The Autocar long-term check awards 2018

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The Volkswagen Golf GTI impressed us sufficient to make us contemplate parting with our personal cash
The Autocar automotive park is residence to a few of the yr’s most attention-grabbing and vital new automobiles. However which members of our long-term fleet impressed us essentially the most?

Each car within the Autocar long-term fleet is topic to an prolonged spell in our private garages, to present us, and also you, an understanding of what they’re wish to reside with past the check drive. 

Every performs effectively in some areas, and never so effectively in others, which makes for a various catalogue of entries into our 2018 long-term check awards. Whether or not or not it’s as a load-lugging, do-it-all utility car, or as an eyecatching B-road blaster, each automotive we have had in our automotive park this yr stands an opportunity at success.

So, with out additional ado, let’s congratulate the winners. 

The ‘We Didn’t See That Coming’ Award 

For the automotive that shocked us essentially the most (in any method)

Winner: Kia Stinger

Extremely counseled: Hyundai i30 N, Volvo XC40

This award’s title shouldn’t be taken actually. Pretty clearly, no person would ever miss out on our large, daring and really yellow Stinger coming. No, this prize is all concerning the automobiles that shocked us for what they’re, and on this case it was Kia’s means to supply a big govt saloon that may genuinely rival the premium German manufacturers. 

“It’s a lazily playful sizzling saloon that’s nonetheless a revelation each time you slide into the chunky driver’s seat,” mentioned street tester Ricky Lane, whereas Tom Morgan mentioned it was “the primary Kia I’ve ever wished to personal”. Clearly, he’s by no means tried the Soul. Presumably. 

That mentioned, street tester Simon Davis handed the Kia the prize due to the color it got here in. “I used to be anticipating pink or gray, actually not that gawdy shade of yellow,” he mentioned. 

Whereas the Volvo XC40 was as polished as we’ve come to anticipate from the agency’s latest merchandise, it gained consideration on this class as a result of, as Andrew Frankel famous, the agency has “finished the hitherto not possible and created a genuinely fascinating compact SUV”.

Kia Stinger long-term updates

The ‘I’d Purchase It’ Award 

For the automotive we’d spend our personal money on

Winner: Volkswagen Golf GTI

Extremely counseled: Hyundai i30 N, Toyota Land Cruiser

That is maybe essentially the most prestigious award right here, particularly given how troublesome it may be to half journalists from their money. And the Volkswagen Golf GTI is a deserving, if not fully shocking, winner. 

The important thing to the Golf GTI’s enchantment is that it does all the pieces effectively, mixing the very best bits of a sizzling hatch with the usability of a day by day driver, delivered with typical VW sheen and polish. 

Mark Tisshaw had the pleasure of operating the Golf and mentioned: “I’d at all times reply ‘Golf R’ when requested what automotive I’d purchase given the selection. Then I spent 9 months within the GTI and located it extra usable. It’s additionally pleasingly old-school in the best way its engine encourages you to rev it.” 

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Rachel Burgess described the Golf GTI as “the actual deal”, including that “it’s snug and usable daily however sensible once you wish to push it”. 

The i30 N took second place, profitable admirers for its sheer driving verve. Tom Morgan mentioned: “I do know the Golf GTI is the extra wise possibility, however the Hyundai is simply that bit extra unique. It’s like ordering a curry: you realize the tikka massala will fill you up, however typically you desire a madras that’s going to make you sweat.” 

Erm, fairly. 

In the meantime, Mitch ‘Prepper’ McCabe championed the Toyota Land Cruiser: “I’m actually scared Trump goes to press the pink button tomorrow. The Land Cruiser would survive the nuclear apocalypse and nonetheless get me to the final McDonald’s drive-through on earth.”

Volkswagen Golf GTI long-term updates

The ‘Each Automobile Ought to Have One’ Award 

For the very best, most modern or most helpful design function or possibility

Winner: The amount knob

Extremely counseled: Skoda, Volvo

This class at all times attracts essentially the most various vary of responses so, as choose, I simply went forward and gave the prize to the reason that impressed me essentially the most – and, sure, the standard quantity knob received. Why? Seems we miss it when it’s gone. 

Editor Mark Tisshaw: “The Golf GTI was so good to reside with that it made the absence of a quantity management knob extra annoying than it will have been in any other case. A shiny touchscreen too far.” 

Skoda’s ‘Merely Intelligent’ options aren’t new or notably high-tech, however removed from being advertising and marketing gimmicks, they really work, as Dan Prosser discovered with the parking ticket clip on his Octavia’s windscreen. “It’s easy and it’s intelligent,” he mentioned. “It’s merely intelligent.” 

In the meantime, in a concession to the most recent know-how and a contact of frequent sense, we awarded third place to the XC40’s glorious 360deg parking digital camera system.

Skoda Octavia vRS long-term updates

The ‘Deliver on Route 66’ Award 

For the very best automotive to tackle an extended street journey

Winner: Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Extremely counseled: BMW 740LD, BMW M5

That the luxuriously snug and well-honed S-Class ought to win this award is little shock. In the event you’re going to take an extended journey, you wish to do it in type. “You merely can’t beat an S-Class for a really lengthy drive,” mentioned Dan Prosser. 

Highway check ed Matt Saunders agreed: “Nothing – maybe barring a Rolls Phantom – rides higher. Completely nothing is extra cozy within the again.” 

Andrew Frankel was the chief proponent of the BMW 740Ld – but additionally predicted it will end second. “Everybody goes to say S-Class, and I’d not disagree, however I’d contend the 740Ld is simply nearly as good and, as perennial underdog on this class, worthy of no less than an ethical victory.”

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Actual emotion from Frankel, there. However our long-termer awards are a critical enterprise, and we don’t do ethical victories right here. The S-Class will get to waft away with the trophy (which might be luxuriously chauffeured to a well-built cupboard someplace).

Mercedes-Benz S500L long-term updates

The ‘B-Highway Detour’ Award 

For essentially the most enjoyable automotive to drive

Winner: Hyundai i30 N

Runner-up: Honda Civic Sort R

This was by far the closest class, with the i30 N and Civic Sort R breaking away from the pack and solely being break up on count-back. 

The Hyundai’s win here’s a actual upset, however whereas the i30 N won’t be as rounded a automotive as others we’ve run, it has been broadly praised for its glorious sizzling hatch traits. Rachel Burgess, the custodian of our i30 N, famous that it was “glorious for chucking round corners with conviction, demonstrating glorious dealing with and grip”. 

Matt Prior merely described it as “the very best mid-sized sizzling hatchback you possibly can at present purchase, and anyone who thinks in any other case is improper”. 

Those that voted for the Honda could take challenge with that, together with chief street tester Matt Saunders, who mentioned the Civic was “nearly the very best sizzling hatch I’ve pushed in 5 years.” 

In the meantime, editorial director Jim Holder famous that though he’d take an i30 N “for the observe”, he’d desire a Civic Sort R on a B-road. 

For the report, the one different automotive to get a (solitary) vote on this class was the Volkswagen Golf GTI – though editor Mark Tisshaw famous that he’d wish to drive the Golf to the B-road, earlier than swapping into everybody’s favorite sizzling Hyundai.

Hyundai i30 N long-term updates

The ‘Consideration Grabber’ Award 

For the automotive that garnered most curiosity from pals, household and strangers

Winner: Honda Civic Sort R

Extremely counseled: Mercedes X-Class, Kia Stinger

“Strive going wherever with the Civic Sort R and never catching somebody’s eye,” mentioned Autocar’s head of video Mitch McCabe. “I inform you, it’s not possible.” 

And that, succinctly, nails why the Sort R bagged this trophy. And, after all, as Mitch famous, each minor aero function, winglet and air consumption is there for efficiency causes – however the finish result’s a automotive that appears to this point reworked from the usual Civic that you find yourself staring for hours making an attempt to work out what all these bits, items and intakes do. 

The Stinger’s beforehand talked about yellow paint was a key think about its point out on this class. And the X-Class? Effectively, editor Mark Tisshaw defined: “I borrowed it after transferring home to clear some garbage out whereas a succession of tradesmen got here and went to indicate up my absence of DIY abilities. Every one in all them knew what the X-Class was, craved it and wished to sit down in it.”

Honda Civic Sort R long-term updates

The ‘Junior Kick-Begin’ Award 

For the best automotive to manoeuvre in tight automotive parks and metropolis streets

Winner: Suzuki Swift Sport

Extremely counseled: Ford Fiesta, Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Our Swift Sport stood out from the pack on this class nearly as a lot as its Canary Yellow paint does in a parking lot, taking a dominant if predictable win. 

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Deputy digital ed Tom Morgan confessed that “I’m hopeless at tight parking however by no means had an issue in it”, and, because the Swift Sport’s custodian, I can solely agree – however I’d add the caveat that in the event you solely drive it round tight automotive parks and metropolis streets, you’re lacking out: it’s a sizzling hatch that excels on flowing roads. 

Trying past the small and nimble Suzuki, how did the S-Class waft its method into the highest three? Effectively, as Jim Holder explains, “its array of sensors, cameras and bleepers, plus some glorious entrance visibility and enjoyably direct steering, makes residing with an enormous automotive manageable”.

Suzuki Swift Sport long-term updates

The ‘We Ran An X-Class So We’re Giving It A Probability’ Load-Lugger Award 

For the automotive finest suited to carrying massive hundreds

Winner: Mercedes-Benz X-Class

Extremely counseled: Vauxhall Insignia Tourer, Ssangyong Rexton

The X-Class’s win on this class appeared so inevitable we even named the class after it. In actual fact, Mark Tisshaw even berated that we’d opened this award for voting in any respect, noting that “I’ve the image to show it”. See under… 

So with completely no spoiler alert, the X-Class dominated, as a result of relating to load-lugging, you possibly can’t beat pick-up – though Matt Prior known as it “an okay pick-up however not an excellent Mercedes”.

There have been dissenters. Matt Saunders voted for the Insignia Tourer, insisting “good versatile property with correct 40/20/40 again seats is extra helpful for the Ikea run than a pick-up.” Equally, information ed Lawrence Allan went for the Rexton. “I’m not placing my possessions behind an open-bed pick-up,” he mentioned. “It’s a jumble sale for thieves.” 

Then there was editorial director Jim Holder, who voted for the Peugeot 5008, claiming that, in his view, “seven seats must be a primary qualifier for this class”. Usually, we’d disqualify him from voting for making an attempt to alter the factors, however since he’s successfully our large boss, we’ll let it slide. However the X-Class nonetheless will get the trophy.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class long-term updates

The ‘Choose Your Personal Award’ Award

What different accolades do our long-termers deserve?

BMW M5, Matt Saunders

“The survivor award as a result of some native low-life lined it in glue within the multi-storey automotive park. Sorry, BMW.”

Toyota C-HR, Jim Holder

“The Salvador Dali award for its gently surrealist method to exterior design.”

Volvo XC40, Andrew Frankel

“For being the very best automotive of its form ever created. It’s so simple as that.”

BMW M5’s entrance tyres, Matt Prior

“The longevity award, as a result of they went via 17,000 miles in our arms and remained avenue authorized.”

Learn extra

Autocar’s finest images of 2018​

2018’s finest automobiles: the Autocar street testers’ Christmas dinner

Surprises and pleasure: the very best automobiles of 2018 and 2019​

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