FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS, THE WHAT CAR? CAR OF THE YEAR AWARDS HAVE BEEN THE ANNUAL CULMINATION OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF MILES OF DRIVING BY SOME OF THE MOST EXPERIENCED VEHICLE REVIEWERS IN THE BUSINESS.
Armed with tape measures, they size up a car’s cabin, assess it for style and comfort, look at how much luggage the boot can hold, review the safety features fitted, and report on the fuel economy, performance and driving experience of hundreds of new cars every year.
Widely viewed as one of Britain’s most trusted consumer champions, the testers at What Car? understand what it is drivers, families or company car users seek from the many makes and models of new cars on offer today. So, it is no small accolade that those same testers have named the Honda Civic Type R and CR-V Hybrid as award-winners, taking the Best Hot Hatchback and Best Hybrid for more than £30,000, respectively.
The scores are in. Here’s what the judges had to say…
This is the third year in a row that Honda has secured pole position for the best hot hatchback at the What Car? Awards. The original concept for the hot hatchback was created in the late 1970s and Honda’s Civic Type R has been thrilling drivers since 1997.
Now into its fifth incarnation, the Civic Type R, or CTR as it’s affectionately referred to by car enthusiasts, is more accomplished than ever.
It is powered by a 2-litre, turbocharged petrol engine with Honda’s acclaimed VTEC system (variable valve timing and lift control) and delivers 316bhp. That’s directed to the front wheels using a limited-slip differential while finely tuned suspension, uprated brakes and a manual gearbox complement the engine’s impressive power delivery.
Why What Car? rates the Civic Type R
Steve Huntingford, editor at What Car?, summed up the appeal of the Civic Type R and why it continues to set the pace by which other hot hatchbacks are judged.
“Few cars can be described as ‘perennials’ in our awards,” said Huntingford, “but the Honda Civic Type R is getting to that stage. Over the past three years, the Type R has demolished all comers, and it wins the Hot Hatchback category again this year. It has remarkable traction for a powerful front-wheel-drive car, huge grip in corners and handling that feels as well-honed as a racing car. Yet it's also one of the roomiest, most comfortable and best-equipped hot hatches you can buy.”
Like the Civic Type R, as soon as the CR-V Hybrid arrived in Honda showrooms, the petrol-electric family SUV was stepping up to the stage to accept awards.
This is the second year in a row that What Car? has named the CR-V Hybrid the best hybrid car for more than £30,000. Its testers singled out the SE version in two-wheel drive specification for particular praise.
Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “The fact that the Honda CR-V has now spent two years as our favourite hybrid car costing more than £30,000 is a huge achievement, given how fast things are moving in this class. "It offers precise steering and good grip through corners and doesn’t suffer from excessive road noise. What’s more, its soft suspension makes for a compliant ride, and the CR-V is absolutely huge inside – a major selling point for those who need to regularly take both family and luggage.”
Every version of Honda’s hybrid SUV uses the same powertrain to deliver outstanding efficiency in all driving conditions. It features a 2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine which operates seamlessly with a powerful electric motor and generator.
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