Ton Roks (Netherlands)

My judgement is based on following grounds:

Alfa Romeo Giulia

I genuinely admire Alfa Romeo for its courage and boldness with the new Giulia, which is by far the prettiest of the bunch. With a new rear-wheel drive platform and interesting, well-performing engines it drives like a true sporting sedan and is everything a practical car for the enthusiast should be. The E-class might score higher with high-tech, but the Alfa is a better looking car and a more inspiring drive - and therefore my winner.


Citroën C3

I liked the little Citroën C3, a budget car with a pleasant styling. The combination of it practicality and disarming simplicity brought memories back to my 2CV’s. Good (diesel and petrol) engines, plenty of space, but unfortunately not based on PSA’s latest platform but on an older one. It certainly deserves a pat on the shoulder, but it is not a Car of the Year.


Mercedes Clase E

The E-class is quite a brilliant car, with powerful and frugal engines, a smooth ride, lots of refinement, an excellent nine speed gearbox and good handling. It boasts lots of new technology, but they interfere your driving so much that I experienced them more as art-for-arts sake than useful. It does not keep up with the Alfa as far as beauty and driving pleasure are concerned.


Nissan Micra

Nissan has amazed me, because it succeeded in transforming the hardware of the mediocre old Micra into a new car that looks good, drives well, and keeps up with the best in its segment. Designed for European tastes, with a very controlled ride and a smart system that helps cornering with minimal braking of an inside wheel. A clever car, inside and outside.


Peugeot 3008

Another nice surprise is the Peugeot 3008. It drives well, the diesels are powerful and refined, there is plenty of space, the interior is excellent and its simplicity is a small revelation. It fails to reach the excellent harmony between sportiness and comfort that has marked so many Peugeots, but nevertheless it is a very satisfying drive, especially when luxury and getting from A to B are your priorities.


Toyota C-HR

The biggest surprise in this contest was this Toyota. Why did it take them so long to dream up the C-HR? The styling might not be everybody’s taste but I find it surprisingly attractive, the interior included. Well-made and a much better drive than a Prius. A very nice car for people living in or around cities: comfortable, roomy and practical. The hybrid is okay, but the 1.2-litre turbo engine is the best of the two, offering a pleasant amount of driving pleasure.


Volvo S90/V90

The hardware of this car comes from the XC90, a finalist in this competition last year. I like the looks of especially the V90, but find it a less resolved car than the XC90. It is roomy, safe and well-engineered. It has the ambition to compete with the best cars from Germany but with its front wheel drive and uninspiring engines it fails to convince as a serious alternative.