Paul Horrell (United Kingdom)

My judgement is based on following grounds:

Alfa Romeo Giulia

It`s as good as anything in its class to drive, thanks to fine handling and engines. It`s also got the consumer stuff right by being solidly made and reasonably well-packaged. But it might struggle for sales as it lacks many of the connectivity and driver-assist technologies of its rivals. I hope not. Such gadgetry is mostly pretty superfluous.


Citroën C3

This relaxing car has a terrifically soothing demeanour. That`s reflected in its cabin design, which eschews the usual aggressive automotive codes. And in its very supple ride. It`s exterior style is also distinctive and harmonious. I love all that. But it has chinks, including the vague gearshift and, worse, absence of autonomous city braking.


Mercedes Clase E

It`s so thoroughly engineered. Wonderfully refined, rides with fabulous comfort (in base versions), yet reasonably precise through corners. Ironically, only in rear legroom does the Stuttgart taxi disappoint. It`s also real value for money if you avoid largely pointless avoid options such as air suspension, huge wheels and semi-autonomous driving.


Nissan Micra

This is a more consistent product than the other small-car here, and has real verve through a set of corners. It`s stylish and practical, and has some strong small-car tech (the Bose hi-fi, LED headlamps, around-view monitor) but it`s not cheap.


Peugeot 3008

The rich and effective dash, control layout and interior are a step forward for the whole class. The small-capacity powertrains are good. The chassis copes well with cruising or poor urban surfaces. But the steering is imprecise despite (or because of) its high gearing.


Toyota C-HR

Surprisingly given its razor-cut exterior style, it`s quite practical and has decent rear room if not outward visibility. The cabin is refreshingly designed too. For a crossover it has spirited handling but it churns up road and wind noise and neither of its two powertrains offers much performance.


Volvo S90/V90

A stylish, very roomy and safe car. Really there`s nothing notably wrong with it, and Volvo`s transverse-engine packaging and commitment to four-cylinders makes sense. But it has the misfortune to be launched the same year as the E-class.