If you’re looking to drive a new car this year, it can pay to consider an award winning model. Now, ahead of a ceremony in March, the 2014 Car of the Year shortlist has been unveiled.
There are plenty of great choices for car leasing and contract hire customers on all budgets. From a family hatchback to a fully electric vehicle, the seven car shortlist offers a broad range of options.
Here, we look at the contenders for this year’s Car of the Year.
The shortlist for the 2014 Car of the Year
While electric cars still account for a small percentage of the car leasing and contract hire market there are two alternative fuelled cars on this year’s shortlist.
The i3 is the first of BMW’s family of electric ‘iCars’ and is available in full EV and range-extender form. The German company hope to make electric cars desirable at a fraction of the price of Tesla’s impressive Model S luxury saloon (see later).
The third generation Mazda 3 family hatchback is lighter than before but also offers a wide choice of other benefits. It’s one of the best looking family hatchbacks in its class, and one of the finest to drive, in both petrol and twin-turbo diesel form. Car magazine says it thinks the Mazda 3 could be this year’s ‘dark horse’.
The new Octavia uses the same chassis as 2013’s Car of the Year champion, the Mark 7 Volkswagen Golf. It appeals to car lease and contract hire drivers because it offers salon levels of space at the price of a family hatchback.
The Picasso has always been popular with car leasing and hire purchase customers and this year’s C4 keeps up a fine tradition for the MPV. The new C4 Picasso boasts a striking new design and a fresh take on MPV cabins thanks to two enormous touchscreen interfaces to keep both passengers and parents occupied.
This fully electric car has been on sale in the USA for over a year but has only just arrived in Europe. While it is out of the price range of many car leasing customers – from £50k – £85k in Europe – it blends performance with economy. The top –specification Performance Model S will outrun a BMW M5, yet the Tesla manages a realistic 300-mile range on one charge.
In terms of technological advances there is no car on the list that touches the Mercedes S-Class. The German manufacturer says that it is ready to make a fully automated version of this car – when driving laws catch up. This model will cruise on motorways, park and brake by itself. And, it automatically adjusts the ride by scanning the road ahead for bumps. Car says it is one of this year’s favourites.
The design of the 308 has been improved and this is a smarter, lighter and more economical Peugeot than before. In a market where there is stiff competition, this could finally be a breakthrough model for the French manufacturer.
The 2014 awards
The seven cars on the shortlist will be analysed against a number of factors including safety, value, practicality, innovation, technology, and driver enjoyment.
The next step is an intensive test-driving programme of the shortlist. The winner will be announced on 3 March 2014, at the Geneva motor show.