There’s been a lot of argument and a lot of indecision – but with the final months of 2013 on the horizon, it’s time to reveal the vehicles we loved the most in the past year! From ultra desirable to ultra sensible, these are the cars that have set the benchmark.
The Jag is back! The XKR features powerful styling, the unmistakeable roar of the Jaguar engine, and an owner satisfaction rating that saw it place in the top 20 owner cars in the Driver Power survey for this year. The XKR bears some of the trademarks that Jag have been sadly missing in recent years – sleekness, sophistication and raw power. No wonder the marque’s fans have been flocking to the sports models in their droves. First class.
VW Golf MKVI Bluemotion
Volkswagen’s Bluemotion technology has been powering it flagship cars for a couple of years now – and the Golf MkVI benefits from the smooth power delivery of the latest engine incarnation. The new Golf is still a lot bigger and less raw than purists would like – but then purists’ opinions matter little when compared to the owner experience. The Golf MkVI is reliable, roomy, powerful and economical. What more could you want from a car?
The Skoda Yeti is fast becoming one of the best vehicles ever made. It keeps winning owner surveys, and journalist’s awards – and if you’ve ever been in one, it’s easy to see why. The style is perfect. The interior space is almost perfect (you can accidentally turn the AC on with baggy sleeves, but that’s about it). The versatility is remarkable: the Yeti can manage actual 4×4 jobs, like towing horse boxes, but it’s small enough and smooth enough to drive well as a family car too. Economical, well appointed and striking to look at, the Yeti is top of the class again.
Toyota GT 86
Two words: holy cow. The GT 86 looks like something out of a street racing computer game, and it serves as a timely reminder of Toyota’s ability to make Japanese muscle cars. It’s quick, it’s agile, and it has a beautifully low price. It only develops 197bhp, which in today’s world is hardly enough to write home about – but what it does with what it has puts it at the top of new performance car lists with ease. There are niggles – the engine lacks guts from time to time – but overall the GT 86 is one of the most surprisingly good cars to have been unveiled this year.
Bentley Flying Spur
With a slightly overstuffed name and a reputation to uphold, the Flying Spur had to be something special – and it is. If you have a spare £150k kicking around and want to turn heads wherever you go, look no further than this. We’re talking an eight speed automatic transmission (talk to www.automatic-gearbox.co.uk about this), and 0-60 in just over four seconds. It’s like being in a private rich person’s club that can move into hyperspace at the touch of a throttle. Extraordinary.
The Author is a former car designer. He has worked for Jaguar, Bentley and McLaren. He now races at amateur level, and is frequently asked to drive in prototype trials for BMW. His network of motoring blogs attracts attention in all the right places, and is followed by thousands of motorsport and luxury car fans.