Car of the Year 2013 shortlist announced

17 Dec, 2012 6:48pm Tom Phillips

The Car of the Year 2013 shortlist of eight has been announced

The annual Car of the Year 2013 shortlist has been announced, with the top eight cars launched in the past 12 months competing for the award that will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013.

We’ve listed the eight nominees below – the Ford B-MAX, Hyundai i30, Mercedes Benz A-Class, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT 86, Volkswagen Golf and Volvo V40 – along with our verdicts.

But which is your choice to win the coveted Car of the Year gong? Let us know in the comments below:

Ford B-MAX

We said: “The Ford B-MAX tops the class, as much for the way it drives as its ability to swallow people and bags, although interior quality isn’t at VW standards and there’s only one auto option.”

Auto Express verdict: 5 stars

Hyundai i30

We said: “Bold styling, classy cabin and decent dynamics make new Hyundai i30 a serious VW Golf rival, but the ride is firm, the interior design is a bit fussy and residual values are poor.”

Auto Express verdict: 4 stars

Mercedes Benz A-Class

We said: “The stylish Mercedes A-Class has ditched its dumpy MPV styling and is now a proper rival to the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series, but there are some question marks over the interior quality, the ride and the expensive options.”

Auto Express verdict: 4 stars

Peugeot 208

We said: “Our supermini of the year, the Peugeot 208, is stylish, well made and good to drive. However, it’s not quite as fun as a Fiesta and it’s more grown-up than a VW Polo.”

Auto Express verdict: 5 stars

Renault Clio

We said: “The Renault Clio has attractive styling, great scope for personalisation options, and super-efficient engines, although the UK misses out on an estate model and the Clio isn’t as good to drive as others in the hotly contested supermini segment."

Auto Express verdict: 4 stars

Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT 86

We said: “The rear-wheel-drive Toyota GT 86 and Subaru BRZ sisters are great fun to drive, competitively priced and have brilliant handling, although the engine is slightly gutless and there are a few questions over the interior plastics.”

Auto Express verdict: 4 stars

Volkswagen Golf

We said: “The new VW Golf is an outstanding car, blending quality and efficiency better than many rivals. Any negatives? Not much...”

Auto Express verdict: 5 stars

Volvo V40

We said: “The Volvo V40 offers stylish looks, tiny emissions and tonnes of safety kit. But the small boot, expensive flagship models and costly servicing count against it.”

Auto Express verdict: 4 stars

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I personally would go for the Hyundai i30, if only for the fact that it has demonstrated how overpriced many European marques' cars are. A car that is dynamically equal with its European counterparts yet undercuts them by as much as £2000 in some cases, is vastly more revolutionary - I'd say - than Ford removing the B-pillar, or VW producing another extremely competent, yet very expensive Golf.


1st place to the new Toyota/Subaru twins - two of the most exciting real world cars in years.
Runner -up B Max or Clio possibly?

An interesting list
I am surprised to see I30 among the finalists. This Korean company deserves an award for the improvement it has achieved over the last few years. Only carbuyer recognised its talent and gave it car of the year.
B-Max is an interesting Fiesta-based mini-MPV. Sliding door makes it useful but removing the B-pillar is no more than a gimmick. The 1L engine is a decent contribution.
A-Class is a design revolution compared.
208 looks better than 207 and is smaller and lighter yet more roomy than before. The 1L engine is a good innovation.
Clio is a good looking car and boasts efficient new engines. Old engines have been much improved too.
GT86: The less said the better. Its a legend in the making.
Golf as before defines and leads the class. Design is conservative. Cylinder deactivation is a decent innovation. VW did well to keep the price in check.
V40 is comfortable as Volvos are and leads the class in safety innovations.
A very interesting list. If driving pleasure is anythingn to go by GT86 will win hands down.
If safety is paramount, V40 can't be overlooked.
Golf and B-Max stand a good chance too.

"removing the b-pillar is a gimmick" umm, i dont think so, by removing it you gain far more access to the car which for a family based model is exceptional, personally the car is already old by using too many links with other models, it should have been better and more modernly (is that a word) designed. The new Transit is better looking that this from the front.

Toyota and Suburu have interiors from the 80's. that's a crime!

All a bit predictable on the shortlist except BRZ/GT86, so it should win in the absence of the car that should have been in it to win it of course... the Hyundai Veloster Turbo SE.

With all due respect I disagree with you on this one. I test drove the car at my local Ford dealer and I didn't feel secure in the absence of B-pillar. Its absence did not only feel weird but given Ford's so-so reliability record, the latch that locks the sliding doors into the front door could easily fail and lead to tragedies after couple of years of ownership.
Seondly I did not find the B-pillar's absence contributing significantly to improving access to the rear unless I had to for some strange reason climb over the back of the front seats. In fact the lack of B-pillar means you've nothing to hold on to when the door is wide open.

I also don't think the removal of the B pillar is a Gimmick make for a much more practical town car.

Aren't Fords are more reliable than VW's for example, in fact I believe they are the 4th most reliable manufacturer just check the reliability index site. It's the Dealers that let them down. Secondly regarding safety the NCAP test will reveal all. I suspect it will pass with flying colours.

Who holds onto the B pillar when exiting a car! There are these funny things mounted in the ceiling of the car called handles, I know it's an odd concept but heh it works!

Why? it's a Good car but hardly revolutionary! Besides there will be a new one next year! :oP
I'd be more inclined to give it to the i30 or BMax