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What Car? Awards 2023 – Make sure you pick a winner for your next lease

 Published 27th February 2023
Driver Guides  General Guides 

Once upon a time, Henry Ford proudly informed his customers they could have any colour car they liked as long as it was black. If only the decisions were still that simple. If you're thinking of leasing a new car you'll be well aware that you've got a lot of decisions to make long before you even get to paint colour. Luckily, the good people at What Car? have announced their annual awards to help you narrow those choices down.

From city cars to SUVs to family hatchbacks to executive saloons, there are a lot of options out there for every style, budget, and requirement. The recently announced What Car? Awards 2023 might be a useful place to start your search for your next car lease.

We've taken a look at a few of this year's winners so you can see what's available. Hopefully there'll be something here to help you decide what you'll be driving for the next few years. With a wide range of categories there's bound to be a winner that ticks your boxes somewhere.

And what better place to start than the overall winner of Car of the Year.

vw id buzz

Volkswagen ID Buzz

Two awards for the price of one this year. The deliberately retro appeal of the VW ID Buzz not only saw it take the overall title, but it also came top in the large electric car category so you know you're getting something impressive.

The obvious appeal of the Buzz's retro design could have encouraged Volkswagen to skimp a little on the engineering and it still would have sold as fast as it could be rolled off the production line. But that's not how VW works so that didn't happen. The engineers didn't skimp and the result combines all the practicality of an MPV with the refinement of a premium SUV and the low running costs of an EV.

Because the heavy battery is positioned low down beneath its floor, the Volkswagen ID Buzz handles more like a premium-badged SUV than a similar-sized MPV. The steering is accurate and nicely weighted, allowing you to confidently place the Buzz in corners, and the ride manages to smooth out the bumps around town, while also feeling very settled on faster roads.

If you're looking for a spacious family car that the kids will adore and that can also minimise your running costs, why would you bother looking anywhere else? The Volkswagen ID Buzz is thoroughly deserving of both of those awards.

And if that's not what you're looking for, we've taken a look at a few other categories that may offer you something a bit more to your liking.

Kia Sportage

Family SUV of the Year

We all know that the SUV has taken over the world. Comfort, space, practicality, and that elevated view of the road are a tough combination to beat. And if you make it a Kia Sportage you'll be driving the SUV that the competition found equally hard to beat.

What Car? tested it extensively in various guises – the hybrid version going up against the rival Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson, and the regular petrol version taking on the Mazda CX-5, Skoda Karoq and Vauxhall Grandland.

Despite stiff competition from some very good alternatives, none of it really made any difference as the Kia Sportage emerged victorious every time. What Car? has clearly demonstrated that it's now the best family SUV you can drive.

Hyundai i20 n

Hot Hatch of the Year

The hot hatch came into being as a cheap alternative to sports and performance cars. Nowadays many of them could give a supercar a run for its money, and they can also carry the price tag to match the power. Not so with the Hyundai i20 N.

You're not going to get the blistering performance of something like the Mercedes AMG A45 or Ford Focus RS, but Hyundai has still squeezed a load of excitement from a relatively small engine. You also get the benefit of lower running costs too.

The i20 N produces a very healthy 200bhp that allows you to enjoy revving the engine without worrying about your driving licence, and if you can change gear fast enough you'll still get to 60mph in around 6 seconds so it's no slouch pulling away at the lights.

range rover sport

Luxury Car of the Year

Luxury is one of those things we all understand but is hard to define. If you're looking for an example with universal appeal the Range Rover Sport is about as universal as it gets.

If you're looking for comfort, the Range Rover is definitely up there with its heated, 20-way adjustable seats and imperious driving position. You're surrounded by premium materials too, most of which are shared with the full-size Range Rover which is very impressive given the sizeable price gap between the two models.

The standard air suspension smooths out the bumps so you feel like you're gliding along the road, and if you opt for the plug-in hybrid P440e the 3.0-litre petrol engine combined with the electric motor gives you 434bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 5.8 seconds. Comfort, quality, and power are pretty much the definition of luxury.

mg4 ev

Small Electric Car of the Year

The MG4 EV spotted a gap in the market and went for it. The popularity of electric cars is currently growing faster than the prices are dropping so an EV with a competitive price tag was always going to be a winner.

If you want to know how competitively priced the MG4 is compared to similar sized options like the Cupra Born and Volkswagen ID 3, just bear in mind it undercuts the others by up to £10,000. In some cases, it's actually cheaper than much smaller electric hatchbacks.

Incredibly, that doesn't mean you miss out on anything either. You still get lots of space, a well-equipped cabin, good build quality, and of course, the lower running costs of an EV. What Car? decided the best version is actually the cheapest one too. The entry-level SE features a 50.8kWh battery that gives an official range of 218 miles and can be replenished from 10-80% in around 37 minutes.

Honda jazz

Small Car of the Year

The Honda Jazz is one of those cars that doesn't make a fuss. It just gets on with the job in hand and does it absolutely brilliantly without shouting about it. If you're looking for a small car that's head and shoulders above the rest, then this is the one to go for.

The Jazz's mini-MPV shape gives it one of the most spacious interiors in its segment. There's plenty of room for six-footers in the front and rear seats, and if no one needs to sit in the back, you can flip up the bases of the 'Magic Seats' to make room for taller items or fold them flat to create a load space that puts other small cars to shame. In terms of practicality, the Honda is hard to beat.

You get plenty of equipment in the cabin, revvy little engines that can still put a smile on your face when you're in the mood for fun, and when did you ever hear someone complaining about the build quality and reliability of a Honda?

So that's our rundown of the key What Car? Award winners. But if you're still stuck for choice, give one of our leasing executives a call on 01299 407 360 and they can make a few suggestions of their own to help you decide on the next car you should lease.

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