The best cars of 2010?

There are no definitive car awards. Most major magazines hold some sort of annual award ceremony where the cars of the previous year are judged on a variety of different criteria.

Which is why awards can be taken with a pinch of salt. They’re mostly subjective, and just like the huge variety of cars on the roads today, opinion differs between each person depending on what they look for in a car.

However, they do tend to give us a view on who has impressed during the year, and the recent What Car? Reader Awards do give a glimpse at what over 30,000 drivers think of their car.

It also threw up some unpredictable results. We were surprised to see the Ford Fiesta not feature in the top ten best superminis, but were pleased to see the Alfa Romeo MiTo get the credit it deserves with top spot.

Elsewhere, there was plenty to pick our way through:

Jaguar Land Rover

The awards hinted Land Rover, once dogged with reliability issues, has put the problems firmly behind it with a top place finish for the Land Rover Defender in the Crossovers and 4×4 category. Another Land Rover model, the Freelander, also featured in the top ten.

Drivers clearly feel the king of the 4×4 segment is back, and months of impressive sales figures in 2009 and the successful unveiling of the lightweight Range Rover Evoque has further boosted the brand.

Sister brand Jaguar saw the Jaguar XF featured in the top ten Executive and Luxury cars, and there’s sure to be places for the stunning new XJ coupe next year after a launch earlier in 2010.

The Big Cat also finished sixth in the Best Manufacturer table, highlighting its resurgence since launching the new XK, XF and XJ models.


Ford bounced back from the Fiesta disappointment to record best MPV for the Ford C-Max – a model improved recently to include more efficient engines and more equipment than ever, and buyers clearly agreed it was top of the pile in 2010.

Ford also saw the Mondeo finish ahead of more luxury cars such as the Mercedes B-Class, BMW 3-Series and Lexus IS in the Family/Compact Execs category – showing it can compete while offering the Mondeo at a fraction of the price.


Spanish car maker Seat was voted the seventh best manufacturer in 2010, a testament to the superb Seat Leon, which finished third in the Small Family category, and the all-new Alhambra, which finished second in the MPV section.

The Kia cee’d, Top Gear’s Reasonably Priced Car, also showed it was a good car after it is purchased, with fourth place finishes in the Small Family and Estate category.

Finally, the likes of the Mazda MX-5 roadster, Citroen C5 and Peugeot 407 Coupe all finished in the top three best models in their respective categories.

The awards are a fun look at what people think of their cars and how they rate to own. Don’t take it all too seriously though – the Daihatsu Terios, once described by Top Gear as ‘a good argument for walking’, was voted third in the 4×4 category.