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The best new cars for 2020 revealed: Ford's £20,000 Puma SUV awarded top spot by expert judges from What Car? magazine

This Is Money logo This Is Money 14/01/2020 Rob Hull For Thisismoney.co.uk

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The reborn Ford Puma has been named car of the year in What Car? magazine's 2020 awards on Tuesday night.

The name that the car maker affixed to a compact and sporty coupe almost 20 years ago has been revived in 2020 for Ford's latest compact SUV, which proved a controversial move in the eyes of many car fans.

a blue car parked in front of a building: Best new car of 2020: The Ford Puma SUV, which is priced from £20,500, has been named by What Car? as the best new model to buy this year © Provided by This Is Money Best new car of 2020: The Ford Puma SUV, which is priced from £20,500, has been named by What Car? as the best new model to buy this year But What Car?'s expert road testers have claimed that the Puma is the best all-round package you can buy this year.

The Puma, which starts from £20,545, was the chosen standout model from a shortlist of 30 new cars that will arrive in showrooms this year, with judges recommending it for 'being fun to drive, cleverly packaged and well priced'.

a close up of a car: 'Practical and stylish': What Car? said the Ford Puma excels in all the areas that are important to buyers © Provided by This Is Money 'Practical and stylish': What Car? said the Ford Puma excels in all the areas that are important to buyers Some 27 model and brand awards were handed out by the motoring title at a glitzy event in London on Tuesday evening, ranging from the best hot hatch and performance car to the choice pick-up truck for 2020. 

The Romanian-built Puma headed off the likes of the Skoda Scala, Range Rover Evoque and Tesla Model 3, all of which were winners in each of their respective sectors.  

a blue car parked in a parking lot: As well as being named the overall Car of the Year, it also took the crown in the small SUV category © Provided by This Is Money As well as being named the overall Car of the Year, it also took the crown in the small SUV category The Puma was also named the pick of the small SUVs, taking the category win ahead of models including the Audi Q2 and Skoda Kamiq.

As well as ticking all the right boxes when it comes to driving enjoyment, practicality and affordability, What Car?'s own fuel economy tests showed that the Puma is an efficient small family car.

a small blue car: Judges said the Ford Puma is 'fun to drive, cleverly packaged and well priced' © Provided by This Is Money Judges said the Ford Puma is 'fun to drive, cleverly packaged and well priced' In the magazine's independent True MPG tests, it found that mild-hybrid versions sipped petrol, meaning low running costs for cash-strapped buyers.

First the Puma, next the Mustang SUV 
a car parked on the side of a road: The all-electric Mustang Mach-E will be priced from £40,000 and have a range of up to 370 miles © Provided by This Is Money The all-electric Mustang Mach-E will be priced from £40,000 and have a range of up to 370 miles

Reusing a small coupe's name for an SUV has proved a matter of debate, but the Puma is not Ford's most controversial badging of the past year.

That prize goes to the decision to launch an electric SUV under the Mustang brand. 

Priced from £40,000 and with a range of up to 370 miles, the new battery-powered Mustang Mach-E will see deliveries begin this year, Ford says.

Steve Huntingford, What Car? editor, said: 'As a small SUV, the Ford Puma competes in one of the fastest-growing sectors of the car market. 

'Crucially, it also excels in all the areas that are important to buyers, according to our research.

'Thanks to its sharp handling, gutsy engine and clever mild hybrid technology, it offers a mix of fun and frugality not previously seen among its competitors. Plus, it's as practical as it is stylish. 

'In short, the Ford Puma is truly outstanding.'

a car parked in a parking lot: The 2020 Puma is a long way from the original Ford to carry the same name - the iconic small coupe that won lots of fans for how well it handled © Provided by This Is Money The 2020 Puma is a long way from the original Ford to carry the same name - the iconic small coupe that won lots of fans for how well it handled Victory at the 2020 What Car? car of the year awards marks the sixth time Ford has taken home this prestigious accolade.

However, it's been 11 years since the blue-oval brand took the accolade - last achieved by the Fiesta supermini in 2009.

Roelant de Waard, vice president at Ford of Europe, said it was a 'great honour' for the Ford Puma to take the crown.

'To receive such high praise from industry experts like What Car? kicks off the year to a great start,' he added. 

a group of people riding on the back of a car: Production of the new Ford Puma began in October 2019 at Ford’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Craiova, Romania © Provided by This Is Money Production of the new Ford Puma began in October 2019 at Ford’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Craiova, Romania

Other What Car? Award winners... 

Three new categories were added to the awards for 2020 to reflect the shifting market that has seen increasing demand for electric models - and the continued success of expensive SUVs.

The Renault Zoe was crowned the first best small electric car, while Tesla's Model 3 - the only battery-electric model to make it into the monthly top 10 most registered models twice in 2019 - took the gong for the best large EV.

a red car parked on the side of a building: The Renault Zoe was named the best small electric car © Provided by This Is Money The Renault Zoe was named the best small electric car Range Rover's sleek Velar SUV took the third new prize as the best coupe SUV on the market for 2020.

As for brands, BMW took the biggest haul of trophies.

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Its latest 3 Series won a trio of accolades - best executive car, plug-in hybrid and the safety award. 

Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research director of research and Safety Award judge, said the 3 Series was an all-rounder for safety after registering some of the highest scores seen in Euro NCAP impact testing. 

a car parked in front of a brick building: The Range Rover Velar was the first model to win a new category celebrating the abilities of coupe SUVs © Provided by This Is Money The Range Rover Velar was the first model to win a new category celebrating the abilities of coupe SUVs 'The 3 Series accounts for nearly a third of BMW’s annual sales, maximising the real-world benefit of the safety technology fitted. As a result, this car has the potential to make a genuine difference to the safety of UK road users,' he added.

The German brand also picked up a fourth gong, with the bigger 5 Series being named the top choice luxury model.

Audi and Skoda were also recipients of multiple awards, with the Skoda Scala named as the best family car and the Skoda Superb the pick of the estates. 

a black and red car: Tesla's Model 3 won the best large electric model award © Provided by This Is Money Tesla's Model 3 won the best large electric model award Audi won the best luxury SUV with the Q7, and best coupe thanks to the highly-regarded TT.

Despite not yet being on the market, the 'Reader Award' for the most hotly-anticipated new model for the year, went to the new Land Rover Defender. 

Below is a full list of the 27 category winners for 2020. 

What Car? car of the year 2020 winners 

Car of the Year 2020: Ford Puma

Best Performance Car: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Best Sports Car: Alpine A110 Pure

Best Luxury SUV: Audi Q7

Best Coupe: Audi TT

Best Plug-In Hybrid: BMW 3 Series

Best Executive Car: BMW 3 Series

Best Luxury Car: BMW 5 Series

Best MPV: Citroën Berlingo

Best Small SUV: Ford Puma

Best Hot Hatch: Honda Civic Type R GT

Best Value Car: Kia Picanto

Best Family SUV: Range Rover Evoque

Best Coupe SUV: Range Rover Velar

Best Convertible: Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Best Large SUV: Peugeot 5008

Best Sports SUV: Porsche Macan S

Best Small Electric Car: Renault Zoe

Best Family Car: Skoda Scala

Best Estate Car: Skoda Superb

Best Large Electric Car: Tesla Model 3

Best Hybrid: Toyota Corolla

Best Small Car: Volkswagen Polo

Best Pick-Up Truck: Volkswagen Amarok

Safety Award: BMW 3 Series

Reader Award: Land Rover Defender

Reliability Award: Lexus

Technology Award: Subaru

Source: What Car? 

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