Renault and VW take electric What Car? awards

The What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2016 saw prizes awarded to the Renault Zoe and Volkswagen Passat GTE in the electric car categories. The Passat Estate GTE scooped the overall Best Electric Car prize, along with winning the Best Buy £20,000-£40,000 category. Meanwhile, Renault's Zoe Dynamique Nav Rapid Charge took the Best Electric Car for less than £20,000 title for third year running.

The judges said of the Passat GTE: "This really is the kind of hybrid you could use every day without even thinking of it as an EV. The Passat GTE mixes a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor and VW's six-speed DSG automatic gearbox, and it shifts between the two power sources smoothly.

"The interior quality is every bit as good as on other Passats, there's enough room for five adults to sit in comfort, and our preferred edition, the Estate, has a boot that'll take all but the largest loads. Best of all, the Passat Estate GTE makes a great potential company car choice thanks to its official CO2 emissions of just 39 g/km and a benefit-in-kind tax rate of 5 per cent. It's easily the best family hybrid we've seen to date."

Commenting on the decision to give ZOE the award for a third consecutive year, Jim Holder, Editorial Director, What Car? said: "The Renault Zoe was our favourite electric car for less than £20,000 a year ago, and tweaks to the specification and the added ability to go further have only increased its appeal. The Zoe's main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car that happens to cost pennies to run.

"The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the cabin seats four in reasonable comfort. Even the boot is larger than you'll find in many regular small cars – easily big enough for a week's shopping."

Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE

The respected What Car? Awards are now in their 39th year and recognise the best cars on sale in Britain according to the consumer advice publication's team of testers. The models are tested according to 16 award criteria, including analysis of ownership costs and real world MPG figures.

The overall Car of the Year title was won by Audi's A4 which is available with CO2 emissions as low as 99 g/km, though the winning model has efficiency figures of 115 g/km CO2 and 64 MPG.

The VW Group did particularly well in the awards despite a difficult few months for the company, not only taking the overall title with Audi but also winning eight of the 19 Best Buy categories. Skoda took honours in the Small Car, Family Car and Estate Car sections with the Fabia, Octavia and Superb Estate respectively proving the current strength of the Czech firm's line-up. Volkswagen took the previously mentioned Electric Car title along with the MPV award, while Audi's TT joined the A4 in the winners circle with the Coupe prize.

The Toyota Mirai and Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell shared the Technology Award for their zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles, while another green champion in the shape of the Volvo XC90 - available in T8 TwinEngine plug-in hybrid form - won the Safety Award, backing up its Euro NCAP success.

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:14th Jan 2016

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