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Carbuyer Car of the Year 2017 announced

Car Buyer Car Buyer 30/11/2016 Stuart Milne

The Peugeot 3008 SUV has been named Carbuyer Car of the Year 2017 in the Carbuyer Best Car awards. , and also took top honours in the Best SUV category.

The brand-new Peugeot 3008 SUV was praised for its unbeatable combination of chic styling, efficient engines, excellent practicality and a stunning interior.

The Carbuyer Best awards are the most useful and relevant out there, because they’re defined by the questions you ask of search engines. That’s why alongside categories such as Best SUV, you’ll also find Best First Car and Best Car for under £150 a month.

All of these Best Car features are continually updated to reflect the ever-changing new-car market – and it's from these that we’ve decided the award winners.

The full list of winners are as follows:

Carbuyer Car of the Year and Best SUV: Peugeot 3008

If the Peugeot 3008 is any measure of the talented cars due to launch in 2017, then we’re in for a vintage year. Forget everything you thought you knew about the old 3008, because Peugeot has rung the changes. First off, the 3008 is now a fully fledged SUV rather than the crossover of old.

It’s handsome from the outside, but inside is where the game has really moved on. The dashboard is beautifully designed and features extensive use of fabric on the dashboard and door panels to lend a chic feeling. The clever i-Cockpit dashboard is a 12.3-inch screen that displays your speed, navigation, phone and audio information. It’s similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, but unlike Audi’s system, this is fitted as standard to every 3008 in the range.

The 3008 is ahead of the pack when it comes to more pragmatic matters, too. It has a big boot and plenty of interior space. There’s a wide range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, and the availability of Peugeot’s ‘Grip Control’ system means the front-wheel-drive car can offer the grip of a four-wheel drive when needed.

In an SUV market dominated by some exceptionally able cars, it takes something special to be the best. And that’s why we’ve named the Peugeot 3008 Carbuyer’s Car of the Year for 2017.

Best first car: Skoda Citigo

The essential elements for a first car are affordability, ease of manoeuvrability and low running costs. Throw stylish looks into the mix and you’ve got a winner – which in this case is the Skoda Citigo. With prices starting at less than £8,300 and a range of stunning finance deals, it’s great value to buy, and with 68.9mpg fuel economy possible and insurance groups as low as 1E, its running costs are among the lowest in the business. The choice between the Citigo and its sister cars the SEAT Mii and Volkswagen up! is a tough one, but Skoda owners are among the most satisfied of any brand.

Best small car: Skoda Fabia

Practicality, value for money and reliability are essential ingredients for today’s small-car buyer, and with those factors in mind, you simply can’t do better than the Skoda Fabia. It boast an impressive range of petrol and diesel engines, offering every blend of performance, refinement and economy you could reasonably ask for. Interior space is remarkable, with a 330-litre boot and plenty of head and legroom for four or five passengers. In our recent Car Tech Awards, the Fabia took the runner-up spot for its standard stereo, while ‘big car’ technology like Smartgate (a system that bundles Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) is standard on most models.

Best family car: Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra has been around for a long time and with this latest generation it’s really stepped out of the shadows. The Astra is good to drive thanks to sharp steering, a supple ride and a quiet interior, yet the entire experience is undemanding. There’s a wide range of engines, but the terrific 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol and the 1.6-litre diesels – particularly the ecoFLEX versions – are superbly economical. But it’s the range of technology that really stands out, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. And the superb OnStar concierge service is a well priced, must-have option.

Best used car: Kia Cee'd

The Kia Cee’d is a great-value new car, but it’s harder to buy a nearly new car of better quality on the used market. It’s practical, well built, spacious and efficient and represents superb value secondhand. And you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’ll still be protected by the balance of Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty. Remarkably, if you buy a car up to 18 months old from Kia’s Approved Used Car scheme, the company will top up the warranty to its original duration, so as long as you don’t exceed 100,000 miles on the clock, you’ll enjoy worry-free motoring until the car is up to eight and a half years old.

Best automatic car: SEAT Leon

The DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox is used in a large number of cars from the VW Group of companies and out of those on this list, we believe the Leon deserves the top spot – for the simple reason of how well it suits the car. With the small yet punchy 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine, the DSG gearbox makes use of every bit of power the engine can offer, while optimising shift points to increase fuel economy at the same time. On top of this, the Leon is a superb all-rounder that’s fun to drive, yet comfortable as well as affordable and well-equipped.

Best seven-seater: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is proof, if any were needed, that people carriers don’t need to be dull. It has been on sale for several years, but time hasn’t dulled the impact of its space-age styling. Space is the major theme inside too, with more than 2,000 litres of luggage room when the seats are folded – and with them in place there’s space enough for seven people to travel in comfort. The big Citroen won’t break the bank, either, with the most efficient model capable of more than 74mpg and CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km.

Best hybrid: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

The Hyundai Ioniq is the new hybrid on the block, offering a far more mainstream look than the radically styled Toyota Prius. It’s good to drive, with a conventional dual-clutch automatic gearbox as opposed to the Prius’ CVT. That contributes to a nicer driving experience, too. It’s capable of around 88mpg fuel economy and if you buy one before April 2017, it won’t cost you anything to tax. The real clincher here, though, is the Ioniq’s price. It’s possible to park one on your driveway for less than £20,000, which is £3,000 less than the cheapest Prius.

Best electric car: Renault ZOE

The Renault ZOE has been around for a few years now, but the addition of a new version capable of 250 miles on a single charge has significantly boosted its already considerable appeal. If you choose the new 41kWh version, you can also use an optional fast charger that takes the battery to 80% capacity in just over an hour. The worry and cost of battery replacement is taken care of by a leasing deal that costs from just £45 a month. The fact that  the ZOE is a practical, good to drive and well equipped car comes as a welcome bonus.

Best car for under £150 a month: Skoda Yeti

The Skoda Yeti is one of our favourite small SUVs thanks to its superb build quality, efficient engines and engaging driving experience – whether you’re on or off the road. So it’s all the more remarkable that you can park a Yeti outside your house for less than £150 a month on a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deal. The deposit outlay is pretty much what you’d spend buying a six-year-old Yeti, but if you look out for the 0% finance deals and deposit contributions that Skoda regularly offers, your payment could be as low as £139 a month.

Best estate car: Skoda Superb Estate

The best estate cars offer more than just plenty of space for your luggage. They provide well thought-out solutions to all kinds of everyday problems. No car does this better than the Skoda Superb Estate. Clever thinking means you can use of all 660 litres of space, thanks to the availability of hooks, dividers and a false floor. Umbrellas in the doors and grippy cup-holders that allow you to unscrew bottles one-handed might be overshadowed by the Superb’s vast interior space, but they all contribute to making this such a brilliant car. Oh, and the Superb Estate is quiet, comfortable and great to drive, too.

Best car for under £10,000: Ford Ka+

Despite its size and price, the Ford Ka+ is more than just a cheap Fiesta. In fact, it offers small-hatchback space and practicality for city-car money. It provides more headroom than the Fiesta and despite its boot being fractionally smaller, its upright shape means it’s no less useable. Despite its enticingly low price tag, the Ka+ is good to drive, too, especially with the more powerful of the two 1.2-litre petrol engines fitted. Although this breaks our budget by £295, a quick haggle with the dealer should get you a decent discount.

Safest new car: Alfa Romeo Giulia

The Alfa Romeo Giulia the the long-awaited replacement for the old 159. With good looks, impressive engines and plenty of interior space, it’s certainly been worth the wait. It also scored top marks this year in the Euro NCAP crash tests. It achieved a remarkable 98% score for adult occupant protection, beating cars like the Mercedes E-Class and Volkswagen Tiguan. Testers praised the Giulia’s structural integrity and the ability of the Autonomous Emergency Braking system to work at higher speeds.

Best road-tax-exempt car: Hyundai Ioniq Electric

There are plenty of cars exempt from vehicle excise duty (VED) today, but changes coming into force in April 2017 mean only owners of zero-emission cars will pay no tax. The Ioniq Electric is one of the larger EVs on sale, meaning it makes for good family transport. Plus it’s capable of travelling 174 miles on a charge – more than a Nissan Leaf. Speaking of which, it’s also nicer to drive than the Nissan and has a more upmarket interior, too. Charging takes about four and a half hours from a home wall box, or 30 minutes to 80% from a DC fast charger.

Best hot hatchback: Ford Focus ST

Hot hatchbacks offer the best of both worlds: sports-car performance and hatchback practicality. While there are faster models, none offers the ease of use every day that the Focus ST manages. That’s thanks to a comfortable ride and a 2.0-litre engine that doesn’t have a colossal thirst. Plus, with the availability of petrol, diesel, hatchback, estate, manual and automatic models, there’s something to suit everyone. It won’t break the bank either: while the list price starts at just under £25,000, sub-£20k deals are out there if you look.

Most reliable car: Lexus IS

In our annual Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, the latest Lexus IS placed higher than any other new car currently on sale for reliability. The IS also enjoyed a sixth-place result for build quality, which helped it on the path to securing third spot overall in the 2016 survey. Lexus has long had a reputation for metronomic reliability, but the Driver Power survey confirmed it. In a world where cars are becoming ever-more complicated and can be extremely expensive to fix, the Lexus IS is leading the way for new-car reliability.

Best economical car: Toyota Prius

With fuel bills becoming a substantial part of many motorists’ outgoings, it’s no surprise buyers continue to demand ever-improved economy. And few cars offer better MPG figures than the Toyota Prius, which is capable of a remarkable 94.2mpg in ideal conditions. Out in the real world, figures of 70-80mpg should be easy to achieve – numbers that were unthinkable just a few short years ago. Away from those figures, there’s still much to praise the Prius for: it’s comfortable, well priced and, if you choose a model with 15-inch wheels, it’s exempt from the London Congestion Charge. Want even lower running costs? Take a look at the 134mpg Prius Plug-In.

Best convertible: Audi A3 Cabriolet

Convertibles are all about feeling the wind in your hair first and image second. No car fulfils these requirements better than the Audi A3 Cabriolet. It’s endlessly classy and desirable, plus it offers space for you and up to three passengers. The fabric roof can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 31mph, and once it’s stowed the boot is still useable. There’s lots of scope for personalisation, and like every other A3, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. If you want technology to give your A3 Cabriolet a real edge, then the optional Virtual Cockpit replaces the standard dials with a TFT screen. Very smart.

Best car that’s cheap to insure: Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 is a former Carbuyer Car of the Year and still one of the very best small cars you can buy. If you’re buying a car with running costs firmly in mind, the i10 should be at the top of your list. The entry-level i10 falls in group 2, which is affordable for all. But it's the all-round ability of the i10 that is the clincher here. With low insurance bills, you can still enjoy a small, practical car that's good to drive, spacious and comes with an excellent five-year warranty.

Best pickup: Mitsubishi L200

The Mitsubishi L200 name has been with us for more than 30 years and the latest model is better than ever. It delivers on its promise of rugged ability with some neat detailing and an impressive amount of equipment, while it packs a strong 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel engine that allows you to tow over three tonnes. It’s also the most car-like pickup to drive on-road, and extremely capable off-road. Despite all this, it can return more than 40mpg. It’s only available as a Double Cab, which will please those looking for a daily workhorse and weekend family transport in one. Combine that with competitive pricing and a number of desirable high-spec models and it’s clear why the L200 is our best pickup.

Peugeot 3008 SUV crowned Carbuyer Car of the Year 2017 © Carbuyer Peugeot 3008 SUV crowned Carbuyer Car of the Year 2017

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