What Car? Car of the Year 2020: the shortlist
Tonight we'll name the best new cars on sale in the UK, and crown one overall champion as our Car of the Year for 2020. These are the cars in contention for our top accolade...
What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2020 - the shortlist
The cars in contention to take home the overall What Car? Car of the Year Award for 2020 have been revealed.
The winner will be announced tonight at the annual What Car? Car of the Year Awards ceremony, held in association with MotorEasy.
In addition to the overall Car of the Year, What Car? will name winners in 27 categories, ranging from Small electric car to Performance car and Family car to Luxury SUV.
What Car? is renowned for its thoroughness when assessing new cars, with all models driven back to back with their rivals on road and track, and practicality, reliability and running costs all factored into its final verdicts.
As a result of this exhaustive testing over 47 years, the What Car? Awards are recognised among manufacturers as the most prestigious in the industry.
To qualify for the overall Car of the Year Award, a car has to have been launched in the previous 12 months, and it needs to be available to order by the time of the ceremony.
Click through this slideshow for more information about each car, as well as links to our full written reviews of each model, and to What Car? New Car Buying, where we guarantee to find you a great deal. Cars are presented in alphabetical order.
Audi Q3 Sportback
We like the regular Audi Q3, but if you want a dollop of extra style added to the mix the Q3 Sportback’s the way to go. It’s still good to drive, decently refined and comes with that up-market Audi interior. It’s comfortable, too, with a well-composed ride.
BMW 1 Series
BMW’s new family hatchback has an excellent infotainment system and entertaining handling, and its diesel engines are efficient.
BMW 3 Series Touring
Takes everything we love about the regular 3 Series saloon – its stunning interior, decent engines and enjoyable handling – and adds a big boot. What’s not to like?
BMW 8 Series
The 8 Series Gran Coupe strikes an excellent balance between sportiness and comfort. It rides and handles well, is luxurious inside and has all the style you’d expect from a four-door coupe.
The Puma name returns on a small SUV with mild-hybrid engines and more space than its key rivals. The Puma has already impressed us by being fun to drive and by having a big boot with lots of cleverly arranged space.
Can lightning strike twice? Kia is hoping so, having packaged the e-Niro’s battery and electric motor into a larger SUV body. Funky looks aside, the Soul EV promises the same big range and impressive kit list as its smaller sibling.
The CLA is the smallest coupé Mercedes makes, and impresses with its tidy handling, smart interior and excellent infotainment system.
Mercedes’ first electric SUV impressed us with its quiet manner and comfortable ride. It also returned a decent real-world range of 208 miles.
MG ZS EV
The MG ZS EV offers a lot of value for money, especially for anyone wanting to try electric motoring on a budget. There’s plenty of room for passengers, a big boot, and every version comes well equipped.
The latest Juke continues to offer the stand-out looks of its predecessor but improves on just about everything else. A smart interior and a good driving position are just two highlights.
Funky looks aside, the latest 208 impresses with a smart interior and a vast array of standard safety kit.
With more electric range than most plug-in hybrids and the pace to out-gun most sports cars, the Polestar 1 has the substance to back up its Scandi-cool looks.
The 911 is a thrilling sports car. It’s seriously rapid and great to drive on all types of roads. If you pick the coupe rather than the roadster, you get a pair of tiny rear seats that make it slightly more practical than two-seater alternatives.
Porsche Cayenne Coupe
If the regular Cayenne is a bit too much SUV for you and its shape doesn’t cut the mustard, check out the coupe version. It’s 20mm lower with a sloping roofline that sharpens up the looks. Keen handling and a classy interior are further plus points.
Range Rover Evoque
The second-generation Evoque improves on its predecessor in just about every way – it’s well equipped, has a great driving position and good to drive.
A range of class-leading safety kit and a practical boot means there’s plenty to like about Renault’s smallest car.
Seat Mii Electric
Seat’s Mii city car gets electric power and a price tag which makes it affordable for many. Its official range is 162 miles, which is more than most rivals will get you.
Tesla Model 3
The Model 3 was one of 2019’s most anticipated new cars, and it didn’t disappoint. It can travel up to 239 miles on a single charge in real-world conditions, has a futuristic interior, offers eye-widening acceleration and it’s surprisingly practical too.
Drive the Corolla and you’ll enjoy seriously low running costs, as well as a comfortable ride and all the kit which comes as standard.
Heard the one about the SUV that pumps out less CO2 than a 1.0-litre Ford Fiesta? Well, thanks to its frugal hybrid system, the RAV4 is the car that does that, combining this attribute with several other capabilities to make for a seriously tempting proposition.
Toyota borrowed heavily from the BMW Z4 for the Supra. It shares the M40i’s 3.0-litre turbocharged engine, as well as its gearbox and suspension, making it entertaining to drive. It also has a comfortable ride and enough practicality to make it a useable everyday car.
The smaller of the two Volkswagen-badged SUVs which appear in this category comes with an impressive array of safety kit. It also offers a smooth ride and a spacious, flexible interior.
Volvo does estate cars very well indeed, and the latest V60 continues that tradition, offering well-balanced ride and handling, a smart but airy interior and excellent space for both people and luggage.
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