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Most reliable new cars 2019

The 2019 JD Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study has named Peugeot as the most dependable mainstream car brand you can buy. Volvo, meanwhile, is the most dependable premium car brand this year.

The study, which is based on the responses of 11,530 owners of new cars registered from November 2015 to January 2018, measures problems experienced during the past 12 months, after 12-36 months of ownership.

Here, we run through every sector in the JD Power study and reveal the most dependable cars in each category.

City car winner: Volkswagen Up

JD Power examined 177 problem symptoms in eight categories: vehicle exterior; driving experience; features, control and displays; audio, communication, entertainment and navigation; seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; vehicle interior; and engine and transmission. The Volkswagen Up drives away with the award for the most dependable city car.

Runner-up: Hyundai i10

A winner in 2018, the Hyundai i10 is a runner-up in 2019. The city car comes with a comprehensive five-year unlimited mileage warranty, and prices start from £9,200.

Runner-up: Peugeot 108

This year’s JD Power study has been good for Peugeot, with the French company named as the UK’s most dependable car brand. The Peugeot 108 is another runner-up behind the Volkswagen Up.

Small car winner: Peugeot 208

Moving up a segment, the Peugeot 208 is the highest ranked small car in the JD Power study. This is the second consecutive victory for the popular supermini, which means the all-new 208 has a lot to live up to.

Runner-up: Hyundai i20

Like Peugeot, Hyundai has performed well in this year’s JD Power study, with the South Korean company finishing third on the list of dependable brands. Meanwhile, the i20 is a runner-up in the small car category.

Runner-up: Ford Fiesta

It might surprise you to discover that Ford Fiesta prices start from £15,670, but this is a small price to pay for a dependable supermini. Today’s Fiesta is available in various flavours, including the posh Vignale and high-riding Active.

Small SUV winner: Vauxhall Mokka and Mokka X

A runner-up in 2018, the Vauxhall Mokka goes one better in 2019 by being named the most dependable small SUV. This burgeoning segment is filled with some of the UK’s most popular cars, so this is a terrific result for Vauxhall.

Runner-up: Peugeot 2008

On the subject of Peugeot’s excellent performance in this year’s JD Power study, David Peel, managing director of Peugeot UK, said: “We’re committed to building vehicles with uncompromising quality, an instinctive driving experience and sharp design, and it’s great to see owners telling us they find all these characteristics when living with our vehicles year in year out.”

Runner-up: Nissan Juke

The Nissan Juke is one of the oldest cars in the segment, but the JD Power study would suggest that the ageing compact crossover shouldn’t be overlooked. Prices start from £15,520.

Compact car winner: Skoda Octavia

For the second year in a row, the Skoda Octavia drives away with the award for the most dependable compact car. Thanks to its large boot and spacious cabin, the Octavia is anything but compact, but at least you’ll have somewhere to store those JD Power awards.

Runner-up: Seat Leon

The Octavia’s Volkswagen Group sibling is a runner-up in the compact car category. The Seat Leon is available in five-door hatchback, estate and sporty Cupra versions, with prices starting from £18,265.

Runner-up: Ford Focus

It’s one of Britain’s most popular cars, but the Ford Focus also happens to be one of the most dependable. The fourth-generation Focus arrived in 2018 and prices start from £18,305. A sporty ST model will go on sale in 2019.

Compact SUV winner: Volkswagen Tiguan

The Volkswagen Tiguan is the most dependable compact SUV for the second year in a row. A longer Tiguan Allspace with seating for up to seven people joined the range in 2018.

Runner-up: Peugeot 3008

The 3008 is the fourth and final Peugeot to be named in the JD Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study. Mark Lendrich, head of research at JD Power Europe, said: “Long-term reliability has a direct impact on today’s sales and tomorrow’s brand loyalty. Peugeot did a great job in understanding the needs of its consumers, and therefore deserves to win the JD Power award for UK’s most dependable brand 2019.”

Runner-up: Honda CR-V

No reliability or dependability study would be complete without a Honda, but while the Jazz is conspicuous by its absence, the CR-V secures a runner-up slot in the compact SUV category.

Mid-size winner: Vauxhall Insignia

Another year, another category win for the Vauxhall Insignia. It might not be the most prestigious or desirable car in the segment, but to paraphrase Barry Davies, where are the premium Germans?

Runner-up: Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Ah, here’s one of them. Mercedes-Benz is the only premium brand to make the JD Power list, which just goes to prove that spending more money doesn’t necessarily result in an easier life.

Runner-up: Volkswagen Passat

An updated Volkswagen Passat is on the way, but the current model secures a runner-up spot in the mid-size category.

MPV winner: Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max

The humble MPV might be facing a fight for survival, but a people carrier will always offer greater flexibility for families. The Ford C-Max and the larger Grand C-Max are the UK’s most dependable MPVs.

Runner-up: Vauxhall Zafira

The Vauxhall Zafira: gone but not forgotten. These days, if you’re after a new seven-seat Vauxhall, your choice is limited to the Combo Life and Vivaro Life.

Runner-up: Citroen C4 Picasso/Grand C4 Picasso

The Citroen C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso are now named the C4 Spacetourer and Grand C4 Spacetourer, presumably because Citroen’s finance department worked out how much they were paying Fundacion Picasso for the use of the Spanish artist’s name.

Large and luxury car winner: Mercedes-Benz E-Class

And finally, the Mercedes-Benz is victorious in the large and luxury car category. JD Power didn’t award any runner-up models in this category, so the posh Merc has the podium all to itself.

Safest and Worst places to live

Revealed: the UK’s safest and worst places to own a car

Safest and Worst places to live

According to Kirstie What’s-her-face, location is everything when it comes to buying a home. But this isn’t a tale of bricks and mortar, although the wrong postcode might mean waking up in the morning to find your beloved motor on bricks.

Insurance comparison site Quotezone has analysed road accident and vehicle offences data to prepare a list of the best and worst places to own a car. Join us, as we go through the keyhole.

10th best – Cumbria

Safest and Worst places to live

The road accident rate is calculated by dividing the population of each police force area by 1,000 and dividing the number of accidents or vehicle offences in each area. Vehicle offences include dangerous, careless or drunken-driving, theft of a motor vehicle, along with accident, speed limit, insurance and condition offences. In the case of Cumbria, this results in a ‘Car Danger Rate’ (CDR) of 10.12, making it the 10th best place to own a car.

9th best – Staffordshire

Safest and Worst places to live

Next up is Staffordshire, with a CDR of 9.76. Quotezone’s analysis would suggest that rural areas tend to be safer than towns and cities, although Staffordshire includes large urban conurbations such as Stoke, Tamworth, Stafford and Lichfield.

8th best – North Yorkshire

Safest and Worst places to live

North Yorkshire can boast some of the best driving roads in the country, which might explain why the road accident rate is relatively high. Conversely, the vehicle offences rate is very low, resulting in a CDR of 9.74. Things aren’t so good in West and South Yorkshire, as we’ll discover later.

7th best – West Mercia

Safest and Worst places to live

West Mercia Police is the fourth largest geographic police area in England and Wales, with the force covering Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire. Many of the communities are rural, but urban areas include Hereford, Kidderminster, Redditch, Shrewsbury, Telford and Worcester. The CDR for West Mercia is 9.75.

6th best – Devon and Cornwall

Safest and Worst places to live

With a CDR of 9.68, the area covered by Devon and Cornwall Police is ranked sixth in the Quotezone analysis. The geographical area is the largest for any police force in England and the fifth largest in the UK. Cornwall is home to 555,000 residents, but the summer population swells to between 770,000 and 850,000 at any one time.

5th best – Cheshire

Safest and Worst places to live

The Cheshire Constabulary serves a population of over one million people and covers an area measuring 919 square miles. The CDR is 9.35, making it the fifth safest place to own a car.

4th best – Gwent

Safest and Worst places to live

Gwent Police covers an area of 600 square miles encompassing the five local authority areas of Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Newport and Blaenau Gwent. The road network includes the M4 and the Second Severn Crossing. The CDR is 9.01.

3rd best – Norfolk

Safest and Worst places to live

Norfolk is the home of Lotus and the third safest place to own a car. The CDR is 8.98.

2nd best – Dyfed-Powys

Safest and Worst places to live

Dyfed-Powys finishes second in the Quotezone table, boasting the second-lowest CDR (8.70), despite the fact that it’s also one of the largest police territories in England and Wales. The area also recorded the lowest number of vehicle offences, with Aberystwyth witnessing just one serious road accident in the past year.

The best – North Wales

Safest and Worst places to live

In 2016, North Wales was named one of the world’s top places to live by Lonely Planet, but it’s also the UK’s best place to own a car. A CDR of 7.29 puts it streets ahead of the other areas, with Wrexham recording just 14 vehicle crimes since January 2018. That said, you might want to avoid West Street or Gerald Street, which were home to the largest concentration of vehicle crimes in the town.

So, with the safest places named, what are the worst places? Read on to find out.

10th worst – Cambridgeshire

Safest and Worst places to live

With a CDR of 15.00, Cambridgeshire creeps into the bottom 10. The road accident rate is actually lower than Cumbria, which was named as one of the safest locations, but Cambridgeshire recorded a relatively high number of vehicle offences.

9th worst – Greater Manchester

Safest and Worst places to live

The road accident rate in Greater Manchester was actually lower than nine of the areas in the top 10, but a high number of vehicle offences results in a CDR of 15.29. “Car theft rates are particularly high at Manchester Airport, where the vehicles are left unattended for long periods of time, with 74 incidents in July,” said Greg Wilson, the founder of Quotezone.

8th worst – West Yorkshire

Safest and Worst places to live

Next up is West Yorkshire with a CDR of 16.01. This area includes major conurbations such as Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield.

7th worst – South Yorkshire

Safest and Worst places to live

Things are no better in South Yorkshire, with the area scoring 16.13. Quotezone advises motorists to keep valuables out of sight when parking a car – even phone cables and sat-nav mounts can attract the attention of thieves.

6th worst – Warwickshire

Safest and Worst places to live

Quotezone also recommends turning your car wheels into the kerb to make the alloys harder to steal because they will be ‘locked’ in the wheelarch. Warwickshire is named as the sixth worst place to own a car, with a CDR of 16.20.

5th worst – Bedfordshire

Safest and Worst places to live

Bedfordshire finishes fifth worst with a CDR of 16.38. The police force covers the county of Bedfordshire, including the unitary authorities of Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton. It’s the fifth smallest geographic area of responsibility.

4th worst – West Midlands

Safest and Worst places to live

The West Midlands, home to Birmingham and Wolverhampton, finishes fourth with a CDR of 18.48. Birmingham saw a colossal 100 vehicle crimes in July 2018 alone, with a worrying 11 percent of those happening near a local children’s hospital.

3rd worst – Metropolitan Police

Safest and Worst places to live

The area covered by London’s Metropolitan Police finishes third with a CDR of 19.76. The road accident rate is the joint-highest of all the areas featured here, which is hardly surprising given the traffic levels in the capital.

2nd worst – Police Scotland

Safest and Worst places to live

Police Scotland was formed in 2013 following the merger of eight regional forces and is the second-largest force in the UK (after the Met Police). The road accident rate in Scotland is the lowest of all the areas featured in this gallery, but the high number of vehicle offences catapults Scotland into an unwelcome second place.

The worst – City of London

Safest and Worst places to live

As pointed out by Quotezone, the data for the City of London is skewed because of the overall population and car ownership. Indeed, the small area is home to just 8,000 people, with around 400,000 people commuting into the City every day for work. A massive number of car accidents plays a major part in the eye-opening CDR score of 97.86.

Classic Mini makes a £50,000 comeback

Mini Remastered by David Brown AutomotiveForget BMW’s retro-remake, the classic Mini is back. The British icon has been re-engineered by David Brown Automotive, with bespoke features, more power and modern tech. However, with a starting price of ‘around £50,000’, you need a big budget for this small car.

Coachbuilt coolMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

This isn’t the first car from David Brown. The firm, which describes itself as a ‘21st-century coachbuilder’, already builds the Speedback GT: a Jaguar XKR-based sports coupe styled like an Aston Martin DB5.

The Mini should sell in larger numbers; David Brown hopes up to two cars per week will leave its new factory near Silverstone.

All in the detailsMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

Once a donor Mini is found, it’s taken apart and then painstakingly rebuilt – a process that takes around 1,000 man-hours. The bodywork seams are removed and a four-week paint process ensures a flawless finish. The front grille is custom-made from aluminium.

Speedback signatureMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

At the rear, you’ll find upswept exhaust tailpipes and arguably the DB Mini’s most controversial detail: jewel-like LED tail lamps that echo those on the Speedback GT. The Mini’s tailgate handle is removed, too – replaced by a button between the number plate lights.

Little luxuriesMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

Inside is where the Mini justifies its premium price tag. There are bespoke seats hand-trimmed – along with dashboard and door panels – in British-sourced leather, plus a gorgeous wood-rimmed Moto-Lita steering wheel. And it’s still a marvel of packaging perfection, of course.

Smiths styleMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

White-on-black Smiths gauges are a period touch, albeit with the addition of a modern LCD display. The dashboard is colour-coded to match the exterior – or can be painted any colour of your choice.

Mini mediaMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

The Pioneer infotainment system offers sat nav and a four-speaker stereo, plus a USB port for Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity. Just us, or does a Mini with a media system seem a bit ‘Austin Powers’?

Coffee to goMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

You also get keyless entry, push-button start and remote central locking. There’s even that most modern of accessories: a cupholder.

Stiff propositionMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

This looks fun. David Brown welds in additional beams and support struts to stiffen the chassis for better handling (not that the Mini ever felt lacking in that regard). It also modifies the suspension and beefs up the brakes.

Remastered refinementMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

Each Remastered also undergoes a ‘laborious sound-proofing process’ to improve refinement. Let’s hope you can still hear the characterful whine of that four-speed manual gearbox….

50 percent more powerMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

That said, with a sports exhaust and ‘50 per cent more power’ (an exact figure hasn’t been confirmed), the DB Mini may be slightly noisier than standard. Nearly 60 years on, the A-series engine is still a tight fit.

Silverstone showroomMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

Production of the Mini and Speedback GT will shortly move from Coventry to a new factory near Silverstone. There will also be a sales suite with cars on display.

Top Marques debutMini Remastered by David Brown Automotive

Mini Remastered is launched to the public at the Top Marques show in Monaco on 20 April. As well as the standard car, there will be two limited-run special editions available: ‘Inspired by Café Racers’ (cream and white) and ‘Inspired by Monte Carlo’ (red and black). Where do we sign?

Exclusive: we drive a Volvo V90 police car

Volvo police carVolvo has form with police cars. Sure, your local bobby probably runs around in an Astra, while an unmarked BMW 5 Series is able to put the frights up any daring company car driver pounding up a motorway at 90mph. But the Swedish car firm has been making police cars since 1929 – and selling them to the British police since the 1960s.

Today, there are around 400 Volvo police cars on UK roads. The vast majority of these are V70 armed response vehicles or traffic cars. But, as the V70 is no longer produced, that could be about to change…

Volvo V90 police carVolvo V90 police car

Yes, say hello to the Volvo V90 police car. Here it is in Swedish livery, being tested on a frozen lake somewhere in the Northern Circle at a top secret military base. We say ‘tested’, that’s actually our man living out a childhood dream of driving a police car. On a frozen lake. Mostly sideways.

What’s the point of that?Volvo V90 police car

It’s not all in the name of fun and frolics. Honestly. Volvo’s test drivers spend at least 500 hours putting the latest police cars through their paces in hot and cold climates. The logic goes that if it can survive being driven hard in temperatures way below zero degrees, a pursuit through Bradford’s housing estates won’t phase it.

What’s under the bonnet?Volvo V90 police car

Under the bonnet of this V90 – and, indeed, all V90 police cars for now – is a standard four-cylinder D5 diesel engine. The twin-turbo unit produces 235hp and, before all the extra weight of the police equipment is added, propels the V90 to 62mph in 6.9 seconds.

What’s different, then?Volvo V90 police car

All Volvo V90 police cars are start off as standard cars, taken from the production line at the same point ordinary models are shipped off to dealers. But, rather than being loaded onto a transporter, police-cars-to-be are taken around the back of Volvo’s factory in Torslanda, near Gothenburg, and modified by the special vehicles division.

And what happens next?Volvo V90 police car

Here, a special team of converters spend around six days turning it into a cop car. A special boot frame is fitted to cope with all the gear carried by traffic officers (and prevent it flying forwards in the case of a rear-end shunt), while brakes are upgraded to help bring the heavyweight V90 to a stop. The suspension also gets upgraded, with a 300mm lift and firmer dampers. The wheels are replaced by XC90 alloys.

Is anything done in the UK?Volvo V90 police car

Once police cars arrive in the UK, they’re sent to one of a small number of specialist converters where the finishing touches are put in place. The correct radio is fitted, for example, while British ‘battenburg’ livery is applied to make it stand out.

Why are they so close to standard?Volvo V90 police car

Police cars are generally bought outright rather than leased, so police forces want to be able to get as much of their investment as possible back when it comes to resale time. As such, once you remove the kit fitted by Volvo’s special vehicles workshop, the V90 looks like pretty much any other model.

It looks rather luxurious insideVolvo V90 police car

Inside, it’s exactly as you’d expect a high-spec V90 to be. Leather seats are fitted (they wear better than cloth and are easy to wipe down), while the standard infotainment system is left in place (the aftermarket computer system that controls the blues and twos, as well as having its own sat-nav feature, is hinged to cover the standard system but can easily be lifted up).

Does it have holes in the roof?Volvo V90 police car

You used to be able to spot an ex-police car by holes in its roof where the lights were fitted. That’s not the case any more… everything is flush mounted, and cabling for the LED roof lights runs through the roof bars. All this helps when the police car has to be sold after retirement.

How long do forces keep police cars?Volvo V90 police car

Traditionally, forces would keep traffic cars for a maximum of three years and 100,000-150,000 miles. Now, budget cuts dictate that forces must keep hold of them for longer – as much as five years and several hundred thousand miles – so they need to be pretty robust.

How often are police cars serviced?Volvo V90 police car

Most police forces have their own workshop for routine servicing, which is carried out regularly, while some even invest in diagnostic equipment to enable more serious work to be carried out. Obviously, under routine police work the cars can be damaged fairly regularly – and for bodywork they’re usually returned to a local Volvo dealer.

What other challenges do forces face?Volvo V90 police car

Over the last eight or so years, all traffic cars have been diesel, with police forces keen to save money on fuel. As diesel becomes a naughty word and police need to be seen to be doing their bit, we could see a shift towards petrol or hybrid police cars. Indeed, with a plug-in hybrid T8 V90 on its way, it’d be fair to assume these might be pressed into police duty.

What about driverless tech?Volvo V90 police car

Volvo is big on autonomous technology, and safety systems such the firm’s City Safety automatic emergency braking could prove to be problematic. If a car will do everything in its power to prevent a collision, how do police carry out tactical stops that involve making contact with other vehicles? Fortunately, for now, the technology can be turned off…

And in the future?Volvo V90 police car

Who knows? Police cars are a tiny part of what Volvo does, so it won’t hold back on developing its driverless features for those rare occasions when traffic officers need to take control. Will we see driverless police cars? “Cars will outskill even police drivers,” Volvo’s special vehicles chief, Ulf Rydne, told us.

Will we see Volvo V90 police cars on UK roads?Volvo V90 police car

There are a few hoops Volvo has to jump through before we’ll see V90 police cars on the roads. It needs to be added to the Home Office framework, which means it’s approved for UK police forces. But as Swedish police have already tested the V90 and given it a 9.2/10 rating – higher than any other car ever – it’s unlikely that it won’t be approved in the UK. We ought to see V90 police cars patrolling our motorways by the end of 2017.

Britain’s top 10 best-selling used cars

Britain’s used car market hit a record high in 2016, with 8.2 million cars sold – an increase of 7.3%. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show superminis are the best-selling type of used car, although the popularity of SUVs rose fastest. We’ll count down the top 10 most popular second-hand cars in the UK last year. Is yours among them?

10. Peugeot 206

The 1998-2006 Peugeot 206 seems ancient now, but it’s still among the UK’s top used sellers. A total of 126,176 changed hands last year.

The 206 was available as a three- or five-door hatchback, SW estate or CC convertible – the latter with a folding hard-top roof.

9. MINI

BMW launched MINI as a standalone marque in 2001, and it has been an unqualified success. Brits bought 143,066 used MINIs in 2016.

As well as emulating the original Mini’s styling, BMW also resurrected the ‘Cooper’ name – first used on sporty Minis in 1961. Today, the John Cooper Works is the flagship MINI.

8. Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen’s oh-so-sensible Polo is the UK’s eighth most popular used car. We bought 154,855 of them last year.

A new Polo will arrive at the end of 2017, just months after its arch-rival: the new Ford Fiesta. Volkswagen’s focus for the next-gen Polo is said to be improving quality and interior space.

7. Renault Clio

Trendy colours, touchscreen tech and affordable prices put the Renault Clio seventh in the used car chart. A total of 178,684 Brits bought one.

The Clio was first launched in 1990 and is now into its fourth generation. Memorable hot versions have included the Williams, 182 Trophy and mid-engined Clio V6.

6. BMW 3 Series

It’s an oft-quoted statistic that the 3 Series now outsells the Ford Mondeo. That’s also the case in the used market, with 211,656 examples of the BMW shifted in 2016.

One secret to the Three’s success is the sheer breadth of its range, from 330e plug-in hybrid to M3 super saloon. There really is a 3 Series to suit everyone.

5. Volkswagen Golf

‘If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen’ said the ads back in the 1980s. And car buyers clearly agree, with 262,623 used Golfs snapped up.

If you prefer to buy new, Volkswagen has just launched the facelifted Mk7.5 Golf – including an updated GTI. And that means some tempting deals on the outgoing car.

4. Vauxhall Astra

For the first time in recent memory, the Astra is a genuine rival for the Focus and Golf, with several five-star reviews to its name. Used Astras – including the GTC seen here – are very popular too: 298,540 were sold.

There are hundreds of second-hand Astras in the classifieds, so you can afford to be fussy. Consider the practical estate if you want a value-priced load lugger.

3. Vauxhall Corsa

The Corsa traditionally plays second-fiddle to the Ford Fiesta in the new car charts, and the same is true for buying used. It finishes third, with 352,899 sold.

We can’t get excited about the Corsa, but it’s cheap to buy and parts are plentiful. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol is our pick of the current engines.

2. Ford Focus

The Focus blew the ageing Escort out of the water when first launched in 1998, and was the UK’s best-selling car for the following decade. It remains the second most popular used car: 374,590 found new owners in 2016.

The Focus has always been enjoyable to drive, although it lacks the upmarket feel of the (admittedly costlier) VW Golf. A 1.0 Ecoboost petrol Zetec would be our choice.

1. Ford Fiesta

So, to the UK’s most popular used car – and it’s no surprise to discover the Ford Fiesta taking the top spot. This evergreen supermini was the choice of 381,519 buyers last year.

If the Focus is good to drive, the Fiesta is brilliant. And the ST hot hatch is simply sublime. Ford has set the bar high for the next Fiesta, which arrives this summer.

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 

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

We’re not buying enough electric cars

Smart electric drive

The government is unlikely to meet its climate change targets and it’s all our fault. Put simply, we’re not buying enough electric cars.

Generous subsidies aren’t enough of an incentive for us to buy EVs in the numbers expected, as Britain struggles to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

In basic terms, around 60% of all cars and lorries on the roads of Britain must be all-electric by the year 2030. Crucially, ultra-low emission vehicles should make up 9% of the overall fleet by the start of the next decade.

Mary Creagh, who chairs the environmental audit committee, said: “We need 9% of all new cars to be ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020 if we’re going to meet our climate change targets at the lowest cost to the public. But the department’s forecasts show it will get only half way to this target.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) expects between 3% and 7% of cars to be electric by the end of the decade.

At present, electric vehicles account for less than 1% of new car sales, despite the government offering up to £4,500 towards the cost of an EV. Part of the problem is the lack of a charging infrastructure, with the majority of public charging points found in London.

Mrs Creagh went on to say: “This failure risks making it more expensive to meet our long-term carbon reduction targets. With no strategy, we have no confidence that the DfT will meet this target.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), told the Guardian that ‘manufacturers were investing billions of pounds in developing new electric and hybrid vehicles’ and pointed to the increase in the number of electric vehicles available to the public.

Last month, campaign group Go Ultra Low argued that motorists in the UK are buying more electric vehicles than ever, with year-to-date electric car registrations up 31.8% compared with the first six months of 2015.

Close to 70,000 units have been registered since the government introduced its Plug-in Car Grant in January 2011. The Nissan Leaf remains the most popular all-electric vehicle, with 2,336 registrations in the first half of 2016.

The availability of the Plug-in Grant has been extended to March 2018, by which time we’ll know if Britain is any closer to meeting its emissions targets. Don’t hold your breath.

We're not buying enough electric cars

Smart electric drive

The government is unlikely to meet its climate change targets and it’s all our fault. Put simply, we’re not buying enough electric cars.

Generous subsidies aren’t enough of an incentive for us to buy EVs in the numbers expected, as Britain struggles to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

In basic terms, around 60% of all cars and lorries on the roads of Britain must be all-electric by the year 2030. Crucially, ultra-low emission vehicles should make up 9% of the overall fleet by the start of the next decade.

Mary Creagh, who chairs the environmental audit committee, said: “We need 9% of all new cars to be ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020 if we’re going to meet our climate change targets at the lowest cost to the public. But the department’s forecasts show it will get only half way to this target.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) expects between 3% and 7% of cars to be electric by the end of the decade.

At present, electric vehicles account for less than 1% of new car sales, despite the government offering up to £4,500 towards the cost of an EV. Part of the problem is the lack of a charging infrastructure, with the majority of public charging points found in London.

Mrs Creagh went on to say: “This failure risks making it more expensive to meet our long-term carbon reduction targets. With no strategy, we have no confidence that the DfT will meet this target.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), told the Guardian that ‘manufacturers were investing billions of pounds in developing new electric and hybrid vehicles’ and pointed to the increase in the number of electric vehicles available to the public.

Last month, campaign group Go Ultra Low argued that motorists in the UK are buying more electric vehicles than ever, with year-to-date electric car registrations up 31.8% compared with the first six months of 2015.

Close to 70,000 units have been registered since the government introduced its Plug-in Car Grant in January 2011. The Nissan Leaf remains the most popular all-electric vehicle, with 2,336 registrations in the first half of 2016.

The availability of the Plug-in Grant has been extended to March 2018, by which time we’ll know if Britain is any closer to meeting its emissions targets. Don’t hold your breath.

Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy nowIf you fancy owning a British classic, what are your options? We’ve assembled a list of homegrown classics that are relatively affordable and in good supply. So while you won’t find a Jaguar E-Type or McLaren F1 on our list, you will find some classic gems. We’ve also included a price guide, with values ranging from a restoration job to a concours winner.

Range RoverBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

It might not have been the original luxury SUV — that honour belongs to the Jeep Wagoneer — but the Range Rover is arguably the most iconic. Launched in 1970, the Range Rover ‘Classic’ was more ‘hose-down and wipe-clean’ than today’s super-posh versions, but it was one of the first vehicles to combine off-road ability with on-road poise.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,000 – £20,000

MiniBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

One of Britain’s finest exports and the car that defined the Swinging Sixties. The original Mini conjures up images of Twiggy, The Beatles, Carnaby Street and The Italian Job – a vision of Britain’s yesteryear. Production started in 1959, before the Mini bowed out in 2000.

Practical Classics price guide: £300 – £30,000

Rolls-Royce Silver ShadowBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

To many, this is the archetypal Rolls-Royce. Launched in 1965, the Silver Shadow’s stock rose like a Spirit of Ecstasy from the bonnet of a new Phantom, before plummeting as oversupply and depressed values led to Rolls-Royce’s most successful model falling into the hands of unsavoury characters and end-of-the-pier entertainers.  Today, the Silver Shadow is acceptable once again and could be yours for the price of a Ford Focus diesel. Just don’t expect diesel running costs…

Practical Classics price guide: £1,750 – £18,000

TVR TasminBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

The Tasmin presents the most affordable entry into the world of TVR. Its wedge-like styling defined the Blackpool company throughout the 1980s, with the ultimate incarnation being the Tasmin SE, powered by a Rover V8 engine. The rarest of all is the SEAC – a composite-bodied version complete with huge rear wing.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,100 – £5,250

Lotus Elan M100Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

A front-wheel-drive Lotus is a rare thing, so at least you’ll have exclusivity on your side. At the time, the Elan M100 represented the biggest investment in Lotus history, with £35 million spent on buildings, tooling, equipment and engineering facilities. It’s for this reason that Lotus reportedly lost money on every Elan it sold. The turbocharged SE is the most desirable of the breed.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,750 – £9,000

Bond BugBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

If you enjoy the feeling of stability as you make your way along a British B-road, the Bond Bug might not be for you. But if you fancy a three-wheeler with a tilting cabin roof and a bright orange paint job, you’ll love it. If it was any more 1970s it would be wearing a vinyl jumpsuit and dancing to Stayin’ Alive.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,500 – £7,950

MGBBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Predictable? Absolutely, but this was once the world’s most popular sports car. In its day, the MGB was the sports car to own – fuelled by memorable ad lines, such as ‘your mother wouldn’t like it.’ A love of warm beer and beards is optional.

Practical Classics price guide: £450 – £15,000

Rover SD1Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

‘Tomorrow. Today’ proclaimed the press adverts of the day. The Rover SD1 promised so much and in another world it could have delivered. Stunning Ferrari Daytona-esque styling and a European Car of the Year award delivered the best of starts, but quality control problems and the standard BL struggles ensured it could never fulfil its potential.

Practical Classics price guide: £300 – £6,500

Austin SevenBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

The Austin Seven was one of the most significant cars of the 20th century, earning it a place in the Design Museum’s book Fifty Cars That Changed The World. Herbert Austin said: “the Seven has done more than anything previously to bring about my ambition to motorise the masses’. This was Britain’s Ford Model T.

Practical Classics price guide: £2,000 – £30,000

Lotus Elise S1Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Twenty years ago, a classic was born. A modern interpretation of Colin Chapman’s “Simplify, then add lightness” approach, the Lotus Elise was little short of a revelation. Initial plans to limit production were soon thrown out of the window, as Lotus set about meeting demand for the car that delivered a purity of drive lost in the majority of new cars.

Practical Classics price guide: £6,000 – £12,000