CAR AWARDS – Do They Influence You? Or Should You Listen to Your Leasing Company?
Just like TV, movies & pop music, the motor industry seems to covet the awards it gets for its products and makes a great deal of noise about any awards it gets in an effort to influence us to park one up our driveways.
You would think if something was the best, well it would come out as best no matter who was presenting the awards, but that’s clearly not the case.
Just like in other awards, the music producers, or film makers or in this case, the car manufacturers court the judges so that they look kindly on what they’ve got on offer and we’ve seen that first hand at product launches we have been to around the world, just how the biggest movers and shakers get wined and dined and generally doted on in unbelievable ways, just so that they say, or more importantly, write nice things about the product that’s being launched.
To be fair, I can probably understand why this is, because when it comes to cars, most of us either aren’t that interested, or aren’t knowledgeable, or simply have a badge preference meaning that we are going to buy the brand we know and are familiar with. We might however, let vanity take over and buy a car purely because it’s got a posh badge. Ask yourself, how many different vehicles other than your own, have you driven in the past year, or even in the past 2 or 3 years and for most of us, its very few, so we aren’t experts but God forbid we leave it to the folks off Top Gear to point us in the right direction either, so maybe the awards are some kind of indication as to what a number of informed people think. Don’t forget however a reviewer liking a car and it being any good doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand.
Well, the journalists that decide on these awards are just like us in the Leasing Industry and drive literally 100’s of different cars or models each year, so should be able to tell you what they think is best? Well you would think so, but fact is, pretty much all the cars you can go out and buy today are going to do the job for you, none of them is real rubbish, but some of them are a bit nicer and a view on that usually comes down to the ticket price and dare I say it personal preference or bias.
For us at BVL we try and look at cars on their merits, of course we drive them, test them and compare them, but we consider bang-for-buck as a major criteria and of course, a £40,000 Jaguar XF is going to be nicer than a £15,000 Vauxhall Astra, but in all honesty, the £15,000 Vauxhall Astra is the diamond here as for the main part, its going to do the same job as the Jaguar but for much less than half of the Jaguars price. For us therefore, we rightly expect expensive cars wearing posh badges to be excellent, but we are sad to say, are so often we are disappointed. Value for money, that’s the first box everything has to tick to be special.
So with all this in mind, the first couple of awards presentations have taken place and below is what the wise people from the magazines involved consider what you should spend your cash on:-
Firstly:- WhatCar? Magazine:-
Overall Winner – Volkswagen Up 1.0 75 High
Supermini – Audi A1 1.4 TFSI 122 Sport
Small Family Car – Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 122 Match 5dr
City Car – Volkswagen Up
Family Car – Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi 115 Eco Zetec S/S
Estate Car – Ford Mondeo Estate 2.0 TDCi 140 Zetec
Performance Car – Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK
MPV – Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 140 Ecomotive S
Coupe – Audi TT 2.0 TFSI 211 Sport
Hot Hatch – Renault Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup
SUV – BMW X3 xDrive20d SE automatic
Executive Car – BMW 3 Series 320d SE automatic
Open Top Car – Audi TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI 211 Sport
Luxury Car – Mercedes Benz S-Class S350 CDI Bluetec
Low Carbon Award – Kia
Safety Award – Volkswagen Up
Security Award – MG6
Reader Award – Jaguar C-X16
Business Car Magazine devotes it’s time to advising drivers what the best cars are for use in your company and perhaps look at things slightly differently and take into consideration a vehicles whole life costs, its C02 figure, its MPG.
Business Car Magazine Awards:-
Manufacturer of the Year: BMW
Green Model of the Year: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics
City Car: Fiat 500 (WhatCar? Picked the VW UP)
Supermini: Mini (WhatCar? Picked the Audi A1)
Lower Medium: Audi A3
Upper Medium: BMW 3-series
Executive: Jaguar XF (WhatCar? chose a BMW 3 Series)
Luxury: BMW 7-series (WhatCar? chose a Mercedes)
Small 4×4: Range Rover Evoque (not awarded at all by WhatCar?)
Large 4×4: BMW X5
Mini-MPV: Ford C-max
MPV: Ford S-max (WhatCar? chose a SEAT)
Sports: Audi R8
A notorious awarder of titles to odd cars is the panel from the “European Car of the Year Awards”
In the past the journalists that arrive at the eventual winner have picked some real turkeys with a historical bias towards Fiat, who have taken most titles with 9 in the bag. The award is strange in as much as you might expect the vehicles they are going to give these coveted awards to may have been around a while, so Joe public like me and you have owned them or driven them and they have a bit of a track record, but so often, that does not seem to be the case, take the Insignia, which got the award as car of the year before you could even buy it in the UK.
Anyway, the shortlist for 2012 European Car of the Year have been announced and whilst there were 35 cars up for consideration, the 59 jury members has reduced that list to the final seven which are:-
Opel (Vauxhall) Ampera/Chevrolet Volt
Range Rover Evoque
The other candidates were the cars below, but all lost out following the last round of judging.
Audi A6, Audi Q3, BMW 1-Series, BMW 6-Series, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet Orlando
Citroen DS4, Honda Civic, Hyundai i40, Hyundai Veloster, Kia Picanto, Kia Rio
Lancia Ypsilon, Lexus GS, Mazda CX-5, Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Mercedes-Benz ML-Class
Mercedes-Benz SLK, Opel Zafira Tourer, Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4, Peugeot 5008, Porsche 911
Renault Fluence ZE, Renault Kangoo ZE, Ssangyong Korando, Toyota Verso-S/Subaru Trezia
Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Jetta
These are just the start of car awards from different sources that are going to appear up during the year and I guess most of them are going to be different. OK, some of the same names will pop up in different awards, but it still doesn’t make it any easier to make your mind up what’s right for you.
For us, as leasing company running 100’s of cars, it’s been a real eye opener. We often see our cars used in the worst possible way but as for the main part; we pay for all the repairs, we also get to know how reliable different vehicles are and what they “really” cost to run. We have seen myths fall as many of the cars that the public generally perceive to be super reliable, have been just the opposite and have cost enormous amounts to keep on the road. In reality, it seems that almost all cars are pretty good when treated with kid-gloves, but in our experience, some just don’t cut it when used more aggressively and for many business users, where time is money and making everyday like a Sunday afternoon drive, just isn’t possible.
So my advice to you is to talk to your leasing company (doesn’t have to be us), but your lease company has all the information and doesn’t have an axe to grind, and will supply you what ever you choose, but ask them for their advice as it’s probably going to be the most honest and informed opinion you are going to find.