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The 20 best car names ever

The 20 best car names ever

The 20 best car names everOh no, it’s another one of those ‘best of’ lists. But hear us out, because we’re diving deep into the world of car names, and specifically the greatest names of all-time.

We’ve selected 20 of the best and have included the Oxford English Dictionary definition for the majority of our choices. What’s in a name? It’s time to find out…

Ford ThunderbirdThe 20 best car names ever

If Jeremy Clarkson is to be believed, this is the greatest car name of all time. In one of his books, he said: “The trouble is that most of the best words have already been used by the Americans. Surely, the best name of them is ‘Thunderbird’, which says it all. Roll up at a party, announce that you have a Thunderbird and when you go, all the best-looking girls will go too.”

Ford had considered over 5,000 names before settling on Thunderbird, with a young stylist, Alden ‘Gib’ Giberson credited for the spark of inspiration. He had once lived in the southwest of America, where the legend of the Thunderbird was well-known. For this troubles, Giberson claimed a reward of $95 and a pair of trousers from Saks Fifth Avenue.

Mercury MarauderThe 20 best car names ever

“Marauder.” Noun, “A person who marauds; a raider.”

The Marauder name dates back to the late 1950s, when Ford introduced a range of V8 engines for the Mercury, Edsel and Lincoln brands. There was even a Super Marauder, complete with a trio of two-barrel carburetors and an output of 400hp. The Marauder became a Mercury model in its own right in the 1960s, culminating with the 302hp ‘hot rod’ of the new millennium, pitched directly at the Chevrolet Impala SS. With a Mustang Mach 1 heart, it was befitting of the Marauder name.

Ford MustangThe 20 best car names ever

“Mustang.” noun, “An American feral horse which is typically small and lightly built.”

It’s arguably one of the most famous car names in the world and one of a select few known only by its ‘surname’. Nobody’s 100% sure why the Mustang name was chosen. Was it a tribute to the P-51 fighter aircraft of WWII, a reference to that American feral horse, or even a nod to the Southern Methodist University Mustangs football team? Although the last theory is unlikely, one thing’s for sure: Ford nailed this one.

Plymouth BarracudaThe 20 best car names ever

“Barracuda.” Noun, “A large predatory tropical marine fish with a slender body and large jaws and teeth.”

John ‘Dick’ Samsen is known for his work on the original Ford Thunderbird and Plymouth Barracuda, and was indeed instrumental in the naming of the ‘Cuda. Speaking about the car’s development, he said: “The Plymouth Division came up with the name ‘Panda’ for the car, and when we designers made a fuss, told us to suggest names. My list of names included ‘Barracuda’, and it was chosen.” In 2015, Fiat Chrysler filed a trademark for the Barracuda name.

Dodge ChallengerThe 20 best car names ever

“Challenger.” Noun, “A person who engages in a contest.”

The Challenger name is intrinsically linked to Dodge’s answer to the Mustang and Camaro, but its origins date back to 1959 and the launch of the Silver Challenger. This special edition was based on the Dodge Coronet and arrived a decade before the more famous Challenger. In the meantime, Studebaker had launched its own Challenger, but the future belonged to Dodge. A starring role in ‘Vanishing Point’ played a pivotal role in cementing the legendary status of the name. “There goes the Challenger, being chased by the blue, blue meanies on wheels…”

Dodge ChargerThe 20 best car names ever

“Charger.” Noun, “A horse ridden by a knight or cavalryman.”

The Charger name made its debut on the 1964 Polara-based concept car, before being introduced as a nameplate on the first-generation Charger of 1966. The second-generation model, launched in 1969, laid the foundations for the creation of an American icon, before interest was renewed with the arrival of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ in 1979. The ‘General Lee’ became the most famous Charger in the world.

Dodge RampageThe 20 best car names ever

“Rampage.” Noun, “A period of violent and uncontrollable behaviour by a group of people.”

Barbarian, Invincible, Warrior, Titan, Blade, Raptor: just half a dozen examples of terribly muscular names given to pick-up trucks. But all of these are mere pansies compared to the might and majesty of the Dodge Rampage. The 1980s pick-up was also badged as the Plymouth Scamp, which doesn’t have the same amount of muscle. The Rampage name was resurrected for a 2006 concept, complete with a 5.7-litre Hemi engine.

Dodge/Chrysler ViperThe 20 best car names ever

“Viper.” Noun, “A venomous snake with large hinged fangs, typically having a broad head and stout body, with dark patterns on a lighter background.”

The Dodge Viper first appeared as a concept car in 1989, before making its production debut in 1992. Bob Lutz, then of the Chrysler Corporation, made no secret of his love of the Shelby Cobra, so it was no coincidence what this V10-engined sports car was named after a venomous snake. With letters and deposits pouring into Chrysler, Lutz assembled a team tasked with making the concept car a reality. They worked in room named ‘the snake pit’. How appropriate.

Jensen InterceptorThe 20 best car names ever

“Interceptor.” Noun, “A fast aircraft for stopping or repelling hostile aircraft.”

Enough of this American love-in, it’s time to give some credit to a selection of cars on the other side of the Atlantic. We’ll return to Clarkson for a moment, who is clearly torn on the subject of the best car name. Of the Interceptor, he said: “It’s the coolest name ever given to a car. ‘I’ll pick you up at eight. I’ll be in the Interceptor.’ Imagine being able to say that. Or even: ‘Darling. About tonight. Shall we take the Interceptor?’ It sends a shiver down your spine. Maserati is a good name. Thunderbird is even better. But the Interceptor? That’s the best of them all.”

Gilbern InvaderThe 20 best car names ever

“Invader.” Noun, “A person or group that invades a country, region, or other place.”

Giles Smith and Bernard Friese founded the Welsh carmaker Gilbern, each lending the first part of their forename to create the company name. A pretty cool approach, which puts us in mind of TVR and TreVorR Wilkinson. The Invader, which arrived in 1969, is probably one of the greatest car names in the world. Not bad for a small car company from Pontypridd.

Hillman AvengerThe 20 best car names ever

“Avenge.” Verb, “Inflict harm in return for (an injury or wrong done to oneself or another).”

Depending on your age, The Avengers will either conjure up images of Marvel Comics superheroes or a 1960s spy show. Scarlett Johansson or Diana Rigg? Whatever, the Avenger is one of the greatest car names ever to grace a bootlid. Or is it? Given the dictionary definition, is Avenger a suitable name for a family car? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Bristol FighterThe 20 best car names ever

“Fighter.” Noun, “A person or animal that fights,” or “A fast military aircraft designed for attacking other aircraft.”

Given Bristol’s aerospace heritage, it’s no surprise to find a catalogue of aeronautical-inspired names in its back-catalogue. The Bristol F2b Fighter was a First World War reconnaissance and fighter aircraft, but also a sports car unveiled in 2004. This gullwing coupe was powered by the same V10 found in the Viper and fewer than a dozen were ever built.

Lancia StratosThe 20 best car names ever

The Stratos name first appeared on the Bertone-styled Stratos Zero of 1970, before appearing on the Lancia Stratos HF in 1973.

In Greek, ‘stratos’ means ‘army’, and is also the name of an ancient Greek city. To some, it conjures up images of something you’d splash all over. But whatever, it just happens to be the name of one of the greatest rally cars of the 1970s.

Triumph SpitfireThe 20 best car names ever

“Spitfire.” Proper noun, “A single-seat, single-engined British fighter aircraft of the Second World War, designed by Reginald Mitchell and produced by the Supermarine company. It is particularly remembered for its role in the Battle of Britain.”

Choosing to name your sports car after one of the nation’s best-loved aircraft was an inspired move by Triumph, although we’re not sure it would have been quite so well received in Germany. “Der Spitfire ist das ideale Fahrzeug für das Fahren zu zweit,” said the press ad, which, roughly translated, means: “The Spitfire is the ideal vehicle for driving in pairs.” That’s quite a selling point.

Mercedes-Benz 300 E AMG HammerThe 20 best car names ever

“Hammer.” Noun, “A tool with a heavy metal head mounted at right angles at the end of a handle, used for jobs such as breaking things and driving in nails.”

In 1986, AMG inserted a 5.0-litre V8 into an E-Class coupe and created ‘The Hammer’. In a stroke, the AMG name was thrust onto the world stage, most notably in the US, where it is viewed as the genesis of Mercedes-AMG.

Aston Martin VanquishThe 20 best car names ever

“Vanquish.” Verb, “Defeat thoroughly.”

Developed from the 1998 Project Vantage concept car, the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish entered production in 2001. A year later it starred in ‘Die Another Day’, in which it was introduced as the Aston Martin ‘Vanish’. Not the greatest Bond movie, but the Vanquish is one of the greatest car names.

AC CobraThe 20 best car names ever

“Cobra.” Noun, “A highly venomous African or Asian snake that spreads the skin of its neck into a hood when disturbed.”

Thanks to Carroll Shelby, the AC Cobra was created when a Ford V8 engine was shoehorned into the AC Ace roadster. ‘Cobra’ was a wonderfully apt name for these super-powerful roadsters, which were renowned for their brutish performance and hard-to-tame handling characteristics.

Citroen DSThe 20 best car names ever

“Goddess.” Noun, “A woman who is greatly admired, especially for her beauty.”

To make sense of the DS name, you must channel your inner Officer Crabtree from ‘Allo ‘Allo’. You see, DS is pronounced in French as ‘Déesse’, or ‘Goddess’ in English. A suitably understated approach for one of the most technologically advanced and beautiful cars of the 20th century.

Maserati KhamsinThe 20 best car names ever

“Khamsin.” Noun, “An oppressive, hot southerly or south-easterly wind blowing in Egypt in spring.”

Maserati has a history of naming cars after winds. Ghibli, Bora, Mistral, Karif and Shamal, to name but five. Choosing the best is tricky, but we’ve selected the Khamsin. It helps that Alfieri Maserati was born with such an evocative sounding surname.

De Tomaso PanteraThe 20 best car names ever

Speaking of evocative surnames, ‘Alejandro de Tomaso’ isn’t half bad. Born in Argentina, de Tomaso founded the De Tomaso car company in Modena, Italy. Some of the car names were inspired: Mangusta, Longchamp and Deauville. But the best of the lot was Pantera, which is Italian for Panther.

These are our favourite car names of all-time, what are yours?

70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decadeIn 1947, just eight years after leaving Alfa Romeo, Enzo Ferrari built the first car to wear a Ferrari badge. Now, 70 years later, it’s left to us to select the cars that define the history of the Prancing Horse.

“The best Ferrari is the next one,” as Enzo Ferrari famously said, so on that basis the best is yet to come. But how did we go about selecting the greatest Ferraris from the past 70 years?

It’s a highly subjective opinion, of course, but by selecting two from each decade, it focused our minds on choosing the very best. This means that some Ferraris that might have made an overall list of the top 10 will have missed out.

1940s: Ferrari 125 S70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

Enzo Ferrari worked at Alfa Romeo for ten years, heading up the Scuderia Ferrari racing department. He left in 1939 and – cutting a long story short – formed a company called Auto Avio Costruzioni, developing a car at a workshop in Modena. But this wasn’t the first car to wear a Ferrari badge. No, that honour belongs to the 125 S.

By Enzo’s own admission, the 125 S’s racing debut was “a promising failure”, but it laid the foundations for the next 70 years. After just five months, the 125 S had achieved six wins from 14 races.

1940s: Ferrari 166 MM70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

Enzo’s first car – the Auto Avio Costruzioni 815 – was designed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan and, eight years later, Ferrari returned to the coachbuilder to pen the body of the 166 MM (Mille Miglia). It wasn’t the first Ferrari, but it was arguably the most significant to date, becoming a dominant force in motorsport and setting a trend for a succession of barchettas and spiders.

It made its debut at the 1948 Turin Motor Show, with the show car sprayed red and featuring a real leather interior. Significantly, the 166 MM enjoyed success at Le Mans, Spa and the Mille Miglia.

1950s: Ferrari 250 GT California Spider70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

Selecting the two greatest Ferraris from the 1950s is slightly trickier. The 250 GT California Spider makes the cut, but not because of its role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This is one of the most beautiful cars ever built and ranks amongst the most expensive cars ever sold at auction. Indeed, a barn-find 250 GT SWB California Spider sold for $18.5m in 2015.

The LWB (long-wheelbase) version was built between 1958 and 1960, while the SWB (short wheelbase) was in production from 1960 to 1962. It’s the SWB that’s the more valuable of the two and as such it should slot into the 1960s category. But when you discover what we’ve chosen for the 60s, you’ll understand why we’re including the 250 GT California Spider under the banner of the 1950s.

1950s: Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

Our second choice is the 250 Testa Rossa, so called because of its red valve covers. It became one of the most successful cars in Ferrari’s history, but this was no track-only special. These 3.0-litre V12-engined cars were road legal, despite looking like Formula One race cars.

The 300hp 250 TR could reach speeds of up to 170mph, propelling it to victory in the 1957 World Sports Car Championship, Ferrari’s third consecutive win. In 2014, chassis 0704 sold for a record £24 million. Historian Marcel Massini described that car as one of the top five Ferraris on the planet. Just one reason why we’ve included the 250 Testa Rossa on our list of true greats.

1960s: Ferrari 250 GTO70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

The first name down on the team sheet and the reason why there’s only one berth available in the 1960s category. It is, of course, the 250 GTO, probably the best Ferrari… in the world. Formidable on the track, and just as good on the road, Ferrari managed to dodge homologation rules by building just 36 cars.

A prototype was tested by Stirling Moss, before being unveiled to the public in February 1962. A year earlier, Enzo Ferrari had described the Jaguar E-Type as the most beautiful car ever made. With its long bonnet, ‘droop snoot’ nose and stubby tail, the 250 GTO could rival the E-Type in the beauty stakes. A star was born.

1960s: Ferrari 365 GTB4 ‘Daytona’70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

The 50s and 60s were a golden era for Ferrari, so much so that we’ve been forced to leave out cars that could otherwise have beaten Ferraris from different decades. The 365 GTB4 was unveiled at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, and was immediately christened the ‘Daytona’, in honour of Ferrari’s 1-2-3 victory at the 24-hour race in 1967.

This was the last 12-cylinder Ferrari announced before Fiat took control in 1969, with Maranello sticking to the front-engine layout, at a time when mid-engined cars were in fashion. Early cars featured a strip of Plexiglass in front of the lights, but this was replaced by pop-up units to comply with US safety legislations. In 1969, Ferrari launched a spider version, which accounted for 10% of sales. Either way, the ‘Daytona’ is arguably the coolest Ferrari ever built.

1970s: Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

And so to the 1970s, where we start with the Ferrari 308 GTB and GTS. These were hugely significant cars for the marque, delivering sales success previously unknown to Ferrari. The 308 GTB came first, at the 1975 Paris Motor Show, and was the first Ferrari to feature a fibreglass body.

Later, Ferrari returned to traditional pressed steel and aluminium, before the arrival of the 308 GTS in 1977. The most famous targa-topped model is arguably the 1984 car, driven by Tom Selleck in the Magnum P.I. TV series. In January 2017, it sold at auction for £144,150.

1970s: Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

Leaving aside the Dino-badged models for a moment, the Berlinetta Boxer (BB) represented a turning point for Ferrari. Launched in prototype form at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, the 365 GT4 BB was powered by a central-longitudinally mounted V12 engine, enveloped in a body designed by Pininfarina.

In 1976, the 365 GT4 BB evolved into the BB and later into the BBi, complete with Bosch fuel injection. Eric Clapton is a fan, so much so that he commissioned Ferrari to build a tribute to the BB using a Ferrari 458 Italia. The result was a one-off SP-12, which cost ‘Slowhand’ a cool £3m.

Ferrari 288 GTO70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

Selecting two Ferraris to represent the 1980s was an easy task. The Ferrari GTO – commonly referred to as the 288 GTO – was built to compete in Group B rallying, but when the FIA pulled the plug, the GTO was left without a party to attend. As a result, the GTO never raced, leaving all 272 units to fall into private hands.

As you’d expect from a race-bred, 400hp twin-turbocharged V8 supercar, demand was high, so much so that Ferrari sold each one to order, before the car went into production. In any other company, this would have been the greatest car of the decade. But Ferrari had another ace up its sleeve…

1980s: Ferrari F4070 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

The 250 GTO might be the purists’ choice as the greatest Ferrari of all time, but the F40 would win if judged on universal appeal. It’s the poster star for a generation; the supercar we grew up wanting.

It was the last new-car presentation attended by Enzo Ferrari before his death in 1988, and built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the marque. Like the 250 GTO, it felt like a race car for the road, with extensive use of composite materials for the chassis, a glassfibre body and a stripped-back interior. Such was the demand, Ferrari built 1,311 F40s between 1987 and 1992.

1990s: Ferrari 456 GT Venice70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

For the first time since the 365 GTB4, Ferrari returned to a front-engine layout for the launch of the 456 GT. It was the ultimate GT car, featuring a 5.5-litre V12 engine and a sumptuous interior with space for four. Good enough to make our list of greatest Ferraris? Not quite…

If you’ve got the funds, anything is possible, as demonstrated by the sublime 456 GT Venice. Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei liked the idea of a 456 GT wagon so much, he ordered seven units from Pininfarina. He purchased six of them, each one costing a cool $1.5m.

1990s: Ferrari F35570 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

Beautiful, isn’t it? On looks alone, the F355 is worthy of consideration when producing a list of great Ferraris. Although the shape was inspired by the 348, Pininfarina spent a huge amount of time perfecting the aerodynamics of the F355, moving the game on considerably.

Note the air intakes, which you can see, and the flat bottom, which you can’t: two factors that optimised airflow distribution. The aerodynamics helped the F355 to achieve a top speed of around 183mph, while a later car – called the F1 – featured Formula One style paddles behind the steering wheel.

2000s: Ferrari Enzo70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

In 2002, the Ferrari Enzo represented the very pinnacle of supercar development. It was, almost quite literally, a Formula One car for the road, right down to its use of composite materials, advanced aerodynamics and top speed of 350km/h (217mph). It was a fitting tribute the company’s founder, who had died 14 years earlier.

Ferrari built 400 units, each one featuring a chassis made entirely from carbon-fibre and aluminium honeycomb sandwich panels. It was also the first Ferrari road car to feature carbon-ceramic disc brakes.

2000s: Ferrari 430 Scuderia70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

None other than Michael Schumacher helped develop the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, with the F1 driver completing lap after lap on the Nürburgring in an attempt to hone the car to within a millimetre of perfection. The result was a car with 510hp, a top speed of 198mph and a 0-62mph time of 3.6 seconds. But while these figures might be good for Top Trumps, they only tell half the story.

It’s not that the standard 430 wasn’t a great car, it’s just that the ‘Scud’ took things to an entirely new level. The F1-SuperFast2 gearbox reduced shifts to a 60 thousandths of a second, the F1-Trac differential was straight out a Grand Prix car, while other details included a new rear diffuser and a specific Gurney flap on the engine cover.

2010s: Ferrari FF70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

One car is a shoe-in for the current decade, but what of the other choice? We’ve opted for the Ferrari FF, on the basis that it took the marque in a new direction. When it was unveiled in 2011, the motoring world looked on with amazement. Here was Ferrari’s first four-wheel-drive car, with enough space to seat four people in total comfort.

It was a clever move by Ferrari, not least because it allowed the brand to expand into new markets, such as China, where supercar owners like to take their family along for the ride. It was also the first time a V12 engine had been mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch F1 gearbox.

2010s: Ferrari LaFerrari70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

Ferrari built 500 LaFerraris, 499 of which were sold on an invite-only basis. The remaining car was sold at auction to raise money for the Italian earthquake disaster. It raised £5.5 million, five times more than the cost when new.

That it’s one of the greatest Ferraris of all-time is in no doubt. Indeed, Ferrari liked it so much, it decided to christen it ‘The Ferrari’.

Ferrari J5070 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

What about the cars that got away? We could make a strong case for the 458 Italia, which straddles two decades. Then there’s the F12 Berlinetta, the F12tdf, the Dino 246, 250 GT Lusso, 330 GTS, 488 Spider… the list could go on.

But what of the present and the future? In December 2016, Ferrari unveiled the J50, another limited edition built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ferrari in Japan. Only 10 will be built.

Ferrari 70th Anniversary70 years of Ferrari: the greatest from each decade

In 2017, Ferrari will celebrate 70 years in the business by creating 70 bespoke cars. Seventy liveries will be rolled out, each one created just the once for every car in the current range.

All the cars will come complete with a 70th anniversary logo, along with a plate stating the name of the model that inspired it. Of course, you’ll already know this, as you will have received an invitation to place an order. Here’s to the next 70 years.

Ronal Teddy

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?Preparing a list of the coolest alloy wheels ever made is the easy part. Narrowing it down to 10 is more of a challenge. It’s a highly subjective opinion, of course, but we’re pretty sure you’ll appreciate the examples of circular beauty we’re about to roll out.

The emphasis here is on ‘cool’, rather than the most dramatic or extravagant. In the case of alloy wheels, bigger isn’t necessarily better, while bling leaves us cold.

Maserati Boomerang

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Bonhams

Firstly, some ground rules. We’ve chosen to ignore the lure of concept cars, preferring to concentrate on the wheels that have, at the very least, made it into production.

Which means the likes of the Maserati Boomerang have to take a back seat. It might have stolen the show at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, but Giorgetto Giugiaro’s creation – complete with 4.7-litre V8 engine and trick steering wheel – remains an example of one of the best cars that might have been.

Ronal Teddy

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Antti / Flickr

Secondly, we’ve chosen to omit aftermarket alloy wheels. While the likes of the Ronal R10 Turbo and many BBS rims could make the cut, we’re sticking to our guns with the whole production car thing.

Of course, this means the ‘iconic’ Ronal Teddy fails to the make the top 10. You can decide whether or not this is a good thing. Stick with us, as we take you through the wheels that made the cut, presented in no particular order.

BMW M1 ‘Campagnolo’

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© BMW

Today, the BMW M1 is – with very good reason – held aloft as one of the greatest supercars of all-time. Famously, it was to be built by Lamborghini, until the Italian firm ran out of lira, with only four prototype models constructed.

BMW, along with designer Giugiaro, rescued the project from the brink of collapse and displayed an M1 at the 1978 Turin Motor Show. The slatted 16-inch Campagnolo alloy wheels were unique to the M1 and so of their time.

BMW M1 Homage ‘sink strainers’

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© BMW

Thirty years later, when BMW paid tribute to the M1 with the M1 Homage Concept, the five-stud Campagnolo rims were a major influence on the design of the wheels. It almost seems rude to call them ‘sink strainers’, but they certainly wouldn’t look out of place in a 1970s kitchen.

Lamborghini Countach ‘Campagnolo Bravo’

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Lamborghini

Sticking with Campagnolo wheels, you’ll instantly recognise these as the ‘Bravo’ wheels fitted to the Lamborghini Countach. Indeed, they graced the LP 400 Series 1 cars, and are often referred to as ‘telephone dials’ or ‘five cylinder’ designs.

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Lamborghini

Lamborghini also used a very similar design on the Silhouette, although the offset and width differed from that on the Countach. Sadly, a fire at the Campagnolo factory left the company unable to continue manufacturing wheels for Lamborghini, which forced the firm into using OZ alloy wheels on the LP 500. The design was similar, but they weren’t quite as evocative as the earlier wheels.

Citroen CX GTi Turbo

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Andrew Bone/Wikipedia

The Citroen CX had the unenviable task of following the legendary Citroen DS, but follow the ‘Goddess’ it did, cementing itself as one of the most technologically advanced and aerodynamic cars of the 1970s.

Indeed the streamlined alloy wheels found on the CX GTi Turbo – launched much later in 1984 – were just one piece in an overall jigsaw designed to make the CX as aerodynamic as possible. CX is the French equivalent abbreviation of Cd, or drag coefficient.

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Citroen

Sadly, the trick hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension meant that the glorious simplicity of the CX GTi Turbo wheels were often hidden from full view.

We’ll also give a nod to the carbon-reinforced resin wheels found on the Citroen SM, along with the glorious alloys found on the Citroen BX GTi.

Isuzu Piazza

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Isuzu

The Isuzu Piazza – also known as the Holden Piazza and Isuzu Impulse – is one of the coolest cars you might have forgotten. It was based on the equally alluring Asso di Fiori concept of 1979, a concept we can once again credit to Giorgetto Giugiaro.

The ‘cube’ design, found on some first generation cars, could only have stemmed from the 1980s. The polished effect simply adds to the appeal.

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Tokumeigakarinoaoshima/Wikipedia

If you got bored, you could play a game of solitaire at the roadside, or grate some cheese if you got hungry.

The inclusion of the Piazza rims means there’s no place on our list for Ford’s iconic ‘pepper pot’ alloys, commonly found on the likes of the Fiesta, Capri, Sierra and Orion. Don’t worry, Ford fans, there’s room for a blue oval wheel on our list…

Ferrari F40

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Newspress

If fame is measured by the amount of bedroom wall posters sold during the 1980s, the F40 is probably the most famous Ferrari of all time. Built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the marque, a total of 1,337 F40s were built between 1987 and 1992.

Everything was honed to perfection, right down to the 17-inch Speedline alloy wheels.

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Coys

There was a massive five-inch difference between the front and rear wheels: 17-inch x 8-inch at the front and 17-inch x 13-inch at the rear.

The centre-lock design spawned many imitators, but none could match the majesty of the F40.

Porsche 911 ‘Fuchs’

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Porsche

For Fuchs sake, what took us so long to get to what is arguably the most famous Porsche wheel in history? The Fuchs wheel dates back to 1966, when a 4.5-inch rim was fitted to the Porsche 911S.

This was a proper form meets function approach, with the wheel designed to aid brake cooling.

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Porsche

Throughout the 1970s, the Fuchs wheel grew wider and were still standard fitment during the 1980s. The Fuchs died when the 964 was introduced in 1989, much to the disappointment of Porsche purists.

Fast forward to 2014, when Porsche paid tribute to the Fuchs in the form of the 20-inch alloys found on the 911 50th Anniversary Edition.

Ford Escort ‘Cloverleaf’

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Ford

Ford arrived late to the birth of the hot hatch, but the Escort XR3 ensured it could hit the ground running. It might have lacked the precision of the Golf GTi and 205 GTi, but the XR3 wouldn’t be left standing in the sales race.

The ‘Cloverleaf’ alloy wheels – not too dissimilar in style to the Campagnolos seen on the Countach – were set to become one of the most iconic rims of the 1980s.

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Ford

It wasn’t long before the XR3 wheels were being fitted to common or garden Escorts, as owners went in search of some added glamour, while Ford fitted ‘Cloverleafs’ to the Escort Cabriolet.

The most famous Escort to wear a set of ‘Cloverleafs’? Probably the one driven by Glynis Barber in Dempsey and Makepeace.

Volkswagen Golf GTi ‘Pirelli’

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Volkswagen

The ‘Pirelli’ alloy wheels found on the Mk1 Golf GTi are most commonly associated with the ‘Campaign’, a run-out special edition launched to mark the end of production. But as the Mk1 Golf Owners Club reveals, the ‘Pirelli’ wheels have a history dating back to 1982.

Volkswagen had reworked the Golf GTi in order to keep it fresh in light of new competition from other hot hatches. At the same time a new option appeared on the spec sheet: that of ‘Pirelli P’ wheels.

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Volkswagen

In May 1983, Volkswagen launched what was in effect ‘Campaign’ specification, before the arrival of the ‘Campaign’ model. Meanwhile, in Germany, launched the ‘Pirelli Special Edition’, while French buyers were treated to the ‘Plus’. But whatever the history, the ‘Pirelli’ remains the coolest wheel ever to grace a Golf. Discuss…

BMW M5 ‘Turbines’

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© BMW

We offer no apology for including a second BMW alloy wheel on our list, because this one is a classic. Between 1988 and 1992, the E34 M5 featured five-spoke M-System wheels with directional bolted-on wheel covers.

These so-called ‘blowers’ were made from magnesium and were designed to increase the airflow to the brakes by 25%.

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© BMW

At the time, the covers were criticised for having the appearance of whitewall tyres, but they soon developed a cult following of their own.

As ‘Motoring Con Brio’ says: “They announce performance… the faux whitewall just looks badass. It is the anti 20-inch-rim-riding-on-30-profile-tyres”. Sure, the actual alloys are covered by a slice of magnesium, but a little bending of the rules is permitted, right?

Saab 99 Turbo ‘Inca’

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Saab

And so to the final alloy wheel on our list. Start penning an angry letter if we haven’t included your personal favourite. The ‘Inca’ alloy wheel found on the Saab 99 Turbo was one of the first to the make our shortlist. A case of saving the best ’til last, perhaps?

The ‘Inca turbo-vane’ wheels, to give them their full name, made their debut at the 1977 Frankfurt Motor Show and were shod in Michelin TRX tyres. A classic was born, in more ways than one.

What are the coolest alloy wheels ever made?

© Saab

The ‘Inca’ wheels represent the epitome of cool, not least because they were specially made for the 99 Turbo. The design mimics the shape of turbocharger blades, which is so very Saab in its execution.

But what of the alloy wheels that failed to make the cut? The Alfisti will bemoan the absence of ‘Teledials’, while we could have included ‘Minilites’, Saab three-spokes and RX-7 ‘Rotaries’. Then there’s the wheels found on the Peugeot 205 GTi, Alpine A310, Lancia Delta HF Integrale, Mitsubishi Starion, third generation Toyota Celica and Renault Clio Williams. The list goes on…

10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOWSome motorists could be in for a nasty surprise when it comes to renewing their Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Under the current rules, cars that emit less than 100g/km CO2 are exempt from tax, making them very attractive to new car buyers.

From April 1, 2017 only cars with zero emissions will be free of tax, striking a major blow for those driving low emissions cars. If you haven’t done so already, check out the new tax rules, as it could save you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds over the coming years. In short, you should buy a low emissions car by the end of March, and here are ten great value cars to get you started.

Toyota Prius Active: 76g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid buyers will be feeling the pinch from April 1, as even the greenest vehicles will be subject to some kind of tax. In the majority of cases, the Toyota Prius emits 76g/km CO2, putting it on the cusp of the fourth tier tax band.

Buy a Prius today and you’ll pay no tax whatsoever. Purchase the same car in April and you’ll pay £100 in the first year, and the new standardised £140 flat rate from year two. Downgrade to the smaller 15-inch alloy wheels and the CO2 emissions drop to 70g/km, saving you £75 in the first year.

Suzuki Celerio SZ3 1.0 Dualjet: 84g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The Suzuki Celerio is a no-frills, low-thrills city car, designed for people who want nothing more than a vehicle to get from A to B. Prices start from just £6,999, but we’d recommend spending an extra £2,000 for the mid-range SZ3 trim level and excellent 1.0-litre Dualjet engine.

CO2 emissions are a hybrid-troubling 84g/km, which means you don’t have to pay a penny of tax. But be quick, because under the new rules you’ll pay £100 in the first year, followed by an annual fee of £140. In three years, you’ll be £380 worse off.

Hyundai i10 SE Blue: 93g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The recently revised Hyundai i10 is one of the best city cars on the market, especially in the tech-laden Premium SE trim. But if you’ve got one eye on the household budget, you should opt for the SE Blue, powered by a 1.0-litre engine. It’s the only i10 to slot into the lowest tax band, while a group two insurance rating means it’s one of the cheapest cars to run.

Sadly, come April, you’ll be asked to fork out £120 in first-year VED, followed by the £140 standard rate. On the plus side, a list price of £10,845 isn’t going to break the bank.

Skoda Superb Estate SE 1.6 TDI GreenLine: 97g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The Skoda Superb is one of our favourite cars at any price, offering an unbeatable blend of practicality, value and specification. It’s amazing to think that you can own something quite so cavernous and yet pay nothing in car tax. A list price of £24,725 is nothing short of sensational.

The Skoda Superb with the fuel-sipping GreenLine engine is tax exempt until April, at which point it is subject to a so-called ‘showroom tax’, which is based on CO2 emissions. The higher the emissions, the more you’ll pay. In the case of the eco-friendly Superb you’ll pay £120, followed by £140 for each year thereafter.

Dacia Sandero Ambiance dCi 90: 90g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The Dacia Sandero is famously Britain’s cheapest new car, with prices starting from £5,995 for the basic Access trim level. The most efficient models are powered by the dCi 90 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine, with CO2 emissions of just 90g/km.

You’ll have guessed already that is a car that you need to buy before the end of March, unless you’re happy to pay £380 in tax over the first three years.

Mazda3 1.5 Skyactiv-D: 99g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

In a sector dominated by the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf, you’d be forgiven for forgetting the Mazda3. But overlook it and you’ll be missing out on one of the sharpest looking and sweetest handling cars on the market.

The 1.5-litre Skyactiv-D engine is a tad underpowered, but with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, it takes the crown as the most efficient in the range. Buy now, or pay later.

Kia Cee’d ‘2’ 1.6 CRDi: 99g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The Kia Cee’d is another five-door hatchback that’s often overlooked in a crowded segment. Buy a Kia and you tend to get far more for your money, while enjoying the company’s famous seven-year warranty.

The Cee’d ‘2’ 1.6-litre CRDi emits 99g/km CO2 and costs £19,095. Order the car today and you’ll pay nothing for the duration of the warranty. Register the same car in April and you’ll have paid £960 by the time the warranty has expired. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Fiat Panda Easy 0.9 TwinAir: 99g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The lovable Panda is set to be refreshed in 2017, so the chances are you’ll be able to negotiate a good deal at your local Fiat dealer. Prices start from £6,995, but we’d recommend spending £11,245 for the Easy trim level and excellent 0.9 TwinAir petrol engine.

While you won’t get anything close to the claimed economy figures, the 99gkm CO2 means you’ll pay nothing in car tax. For now…

Volkswagen Polo Match Edition 1.4 TDI: 97g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

Ordinarily, we’d recommend the SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia as cost-effective alternatives to the Volkswagen Polo, but in the case of the new Match Edition we’re prepared to make an exception. In terms of kit, Volkswagen is chucking the proverbial kitchen sink at this special edition.

Tick the box marked ‘1.4 TDI BlueMotion’ and you’ll pay nothing in road tax. Just be sure you register the car before the end of March to avoid being out of pocket. Remember, the new tax rules apply to cars registered on or after April 1, 2017.

Tesla Model S: 0g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

With prices starting from £55,000, we’d hesitate before classing the Tesla Model S as ‘great value’, but it remains a truly outstanding electric car. We’re including it in our round-up of cars to bag before April, because it’s a victim of the new ‘premium’ tax, which applies to all cars above £40,000.

While it’s tax exempt in year one, from the second year you’ll pay a £310 annual supplement for five years. Total cost: £1,550. Our advice: make sure you register your new Tesla before April.

The top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

The top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

The top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UKAndroid Auto mirrors selected features on your smartphone and displays them on a car’s infotainment screen. This allows you to get directions, make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music on the go. The list of cars available with Android Auto is growing all the time, so we’ve selected 40 of our favourites.

Audi A4The top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

The current Audi A4 is a dream car for gadget lovers, helped in no small part by the excellent virtual cockpit. Audi’s smartphone interface is fitted as standard, bringing Android Auto to one of the best compact executive cars you can buy.

Ford MondeoThe top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

Sync 3 is standard across the Mondeo range, from the £21,795 Style, through to the £29,745 Vignale. Meanwhile, Ford is spearheading a so-called SmartDeviceLink Consortium, which it hopes will rival Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Toyota – the other foundation member of the group – hopes to get a system to market in 2018.

Ford FiestaThe top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

In the meantime, the next Fiesta will be what Ford is calling “the world’s most technologically advanced small car”, which, as you’d expect, will feature Sync 3. The all-new Fiesta will be the first Ford to offer B&O Play, designed to provide the best possible sound experience.

Honda CivicThe top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

Honda is a bit late to the Android Auto party, although things are little more advanced in the US, where the Civic and Accord are equipped with the smartphone mirroring system. But don’t worry, the tenth generation Civic, which goes on sale in March, will feature a new version of Honda Connect, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

 

Hyundai i10The top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

Hyundai claims that the top trim version of its new i10 city car is “the only car in its class to offer Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and live services in a single infotainment system”. It’s available in the feature-packed Premium SE model, which is priced from a not at all unreasonable £12,745.

Mercedes-Benz E-ClassThe top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

While BMW continues to shun Android Auto, even in the tech-laden 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz is happy to embrace the mirroring system. The Android Auto website lists 13 models, including the new E-Class.

SEAT AtecaThe top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

SEAT’s new Ateca – the Spanish firm’s first SUV – features the latest generation of the Easy Connect infotainment system, boasting SEAT Full Link, which incorporates Android Auto.

Skoda OctaviaThe top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

A new Skoda Octavia will go on sale in January 2017, boasting a fresh new look and improved technology across the range. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink and SmartGate are fitted as standard.

Volkswagen GolfThe top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

Volkswagen cars feature App Connect, which it claims was the first of its kind to offer a choice of three interfaces: MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new Golf will feature a redesigned infotainment system.

Volvo XC90The top 10 cars available with Android Auto in the UK

Finally, Android Auto is available on the XC90, which already included Apple CarPlay.

Click here for a complete list of Android Auto-compatible vehicles 

Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy nowThere are certain cast-iron truths of the used-car market. If a car looks too good to be true, it will probably bankrupt you. Every old banger becomes a classic if you wait long enough. And buying a convertible in the depths of winter is a great idea.

Convertibles are cheapest at this time of year, and there are some tempting bargains to be had. We’ve picked 20 of the best available on Auto Trader right now. But you’d better be quick…

Mazda MX-5 (Mk2)Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Where else to start but with the venerable MX-5? The world’s best-selling sports car is fun, plentiful and cheap to buy. Early Mk1 versions (1989-1997) are becoming scarce and the Mk3 (2005-2015) isn’t as enjoyable to drive, so we’ve opted for the Mk2 (1998-2005), otherwise known as the NB.

There are more than 1,200 MX-5s for sale on Auto Trader at the time of writing, so you can afford to be picky. While this 2004 car isn’t the cheapest, we find the “ultra low mileage”, 1.8-litre engine and near one-owner status rather appealing. It also helps that it looks incredibly tidy.

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Vauxhall VX220Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

The Vauxhall VX220: a two-seat sports car, based on the S2 Elise and built at the Lotus factory in Hethel. A cut-price Elise, then? Launched in 2000 with the 2.2-litre Ecotec engine found in Vauxhall’s more mundane motors, the VX220 was later treated a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, giving it genuine supercar-taming credentials.

Again, it’s possible to buy cheaper, but this looks like one of the best naturally aspirated VX220s on sale. If the mileage stacks up and a history check doesn’t reveal any previous damage, this could be a wise investment. Looks great in Rabiata Red, too.

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Mercedes-Benz SL (R129)Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Few cars of the 1990s have aged as well as the Mercedes-Benz SL, internal name R129. While its predecessors might be well beyond ‘bargain’ territory, the R129 remains affordable, while offering genuine everyday usability. Performance from the six-cylinder is adequate, while the V12 is best described as ‘excessive’. Our pick would be a V8.

With this Mercedes-Benz SL500 we’re really spoiling you. The dealer claims that it comes with a full service history, while the 107,000 miles is nothing for a car of this quality and engine size. We believe R129 prices are only going to go one way, making the £6,450 asking price seem like a bargain.

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BMW 3 Series Convertible (E46)Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

At the turn of the millennium, this was the convertible to be seen in. The 3 Series Convertible offered a supreme combination of image, build quality and, crucially, driving dynamics that were almost on a par with the hardtop version of the E46 3 Series. Opt for the 320i if you’re in search of the best all-rounder.

There are so many 3 Series Convertibles for sale on Auto Trader, but this out certainly stands out. The engine and specification are desirable, and it has covered a mere 40,000 miles in a little over a decade.

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Audi A4 CabrioletWinter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

If one four-seat convertible could challenge the 3 Series of the day it was the Audi A4 Cabriolet. Unveiled at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, the A4 Cabriolet was the long overdue replacement for the ageing 80-based Audi Cabriolet, and was launched just as Audi’s brand image headed into orbit.

You’ll either love or hate the colour, but you’ll certainly stand out from the crowd. And because it’s not silver or black, there’ll be fewer people chasing this particular model. A potential bargain at just £2,150.

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Volkswagen Golf CabrioletWinter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Looks like a Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet Mk4, right? Peel away the covers and you might be disappointed, because it’s actually a Mk3 Golf, dressed up to look like a Mk4. A kind of Mk3.5, if you like. If you can put up with a Mk3 chassis and interior, the Golf Cabriolet is hard to ignore.

Would it be fair to say this looks as good as any other topless VWs of recent years? Why buy a new Golf Cabriolet or used Eos, when a 1998 car looks this good? Being a 2.0-litre Avantgarde model simply adds to the appeal.

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Porsche BoxsterWinter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

You can buy an original Porsche Boxster (986) for stupidly low money, but we don’t want to give you that. Instead, we recommend opting for the much-improved second generation 987, launched in 2005. The standard 2.7-litre engine is a great choice if you intend to drive your Boxster everyday, but the S – initially a 3.2, but later a 3.4 – is the car to covet.

As a 3.4-litre car, this Boxster S benefits from 295hp, up from 280hp in the 3.2-litre version, while the relatively high mileage means that it could be yours for the same price as a much earlier example. If it has been well maintained using the right parts, this might be worth a look.

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Honda S2000Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

A future classic, if ever there was one. If you’re after a lazy performance car, the Honda S2000 isn’t for you. But if you fancy a sports car that needs to be taken by the scruff of the neck, the S2000 is almost without peer. The magic happens above 6,000rpm, at which point the VTEC delivers the fireworks.

The final S2000 rolled off the production line in 2009, so finding one for sale at a Honda dealer is becoming increasingly difficult. This 2006 has covered 69,735 miles and is up for sale at a Honda dealer in the South East. Silverstone Metallic and red leather is a nice combination.

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Toyota MR2 (Mk3)Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Thanks to the shadow created by the Mazda MX-5, the Toyota MR2 is so often overlooked, but dismiss this bundle of joy and you’ll be missing out. This mid-engined two-seater is a roadster in the truest sense, with a lightweight feel and a free-revving engine. Just don’t expect to pack much more than your toothbrush.

Third generation MR2 prices vary considerably, ranging from £1,500 to around £5,000. At £2,295, this 2002 example is sensibly priced, and with just 77,000 miles on the clock, there’s still plenty of life in the 1.8-litre VVTi engine.

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Audi TT RoadsterWinter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

There’s no doubt the original TT lost some of its purity when Audi removed the roof, but in just about every other respect, the TT Roadster is as good as the Coupe. You still get the gorgeous interior, while the familiar 1.8-litre turbocharged engine is cheap to run and widely available.

OK, we’ll admit it: we’ve been seduced by the red paint. But scroll through the photos and you’ll see why we’ve selected this 2005 TT from the countless others on sale. The spec and condition are – on the evidence of the description and images – hard to beat.

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Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?From 1 April 2017, Vehicle Excise Duty – commonly known as road tax – is set for some major changes. If you’re looking to buy a new car in 2017, you really need to know about these and how they might affect you.

The headlines are: road tax will only be free for vehicles with zero emissions, there’s a new flat rate of £140 for the majority of cars from year two, along with a new £310 surcharge for cars costing more than £40,000. Here, we take a look at Britain’s best-selling cars to see how they’ll be affected by the changes. In all cases we’ve selected a popular engine for the comparisons and looked at the total cost over three years.

Peugeot 208 1.6 BlueHDi 75 Stop & Start: 79g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £0 over three years
From April 2017: £380 over three years

The Peugeot 208 was the 20th best-selling car of 2016, so there’s a fair chance it’ll be quite popular in 2017, too. Buy one with a 1.6-litre BlueHDi 75 Stop & Start engine on 31 March and you’ll pay nothing for the road tax. Buy one a day later and you’ll have forked out £380 in the first three years. Ouch.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid: 75g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £0 over three years
From April 2017: £305 over three years

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a hybrid supermini emitting just 75g/km CO2 would escape a hammering in the changes. But you’d be wrong, because the frugal Toyota Yaris Hybrid will be subject to a ‘showroom tax’ of £25 in the first year, followed by £140 for each year thereafter. Right now, the same car is tax exempt… for life.

BMW 1 Series 120d manual: 114g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £60 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Using the current rates, all sub 130g/km CO2 cars are free of road tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), to use its official name. From April 2017, only zero emissions cars costing less than £40,000 will be tax exempt. Thinking of buying a BMW 120d this year? You might want to place your order now.

Vauxhall Mokka X 1.4-litre Turbo: 140g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £390 over three years
From April 2017: £480 over three years

Although it’s not an exact science, the most efficient petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles tend to be the hardest hit by the new rules. Buy something less efficient, such as a Mokka X with a 1.4-litre Turbo and the hammering isn’t quite so severe. The first year rate is up £70, but there’s a mere £5 penalty for each subsequent year.

Fiat 500 1.2-litre 69hp Eco: 99g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £0 over three years
From April 2017: £400 over three years

Anyone considering a Fiat 500 with the super-efficient 1.2-litre Eco engine really ought to place an order before the end of March. Rather than slotting into the cheapest VED band A, it moves up to the fifth tier, resulting in a £120 first year rate, before moving to the £140 flat rate.

Ford Kuga 2.0-litre TDCi: 122g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Buy a Ford Kuga with a 2.0-litre TDCi today and you’ll pay no tax in the first year, before paying £110 from year two. From 1 April 2017, the three-year cost doubles, thanks, in part, to the £160 ‘showroom tax’.

BMW 3 Series 320i manual: 128g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

It’s a similar story for the BMW 320i, which is currently tax exempt in year one. We’d recommend buying an efficient petrol or diesel car before the end of March, but the issue isn’t as clear cut for gas guzzlers. In the least efficient ‘over 255g/km’ band, the ‘showroom tax’ goes up from £1,120 to £2,000, while the annual rate drops from £515 to £140. If you intend to keep a car for the long-term, it might be better to wait until April.

Nissan Juke 1.2 DIG-T 115: 128g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

The Nissan Juke 1.2 DIG-T 115 emits the same CO2 as the BMW 320i, meaning the rate of tax is exactly the same. However, under the new system, all cars above £40,000 will be subject to a £310 annual supplement for five years. This includes electric vehicles, meaning the Tesla Model S will no longer be tax exempt.

Kia Sportage 1.7-litre CRDI: 119g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £60 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Currently, the Kia Sportage 1.7-litre CRDI sits in a band lower than the Nissan Juke 1.2 DIG-T 115, but from April 2017 they’ll be grouped in the same seventh tier. So while the three-year rate is the same, the jump is more severe in the Sportage.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200d: 111g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £60 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

The increase is the same if you buy a Mercedes-Benz A-Class with the excellent 200d engine and fitted with 17 or 18-inch alloy wheels. Opt for the 16-inch wheels and the CO2 drops to 106g/km, saving you £20 in the first year. Meanwhile, the 180d emits just 89/gkm when riding on 16-inch rims, saving a further £40.

Audi A3 1.4-litre TFSI: 105g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

Audi’s 1.4-litre TFSI engine is an excellent unit, but come April, it will no longer be a brilliant tax dodger. The annual rate increases from £20 to £140, while the ‘showroom tax’ is up from zero to £140.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class 220d manual: 103g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

You’ll experience a similar hike if you buy a Mercedes-Benz C 220d with a manual gearbox. It’s worth pointing out that an increase of £20 or £40 in the first year isn’t likely to make a new car any less attractive. No, the real difference comes in year two, especially with cars that are moving from zero tax to the £140 flat rate.

MINI Cooper 1.5 petrol: 105g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

MINI’s excellent 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is rather special. It also happens to be free of road tax in the first year and subject to a £20 fee from the second year. You’ll have to dig a little deeper from April 2017.

Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI: 128g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Over three years, the rate of taxation for a Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI will double. We’d suggest buying one before the end of March.

Vauxhall Astra 1.4 Turbo: 124g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

We like the 1.4 Turbo engine in the new Vauxhall Astra, but it’s less attractive under the new tax rules. Of course, you might think the 82g/km CO2 1.6-litre CDTi would be a cheaper option, but in reality you’re only saving £60 in year one. From the second year, the rate is exactly the same.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi: 99g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £0 over three years
From April 2017: £400 over three years

Ouch. You’re in for a shock if you’re buying Britain’s favourite crossover. Choose a Nissan Qashqai powered by the popular 1.5-litre dCi engine and you’ll be £400 out of pocket over three years. It’s worth remembering that the changes don’t affect any cars registered on or before 31 March 2017.

Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDi BlueMotion: 106g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

The only winners are buyers of electric and hydrogen vehicles costing less than £40,000, along with those buying a car with a big engine and intent on keeping it for many years. Choosing an efficient car such as a Golf BlueMotion and you’re likely to be out of pocket.

Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost: 108g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

Many cars powered by 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines come in for criticism for their real-world fuel economy, but at least the cheap road tax is something you can rely on. Not from April 2017 you can’t…

Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 Turbo ecoFLEX: 115g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £60 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Industry experts are predicting a bumper March, as buyers rush to beat the tax changes and grab a new 17-plate car in the process. You can expect many Vauxhall Corsas to be registered in March…

Ford Fiesta 1.25: 122g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Along with one or two Ford Fiestas. Our advice: if you’re seriously thinking of buying a new car in 2017, it’d pay to check how much you could save by registering it before the end of March. A few hundred quid in your back pocket is not to be sneezed at. For the new tax rates, take a look at our five-minute guide.

Revealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

Revealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

Revealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017The winners of the prestigious What Car? awards have been announced, and it’s good news for the Germans – and in particular the Volkswagen Group. Read on to discover the class winners, along with the overall What Car? Car of the Year 2017.

City car: Hyundai i10 1.2 Premium SERevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

The Hyundai i10 was given a subtle refresh in 2016, no doubt a factor in staying ahead in this fiercely contested sector. It’s a genuine five-seat city car, which gives it an edge over some rivals, while its five-year warranty is a key selling point.

The range-topping Premium SE model is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine and boasts features such as 15-inch alloy wheels, climate control, electric sunroof, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, parking sensors, heated steering wheel and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. All of this for £12,745.

Small car: Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SERevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

Why buy a Volkswagen Polo when you can buy a Skoda Fabia? It would appear that the judges at What Car? agree with this sentiment, putting the Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SE model at the top of the small car podium.

Prices start from £11,155, but you’ll pay £14,005 for the award-winning spec. The SE trim level offers 15-inch alloy wheels, manual air conditioning and a radio with telephone control and MirrorLink technology.

Family car: Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 150 SportRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

Spoiler alert: this won’t be the last time you see a mention of Audi in the 2017 What Car? Awards. It just so happens that the Audi A3 was the best-selling premium hatchback in 2016, meaning this is a rare example of joined-up thinking.

Highlights include a near-perfect interior, a range of punchy and efficient engines, along with a rock-solid image. Little wonder it’s so popular in the UK.

Hot Hatch: Ford Fiesta ST-2 3-doorRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

It’s so good, it’s almost becoming a cliché. The Ford Fiesta ST is the Peugeot 205 GTI for a new generation – an affordable and engaging hot hatch you can drive every day. Last year saw the launch of a limited-edition ST200 model, but the What Car? judges presented the award to the ‘standard’ ST-2.

Also in 2016, Ford launched a new five-door variant, so you can no longer use the practicality excuse for not getting behind the wheel of a Fiesta ST. Believe the hype, it really is that good.

Small SUV: SEAT Ateca 1.4 EcoTSI 150 SERevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

SEAT enjoyed a tremendous 2016, delivering 410,220 vehicles, which is 2.6% more than in 2015. A major contributor to this success was the new Ateca, with 24,200 units registered since it reached dealers in July.

It’s the firm’s first SUV and prices start from £17,990. Order the award-winning 1.4 EcoTSI 150 SE spec and you’ll pay £21,550. The SE trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights, an eight-inch touchscreen, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and rear parking sensors.

Large SUV: Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 4×4 SE 7-seatRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

Some context: Volkswagen Tiguan prices start from £23,140. The new, seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq starts from £21,495. This is just one reason why we expect it to be a big year for the Kodiaq, which has been named the best large SUV by the What Car? judges.

In What Car? award-winning spec, the Kodiaq is a bargain £28,245, which is excellent value for a four-wheel-drive, seven-seat SUV. Form an orderly queue outside your local Skoda dealer.

Luxury SUV: Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 272 Quattro SERevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

In summarising the Audi Q7, What Car? said: “The Audi Q7 has a relaxing blend of performance and refinement. It’s also beautifully built, practical and well equipped.” Little wonder it’s named as the best luxury SUV.

Highlights include a smooth and powerful engine, a quality cabin and seven-seat practicality, but the Q7 was marked down for its high price. You’ll need to find at least £48,455 to own a new one.

MPV: Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI 115 SERevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

It’s hard to get excited about the MPV category, but these cars still serve a purpose, even in a world obsessed with crossovers and SUVs. Before you drift off, let us tell you that the Volkswagen Touran is named the best MPV by What Car? magazine.

The Touran was also victorious in 2016, with the judges saying: “This new Volkswagen Touran is great to drive, classy-feeling inside and has better safety credentials than most of its rivals.”

Estate car: Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150 SE TechRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

A victory for common sense here, with the Skoda Superb winning the award for the best estate car. It does everything required of a good wagon, not least an ability to haul a tremendous amount of luggage. The boot expands from 660 litres to a maximum of 1,950 litres with the seats down.

It’s also exceptional value for money, with prices ranging from £21,065 to £35,300 for the quite bonkers SportLine 280PS 4×4. The What Car? judges prefer the more sober 2.0 TDI 50 SE Technology.

Electric car: Renault Zoe Q90 ZE 40 Dynamique NavRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

Changes to the rates of road tax will mean that electric cars are more attractive than ever, with only cars emitting zero emissions qualifying being tax-exempt. As one of the more affordable EVs on the market, the Renault Zoe is well placed to take advantage of the changes.

In November 2015, Renault launched a new Zoe Q90 model, capable of travelling up to 250 miles between charges. However, the estimated ‘real life’ range is 186 miles in the summer and 124 miles in the winter. Zoe range prices start from £13,995 for the Expression model, with mandatory battery hire of £59 per month.

Executive car: Audi A4 3.0 TDI 218 SportRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

Last year’s overall winner has to make do with the best executive car award in 2017. Not that Audi should feel too disappointed, as it means the A4 stays ahead of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Jaguar XE.

Highlights include a near-perfect interior and, in the case of the award-winning spec, a powerful and efficient 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine. Curiously, while the 3 Series and C-Class appeared on the list of best-selling cars in 2016, the A4 failed to make an appearance. Strange.

Luxury car: BMW 5 Series 520d SERevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

To the casual observer, BMW has played it safe with the new 5 Series. However, this large saloon packs plenty of advanced technology under the skin. Widescreen sat nav with Real Time Traffic Information is standard, for example, and BMW Connected Music allows access to 40 million songs via either Deezer or Napster.

The 520d suggested by What Car? is the current fuel economy champ: 65.6mpg is 2.8mpg better than before. A low-CO2 520d EfficientDynamics is on the way, too, promising an incredible 72.4mpg and 102g/km. That’s called having your cake and eating it.

Convertible: Mazda MX-5 2.0 SE-L NavRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

January is a good time to buy a convertible, and there are few we’d rather own – at any price – than the brilliant Mazda MX-5. Should the new, sharper MX-5 actually be in the Sports Car category? That’s a question for the What Car? judges…

The winning MX-5 has the more powerful 2.0-litre engine, which means 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds – a second faster than the 1.5 version. Generous SE-L Nav spec is recommended, including a seven-inch screen for the media system and climate control air-con.

Coupe: Audi TT 1.8 TFSI SportRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

Objectivity be damned, part of the function of a coupe is to look good, and the curvaceous Audi TT certainly meets that brief. If anything, it looks even better from the inside, with one of the nicest and best-built cabins on the planet.

Again, What Car? gives the nod to one of VW Group’s excellent TFSI petrol engines. The TT isn’t an out-and-out sports car, so the 180hp 1.8 suits it well. Equally, entry-level Sport spec offers all the equipment you need.

Sports car: Porsche 718 Cayman 2.0Revealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

OK, the four-cylinder engine in the new 718 Cayman doesn’t sound as good as the old flat-six. However, the new-found turbocharged punch offers ample compensation. And the Cayman continues to leave most rivals standing when it comes to chassis dynamics.

Indeed, the entry-level Cayman is really all the sports car you need – as acknowledged by the What Car? Team. Better than a 911? Certainly better value, yes.

Reader award: Honda Civic Type RRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

What Car? Readers were asked to vote on the most exciting car due to launch in 2017. The wild-looking new Honda Civic Type R was the winner, beating the electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV into second place. The Lexus LC 500 coupe was third.

Safety award: Toyota PriusRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

The Toyota Prius isn’t just a green car, it’s a safe one too. The latest 2016 model earned five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, with an outstanding 92% for adult occupant safety. It also scored 85% for ‘safety assist’, boosted by standard automatic emergency braking.

The Peugeot 3008 was second in the Safety category, with the Volkswagen Tiguan third.

Technology award: Peugeot 3008 i-CockpitRevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

Not everyone is a fan of Peugeot’s trademark small steering wheel, but What Car? judges clearly are. The 3008 also offers a high-tech digital dial display as standard, which should make Audi owners who’ve just paid for the ‘Virtual Cockpit’ think twice.

Runner-up in the category was the Renault Zoe electric car, while the Audi SQ7’s advanced 48-volt electrical system earned it third place.

Car of the year: BMW 5 Series 520d SERevealed: all the winners at the What Car? Awards 2017

So, here it is: the overall winner of What Car? Car of the Year 2017. Having already taken victory in the Luxury Car class, the BMW 520d SE was judged the best new car of the past 12 months.

What Car? Road testers said: “The latest 5 Series is even more efficient than its predecessor and sets the class standard for handling and refinement, while its interior provides technology and a sense of luxury usually reserved for far more expensive machinery.”

Read our review of the 2017 BMW 5 Series

Hit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

Hit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

Hit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling carsFigures released today reveal that 2016 was yet another record year for the new car market, with registrations up 2.3% compared to 2015. Over the year, some 2,692,786 cars were registered in the UK. But it’s not all good news as the organisation behind the stats, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), says we could be in for a rocky ride in 2017.

Still, if you are thinking about buying a new car this year, it might be wise to read one of our reviews before parting with our cash. These are our verdicts on Britain’s top 10 best-selling cars.

Initials: AB (Andrew Brady), SC (Sean Carson), PB (Peter Burgess), JR (John Redfern), RA (Richard Aucock), TP (Tim Pitt).

10. Audi A3: 43,808 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

The AudI A3 remains the premium hatchback of choice, with more than 40,000 registrations in 2016. It helps, of course, that there’s no fewer than nine A3s to choose from, plus the introduction of a fire-cracking RS3 saloon in 2017.

Audi revamped its most popular model in 2016, giving it a new face and a pair of new TFSI petrol engines. Prices start from £19,365, but you’ll pay at least £40,670 for the S3 Cabriolet.

Audi A3: what we said

“It’s not the sort of car that necessarily appeals to the heart, but the A3 is a really well-polished contender in the popular premium C-segment. There are body styles to cater for everyone: three- and five-door hatches (the latter a ‘Sportback’ in Audi lingo), a cabriolet and even a saloon.

“Buy one (or, perhaps more likely, consider one as a company car), and you’ll be treated to the best interior in its class, a plethora of new tech to keep the iPhone generation happy, and sensible running costs. If you’re a keen driver, though, you might want to check out the BMW 1 Series.” AB

Read our Audi A3 review

9. Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 44,181 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

It’s not hard to find evidence of the popularity of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Simply head along the M4 corridor during rush hour and every other car appears to be a C-Class. It’s the only compact executive car to appear in the top ten.

Prices start from £28,545 for the saloon, but you can also opt for an estate, cabriolet and coupe. Oh, and let’s not forget the bonkers AMG versions.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class: what we said

“The 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class firmly bats the ball back into BMW’s court. Appealing styling, a high quality interior, myriad clever systems and a much improved driving experience means the Merc gets closer to the 3 Series than ever.

“As we said, it can’t ultimately match it dynamically, but in most other areas the C-Class bests the BMW. With prices starting at £26,855, it’s around £300 more expensive than the equivalent 320i SE, but that’s really not that big a difference. Honours even on price, then.” SC

Read our Mercedes-Benz C-Class review

8. MINI: 48,328 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

Sixteen years since the launch of the first BMW MINI rolled off the production line at Plant Oxford, it remains as popular as ever. More than 48,000 registrations in 2016 represented a commendable rise from the 47,076 registrations in 2015.

Adding a five-door version to the range was a stroke of genius, while sun-seekers can order a new MINI Convertible. Back in February, we flew to Los Angeles to try it out. Life can be tough…

MINI Convertible: what we said

“Logic tends to pay only a minor part in buying a car like this. No one needs a convertible, but if they want one, it had better look good. The new MINI Convertible certainly hits that target. It may be indistinguishable to some from the earlier versions, but that’s no bad thing. The design is timeless.

“And there is lots more to entice buyers who want just a bit of logic in their decision. The additional space for passengers and luggage is very welcome, there’s plenty of pleasing touchy-feeliness about the MINI, and as always, it’s great fun to drive.” PB

Read our MINI Convertible review

7. Volkswagen Polo: 54,448 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

Objectively, the Volkswagen Polo is one of the best superminis you can buy. It might not be the most exciting car on the planet, but it’s favoured by those who put safety, practicality and dependability at the top of their list of priorities.

Surprisingly, it’s also cheaper than the ever-popular Ford Fiesta, with prices starting from just £11,635. Even the desirable Polo Match comes in at £13,070, while the Beats special edition could be yours for £14,020.

Volkswagen Polo GTI: what we said

Our very own John Redfern is a fan of the Volkswagen Polo, and he added a Flash Red GTI to his fleet in 2015. He said: “The Polo GTI has often (unfairly) had to live in the shadow of its bigger Golf brother, but I’ve always been a fan of the underdog.

“Plus, with the ever-increasing size of cars on our roads, the latest Polo GTI is virtually identical in dimensions to the hallowed Mk2 Golf GTI. Could that make for an interesting matchup?!” JR

Read about the Volkswagen Polo GTI

6. Vauxhall Astra: 60,719 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

Once upon a time, the loudest noise you’d hear at a car rental check-in desk was the collective sigh of disappointment as the keys to a Vauxhall Astra were handed to the unlucky tourist. Today, all that has changed, as new Astra is properly good.

No surprise, then, that Vauxhall registered more Astras in 2016 than it did in 2015. LED Matrix headlights, a so-called ‘wellness’ seat and in-car wifi are just some of the features that would have been alien to Astra drivers of old.

Vauxhall Astra: what we said

“If you’re familiar with, and unimpressed by, today’s disappointingly old-Vauxhall Astra, prepare to be surprised: the new one is a huge improvement. It’s nicer to look at, nicer to drive and much nicer to sit in. With the extra infotainment tech Vauxhall’s launched on it, the new Astra can even claim sector-unique appeal.

“There’s still a bit of an image problem to overcome, but the new car’s considerable additional appeal should help enormously here. From being a meek also-ran, it’s now a much more competitive alternative to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus – with the ability to edge them in some key areas that could sway buying decisions.” RA

Read our Vauxhall Astra review

5. Nissan Qashqai: 62,682 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

Britain’s most popular crossover is – thanks to the absence of the Vauxhall Mokka from this year’s top ten – the only one of its kind to appear on the list. It might not be the first crossover (sorry, Nissan), but in the space of a decade, the Qashqai has become the brand generic.

Subjectively, it’s no longer the best in class. We’d consider the likes of the SEAT Ateca, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage before the Qashqai. Come next year, it’ll also have the new Mazda CX-5 to contend with.

Nissan Qashqai: what we said

“A Qashqai doesn’t make for an exciting purchase, but it is a really easy-to-live-with crossover that will tick all the boxes for many families. There are more interesting rivals out there, but the Qashqai is a quality all-round package.” AB

Read our Nissan Qashqai review

4. Volkswagen Golf: 69,492 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

A top four finish puts the Golf in the same position it achieved in 2015. But read behind the lines and you’ll discover that the 69,492 registrations recorded in 2016 is around 4,000 short of 2015’s total.

The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf can’t come soon enough. Meanwhile, we drove a rather tasty Golf GTI Clubsport S…

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S: what we said

“Realistically, we’d probably be swayed at the last minute by the Golf R and its passenger-carrying and greasy-road tackling abilities over a Clubsport S. Alternatively, if it’s a track car you’re after, £33,995 (before options) buys you a myriad of more focussed possibilities.

“But if you’re a hardcore Golf GTI fan – and can somehow get on the waiting list (good luck with that) – the Golf Clubsport S is arguably the ultimate fast Vee-dub. We’d be mighty jealous of your purchase.” AB

Read our Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S review

3. Ford Focus: 70,545 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

Wow. If you thought the Golf had a bad year, the Ford Focus has fallen well short of its 2015 total of 83,816 registrations.

On the plus side, we started the year by driving the new Focus RS, which set the tone for a vintage year of performance cars. Meanwhile, in the autumn, we drove the new Focus ST-Line…

Ford Focus ST-Line: what we said

“Everybody loves a fast Ford. And while the Focus ST-Line isn’t technically, um, fast, it looks the part. For many, that will be reason enough to buy one.

“Importantly, ST-Line trim doesn’t detract from the Focus’s traditional strengths: agile handling, decent comfort and practicality, and an attractive price-tag (especially after discount). If you’re in the market for a C-segment car, it should definitely be on your shortlist.” TP

Read our Ford Focus ST-Line review

2. Vauxhall Corsa: 77,110 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

In 2015, some 92,077 Corsas were registered in the UK, so Vauxhall’s most popular model fell well short in 2016. Frankly, it’s been a miserable year for the cars in the top four.

Which is a tad unfair on the Vauxhall Corsa, as the current version is streets ahead of its predecessors. The 1.0-litre turbocharged engine is a peach, while the interior is a league above the cabin you’ll find in the Fiesta. You’ll also discover that the supermini has some rather grown-up features.

Vauxhall Corsa: what we said

“The new Vauxhall Corsa is a very likeable car. We were worried at first that it’d be too similar to its predecessor, and certainly a bit more on the design front would have been welcome, but to drive it feels all-new.

“As such, we’d have no hesitation recommending a Corsa to anyone looking for a supermini – something we’d have struggled to say in the past. While it may still not quite have the edge over rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, it’s closer than ever before.” AB

Read our Vauxhall Corsa review

1. Ford Fiesta: 120,525 registrationsHit or miss? Our verdict on the UK’s best-selling cars

No prizes for guessing the best-selling car of 2016. It is, of course, the Infiniti QX30. No wait, not that, it’s the Ford Fiesta.

Numbers might be down compared to 2015, but with a new model waiting in the wings, Ford won’t be feeling too glum this January. The new Fiesta range will feature an upmarket Vignale trim level and a new Active crossover. In 2016, we drove the Fiesta ST200…

Ford Fiesta ST200: what we said

“We’ll make no bones about it – we’re huge fans of the Fiesta ST200. We nearly stopped off at a Ford dealer on the way home, that’s how much we enjoyed driving it.

“It’s the ultimate Fiesta ST, which itself is the ultimate affordable hot hatch (and arguably more fun than bigger hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI). It looks great in Storm Grey, and you’ll be given a great deal of kudos turning up at fast Ford meets in one. You could almost look at it as an investment.” AB

Read our Ford Fiesta ST200 review

The 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

The 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

The 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worthThe classic car market is celebrating a buoyant end to the year, that’s according to data released by insurance firm Hagerty. Using data from the cars that generate the most enquiries, we present the 10 cars in reverse order. If you sold a Peugeot 205 GTI or Audi Quattro at the beginning of the year, you might want to look away now.

10. Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC: 21.4% increase

2016 value: £10,200

2015 value: £8,400

The 5.0-litre 450SLC was built to allow Mercedes-Benz to go racing in the 1978 World Rally Championship. Of all the cars featured on the Hagerty list, we think this one offers the best value for money. Just over £10,000 to secure what is undoubtedly far more interesting than anything offered by Mercedes-Benz today.

9. Citroen SM: 26.5% increaseThe 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

2016 value: £34,125

2015 value: £26,975

Speaking of things far more interesting… Values of the Citroen SM continue to head north, as the market wakes up to the fact that this was one of the coolest creations of the 1970s. Part Citroen, part Maserati, the SM was a victim of circumstances beyond its control.

8. Ford Capri 2.8i: 28.0% increaseThe 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

2016 value: £13,950

2015 value: £10,900

We remember a time when you couldn’t give a Ford Capri away. Today, even the lowly four-cylinder cars command a sizeable premium, but six-cylinder Capris attract the most interest. In March 2016, a Ford Capri 280 ‘Brooklands’ sold at auction for £54,000…

7. Porsche 944 Turbo: 31.0% increaseThe 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

2016 value: £21,875

2015 value: £16,700

As 911 values continue to spiral out of control, it’s logical that some magic dust would be sprinkled over other Porsche models. Not too long ago, you could secure a 944 for a nominal amount. Today, the 944 Turbo has broken the £20,000 mark.

6. Jensen Interceptor III: 36.9% increaseThe 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

2016 value: £51,250

2015 value: £37,425

Meanwhile, this Anglo-Italian grand tourer has enjoyed a remarkable 2016, with values shooting up from £37,425 to £51,250. That’s an increase of 36.9%.

5. Porsche 928 GTS: 67.6% increaseThe 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

2016 value: £33,850

2015 value: £20,200

Hagerty says: “Front engine Porsches have been rising rapidly across the board for the last 18 months. The 928 is just starting to be considered for the superb sports that it is – a huge commitment by Porsche to their support and restoration has helped this.”

4. BMW 3.0 CSL: 70.8% increaseThe 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

2016 value: £83,800

2015 value: £49,050

Wow. Just wow. A year ago we were reporting a 1.1% increase in values, but a further 70.8% increase has seen the 3.0 CSL break through the £80,000 mark and on its way to six figures.

3. Aston Martin Lagonda S1: 71.6% increaseThe 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

2016 value: £62,725

2015 value: £36,550

Not to be confused with the wedge-tastic Lagonda S2, the Aston Martin Lagonda S1 was a four-door version of the Aston Martin V8 (pictured). Only seven were ever built, so we’re surprised to discover that Hagerty receives so many enquiries about this limited-run car.

2. Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6: 84.8% increaseThe 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

2016 value: £11,275

2015 value: £6,100

Hagerty says: “Over the summer of 2016, Peugeot 205 GTIs rocketed in value, with exceptional examples achieving over £30,000. The difference between fair and concours examples is huge.”

1. Audi Quattro RR: 151.2% increaseThe 10 most popular classic cars – and what they’re worth

2016 value: £47,925

2015 value: £19,075

Congratulations if you bought an Audi Quattro at the start of the year. Values of the desirable 20v RR model have skyrocketed over the past 12 months, up a massive 151.2%. Fire up the appreciator…