numbers in China and South Korea.
The jury said: “A successful combination of elegance, comfort and sportiness in the design of both the interior and exterior characterise the BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo.”
It’s rather sad to find the BMW i3 still flying the flag for design and innovation in the electric car segment – isn’t it time we found some new eco heroes? Five years on from the start of production, the i3 remains a key player in the premium EV segment.
The jury said: “The BMW i3S convinces with a lively, expressive appearance that brings sporty and emission-free driving into visual harmony.”
It’s a compact SUV with a BMW badge, so this thing ticks all the right boxes. See a BMW X2 on the road today and it really stands out. How long before it fades into the background when every Tom, Dick and Harriet has traded in their Evoque for the latest novelty act.
The jury said: “The BMW X2 derives its visual presence from its distinctive exterior design with dynamic, sportive proportions and lines.”
Ferrari 812 Superfast
The replacement for the Ferrari F12 is not only Superfast, it’s also superfly. That’s according to Red Dot, anyway.
The jury said: “The 812 Superfast already conveys its speed and power at first glance, owing to its radical, emotionally appealing sports car design.”
Ferrari FXX-K Evo
The FXX-K Evo is an evolution of the XX programme launched in 2005, with cars developed for research and innovation purposes. Like previous Ferrari XX cars, it’s not road-legal, but aimed at Ferrari’s select-group of drivers who are keen to be involved in the development of a ‘closed-wheel laboratory car’
The jury said: “The FXX-K Evo, with its aerodynamic, assertive design, visualises the extraordinary technical performance qualities of a supercar.”
For the fourth consecutive year, Ferrari has received the Red Dot ‘Best of the Best’ award, this time for the Portofino. The 3.9-litre V8 twin-turbocharged Portofino is Ferrari’s entry-level model and it’ll hit a top speed just shy of 200mph.
The jury said: “Embodying an impressive evolutionary advancement, the Ferrari Portofino fascinates with an exciting design language. It comes across as a fascinating sculptural statement. The integration of the retractable hardtop presents an optimal solution. The haunting elegance is further underscored by the uncompromising quality in material and workmanship. The Ferrari Portofino is the perfect embodiment of novel approaches that point into the future.”
Unlike many compact crossovers, the Hyundai Kona is based on its own platform rather than something borrowed from a supermini. As a result, it rides and drives better than many of its rivals. Some will love the styling, while others won’t.
The jury said: “This compact SUV, with its powerful, modern appearance is convincing. The arrangement of lights on three levels characterises the distinctive front.”
Hyundai Nexo FCEV
Another interesting Hyundai, this time in the form of the Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. This former concept car is entering production and is up for the prestigious World Car of the Year award.
The jury said: “The Nexo is in tune with the spirit of the times with the combination of fuel-cell drive and SUV vehicle. An aerodynamic design imparts a calm, powerful and simultaneously elegant impression. A concise detail is the continuous LED strip on the grille.”
As if to prove that Red Dot isn’t totally focused on high-end vehicles and exotic supercars, here’s a dose of reality courtesy of the Kia Picanto. Prices range from £9,720 to £14,720.
The jury said: “With the appearance of an agile small car, the Kia Picanto offers a cabin with ergonomic comfort and a great deal of space for passengers and luggage.”
Sadly, you can’t buy a Kia Stinger for less than £10,000, but it does come with the same seven-year warranty. You may have heard us mention Kia’s warranty before. But, like every episode of Fawlty Towers, it’s worth repeating.
The jury said: “The design of the Kia Stinger brings the classic features of a Gran Turismo car to perfection. It succeeds in balancing the outstanding performance and an appearance that is both elegant and dynamic. Impressive visual features merge with sophisticated, premium-level inner values, elevating this vehicle class onto a new level. The luxuriously equipped Kia Stinger offers relaxed driving even on long journeys.”
We’re feeling supersonic, give us Kia Stonic. Said Liam Gallagher, probably. The Rio-based compact crossover is a cool thing. Said Noel Gallagher, never.
The jury said: “The Kia Stonic makes a self-confident and sturdy impression with its distinctive exterior design. The design of the interior focuses on the driver and offers a good visual overview.”
For us, the McLaren 720S is the current benchmark supercar. This conclusion follows track time and a week living with a 720S as a daily-driver. It’s so good, the £208,000 price tag seems like a bargain.
The jury said: “The McLaren 720S fascinates with its outstanding design language and the manner it responds to the road. Its design is marked by several innovative solutions that perfectly incorporate the brand philosophy. This sports car is the expression of a design that skilfully breaks with our perception to create something new. Each individual element has its specific significance, creating a spectacular overall impression.”
The Nissan Leaf is the world’s best-selling electric car, and by our reckoning it’ll top the EV tree for a little while yet. The Leaf offers a range of 168 miles on the real-world WLTP test or an impressive 258 miles on the WLTP City test.
The jury said: “The new Nissan Leaf is attractive with its clearly defined exterior, which imparts an objective impression.”
The Raeton CC is a medium-size four-door family saloon built in China for the Chinese market. Power is sourced from a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The jury said: “The basic design concept of the Raeton CC is convincing. Furthermore, it displays pleasant detail solutions in both the exterior and the interior design.”
Seat’s first compact crossover is a good one, with the Arona offering a compelling blend of practicality, good driving manners and, if you opt for one of the higher trim levels, a certain amount of style.
The jury said: “The Seat Arona convinces with its autonomous appearance, which enables impressive personalisation options due to the many colour combinations offered.”
Alternatively, if you don’t fancy an Arona, the Volkswagen Group also offers the Skoda Karoq. Red Dot or not, the decision to drop the Skoda Yeti is still creating red mist in some quarters.
The jury said: “The Karoq gains merit with a spacious interior and an elegantly appealing exterior, achieved by use of crystalline details.”
Staying within the Volkswagen Group for a moment, here’s the VW Polo. This is a terrific supermini, feeling more like a ‘mini Golf’ than a Ford Fiesta rival. The Seat Ibiza is just as good, but it hasn’t received a Red Dot award.
The jury said: “With its highly successful new concept, the Polo makes a self-confident impression with its clear design and newly constructed proportions. It gains additional merit with a high degree of networking in the cockpit.”
It’s hard to believe that the T-Roc is essentially a replacement for the Volkswagen Scirocco – that probably tells you all you need to know about the car industry. Crossovers and SUVs rule the world.
The jury said: “With its expressive exterior design, the T-Roc makes a self-confident and pleasing impression. The interior is convincing with lots of space and a digitalised cockpit, offering considerable comfort.”
The Volvo XC40 is a rare example of a compact SUV you can love, feeling every inch the baby XC90 it looks like from the outside. It’s safe, good to drive and blessed with a sumptuous and smart interior. Believe the hype – the XC40 is very good.
The jury said: “From a design perspective, this compact SUV blends in harmoniously with the product family. In terms of technology, the Volvo XC40 convinces with a comprehensive range of equipment.”
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