juez

Andrew Frankel (United Kingdom)

My judgement is based on following grounds:

Alfa Romeo Giulia

A revolution for Alfa Romeo and its most competitive car in the last 30 years. Probably not as good as C-class and 3-series class leaders but a viable option for anyone seeking a better looking, less obvious choice. All that remains to be seen is if the European dealer network can offer the customer service of its rivals. Only when people replace their Giulias will we know how successful, ultimately, it will be.

 

Citroën C3

It is good to see Citroen once more building cars that not only ooze charm but work in the real world too. The C3 is fun to look at, fun to drive, yet frugal and good value. Construction standards are not the best and one version I drove had excessive wind noise, but still an immensely likeable car that will put a smile on your face every time you drive. In this class even today, that remains a rare and special commodity.

 

Mercedes Clase E

A new level of comfort and refinement comes to the executive class. Keep the wheel sizes small and the E-class will ride as well as anything this side of a Rolls-Royce, and cosset you in the most luxurious, best looking interior in the class. It’s spacious, entertaining to drive and the small diesel is exceptionally frugal. For the job it is designed to do, a quite exceptional car.

 

Nissan Micra

It’s taken nearly a decade, but finally here is a car that that’s not content to be second best to a Fiesta. In terms of packaging, interior and exterior styling, driving dynamics, ride and refinement, the Micra is probably the most complete small car I’ve driven. It takes Nissan from the bottom of the class to the top. Expensive but worth it.

 

Peugeot 3008

Probably the best looking interior of any crossover is not enough to elevate the 3008 far up the class. Passengers might enjoy the looks and the view out, but as a driver I dislike the tiny steering wheel and instrument positioning. Moreover the damping is poor, resulting in a mediocre ride and the steering too light and lacking in feel. Improved overall, but not enough, and less fun to drive than the last one.

 

Toyota C-HR

Strangely I enjoyed the C-HR far more at our Silverstone day than when I first drove it. I still don’t like the interior (especially the way the infotainment screen works) and the CVT gearbox in the hybrid is as flawed as ever, but the chassis is excellent and offers ride quality with first class handling characteristics, a real rarity in this class. Having cared little for it originally, I now hope it does well.

 

Volvo S90/V90

If measured only on improvement over its predecessor, the S90/V90 should vie with the Micra for the overall title. But despite great looks and a fantastic interior, in other regards the car is more good than great. If Volvo is to mount a sustained challenge to BMW and Mercedes it needs to bring its engineering expertise to the same level of excellence as its design has already reached.