MOST of us inhabitants of Planet Real World tend to look at new car awards with the same detached interest that we watch the Hollywood Oscars or the World Cup in South Africa – all very nice and swish but as relevant to our day-to-day lives as a sharp increase in the price of diamonds.
No, we are far more likely to be touched by events in the second-hand car market, which is why the ‘What Car?’ Used Car of the Year awards interested me far more than the latest £1.5m Bugatti strutting its stuff under the spotlights at the Paris Motor Show, beguiling though it was.
A 10-strong judging panel drawn from all branches of the industry was tasked with selecting the winners in nine categories of used car, with the criteria including running costs, reliability, drivability, quality, longevity, safety features and desirability.
And while Vauxhall grabbed its share of the headlines by picking up three class awards, the overall winner was the five-door version of the Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCI Zetec. A 2007 model, loaded with kit and bags of space for a family, will apparently set you back just £8,600 – a saving of more than £10,000 on a new one.
Steve Fowler, ‘What Car?’ editor-in-chief and competition judge, said: “It’s hard to find fault with the Mondeo – especially at the price. It’s a comfortable cruiser for covering motorway miles, yet it’s still great fun to drive and makes an extremely capable family car. There’s loads of cabin space and it’s solid and well put together.”
Ford made it a double by also lifting the Used Green Car Award for the Focus 1.6 TDCi 90 Style 5-door. Priced at £7,765 for a 2008 model, the Focus emits super-low carbon dioxide and costs just £30 per year in road tax and £990 a year in fuel, based on driving 12,000 miles.
Vauxhall’s hat-trick of awards featured the Corsa as the best used supermini, the Zafira as the top choice in the MPV category while the Vectra Estate was voted the best estate. I think it must be assumed that the judges disregarded the desirability element in these categories.
The Kia Cee’d won the small family car award and the Land Rover Discovery 2.7 TDV6 SE was voted the best 4×4. The executive and luxury category was won by the Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI and the Porsche Boxster 2.7 took the award for best used sports car.
The Bugatti Veyron wasn’t even shortlisted.