We deliberated, cogitated and digested and the APMP jury delivered their votes writes Geraldine Herbert
The contenders for the inaugural AMPA Car of the Year (COTY) award were certainly an eclectic mix from hybrids and electrics to hot hatches and everything in between. The Nissan Qashqai proved the overall and worthy winner of the coveted title of AMPA Car of the Year but here is a breakdown of the category winners and how my votes were cast.
City car of the year – Hyundai i10
Contenders; Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1
The i10 is great value for money. It doesn’t stand out like the Toyota for looks but it’s more practical than the rest and offers the best in terms of refinement so it was also my choice for City car.
Small car of the – Mini Hatch.
Contenders: Alfa Romeo MiTo, Renault ZOE, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Polo
The Zoe looks funky, is good to drive and the price makes it the first truly affordable electric car but the third-generation MINI Hatch is bigger, lighter and cheaper to run yet it’s still just as much fun to drive and for that reason it got my top vote also
The Family car of the year – Audi A3 Saloon
Contenders: Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Honda Civic Tourer, Mazda3, Opel Meriva, Peugeot 308, Peugeot 308 SW, BMW i3, Golf SV
This is a category brimming with good cars from the BMW i3 which is without question the most innovative but unfortunately the price puts it out of the range of most family buyers to Audi’s A3 Saloon World Car of the year 2014 but as a family car the 308 SW is a super all-rounder that is surprisingly affordable and for those reasons I chose it above the winner in this category.
Large Family Car of the Year – Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Contenders: Citroen DS5, FIAT 500L MPW, Ford Grand Tourneo Connect
The DS5 is a good family car that offers a lot for the money but inside the new C Class it is classy, luxurious and extremely comfortable and on the road it is cleaner and more economical than before so it was my Large Family Car of the Year.
Coupé/Cabriolet of the Year – BMW 2 Series
Contenders: A3 Cabriolet, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
The A3 Cabriolet is at once luxurious, economical and fast but the 2 series coupe is a return to what BMW do best; creating compact, agile, rear wheel drive coupes. It is beautiful to drive, economical to run and comes with a sufficient dash of practicality for everyday driving so it got my vote for Coupé/Cabriolet of the Year.
Small SUV of the Year – Citroen C4 Cactus
Contenders: Fiat Panda 4X4, Ford EcoSport, Kia Soul, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Nissan Juke
Its hard not to love the Panda 4×4, it is nimble and robust, great fun to drive and cheap to run while Kia Soul’s is sensible and stylish and makes an interesting family car choice but the Cactus is extremely cheap to run, looks great and is easy to drive and was not only my choice for the title of Small SUV of the Year but also for the overall winner.
Mid size SUV of the Year – Nissan Qashqai
Contenders: BMW X4, Opel Country Tourer, Skoda Yeti, Skoda Octavia Scout, SsangYong Korando
The Korando offers value for money and the X4 is great to drive but Nissan has delivered a smarter interior, improved build quality and a better overall car with the new Qashqai and I also gave it the top spot.
Luxury Car of the Year – Audi A8
Contenders: Lexus GS300h, Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Unfortunately without driving the two rivals it is hard to benchmark the A8, plus the only time spent in it was at the Irish launch so first impressions were of an expensive but well equipped and luxurious cruiser.
Large SUV of the Year – Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Contenders: Nissan X-Trail, BMW X5
The Outlander is not simply for the environmentally conscious and Mitsubishi deserve praise for this plug in hybrid facility but the BMW X5, it is the most complete SUV currently on the market and is a compelling combination of economy, performance and dynamic handling. My vote in this case went to the BMW X5.
Performance Car of the Year – Alfa Romeo 4C
Contenders: Audi S1, Audi S3 Saloon, BMW M235i Coupé, BMW M3 Saloon/M4 Coupé, Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe, Peugeot RCZ-R, SEAT Leon Cupra
As a very fast and understated performance car there are few that can match the S3 and while the Leon Cupra is super value for money the Alfa’s 4C is a pure sports car and one of most stunning cars around and was unreservedly my choice for performance car of the year.
OVERALL CAR OF THE YEAR: Nissan Qashqai
Contenders: All Category winners
My vote went to the Citroen C4 Cactus, it is a refreshing, innovative and charming interpretation of budget family motoring.
In the van categories the winners were:
City Van of the Year – Ford Transit Courier
Small Van of the Year – Ford Transit Connect
Panel Van of the Year – Citroen Relay / Fiat Ducato / Peugeot Boxer
Business SUV of the Year – Land Rover Discovery Business
Van of the Year is Citroen Relay / Fiat Ducato / Peugeot
8th October, 2014