With the Oscars, the Brits, the Golden Globes and the Grammys in the past few weeks, there’s no mistaking the fact that awards season is well and truly upon us.
Following on from the publication of the shortlist for the World Car Awards earlier in February, we’ve now found out the winners of the third annual UK Car of the Year.
The judging panel pulled together 27 of Britain’s most-read motoring writers, who have the enviable task of driving all the candidates before choose their favourite in each of the 12 vehicle categories. All 12 category winners then go on to compete for the overall title of UK Car of the Year (CotY).
There weren’t any embarrassing Oscars-style mix-ups or politically-charged statements from the winners, which means the only thing left to do is tell you who won what…
Best Small Hatch: Hyundai Ioniq
It took almost two decades for anyone to put up a worthy competitor to the Toyota Prius, but we finally got it in the shape of Hyundai’s Ioniq.
Available as a fully-electric car like the Nissan Leaf or a petrol-electric hybrid in the vein of the Prius, Hyundai’s first proper attempt at electrifying a production car can only be considered a success.
Admittedly, the styling is a shameless rip-off of the Prius and while it doesn’t quite hit the Toyota’s class-leading fuel economy, the Ioniq is a great first step into hybrid saloons and a worthy winner in the Best Small Hatch category.
Best Family Car: Toyota Prius
We recently handpicked the fourth-generation Prius as one of our favourite hybrids on sale right now and the CotY judges have clearly recognised its brilliance too.
Styling is more aggressive than ever, with sharp lines at the front and rear. It pairs this striking look with an impressive drive and is the greenest Prius yet, returning 94.2mpg at 70g/km of CO2.
Best Executive Car: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Competition was fierce in this segment with well-crafted entries in the shape of BMW’s 5 Series and Jaguar’s XF, so that makes the E-Class’ victory all the more impressive. There’s still more to come from the E-Class too, with a coupe version available from April.
Best Luxury Car: Rolls-Royce Dawn
When you think Rolls-Royce, you don’t really think ‘convertible’ but maybe you should. Dawn is currently the only drop-top in Rolls’ range and obviously, it’s a belter. Whatever you do though, don’t call it a convertible Wraith; Rolls get a bit upset at that.
Best Estate Car: Volvo V90
The second-generation XC90 was an absolute triumph, so the idea of applying much of the SUV’s technology to a 5 Series-sized estate should be a winner. And it is.
Best MPV: Renault Scénic/Grand Scénic
MPVs seem to be a dying breed, with SUVs pinching away buyers. However, Renault proves that people carriers can still be appealing with the Scenic and Grand Scenic.
Best Crossover: SEAT Ateca
Was there ever any doubt that SEAT’s first ever SUV would be anything but brilliant? Nope. The Ateca takes lessons learned with the Golf-based Leon and upsizes it with this accomplished crossover SUV.
Best Large Crossover: Jaguar F-Pace
Like the Ateca, the F-Pace is another debut SUV. While some have feared it would step on the toes of sister brand Land Rover, the F-Pace never feels like anything but a Jaguar. We eagerly await Jaguar’s fully-electric SUV in 2018.
Best Cabriolet: Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet
When the Express described the S-Class Cabriolet as the ultimate drop-top, you could almost hear all the other convertibles deflate in self-disappointment…
Best Sports Car: Porsche 718 Boxster
The 718 Boxster did away with the tried-and-trusted flat-six engines, instead opting for flat-four turbo-powered units and the risk seems to have paid off.
Best Coupe: Porsche 718 Cayman
Just re-read what we said about the Boxster but, instead of it having a foldable fabric roof, imagine it has a fixed hard-top.
Best Performance Car: Ford Focus RS
The third-generation RS was a long time coming, but the 345bhp monster was well worth the wait, attracting five-star ratings across the board.
So which car drove off with the top title of UK Car of the Year 2017? Answer: the E-Class.
During its in-depth test drive review, Top Gear wrote: “The E-Class reigns supreme [with an] endlessly entertaining interior, top-notch quality, comforting and comfortable dynamics.”
Other critics hailed it as ‘near perfect’, ‘a very easy car to love’ and a ‘technological showcase’.
Do you agree with the overall winner? Tell us what would get your vote in the comments.