THE Volvo XC40 has been named as What Car? Car of the Year (COTY) for 2018.
The Swedish SUV saw off competition from the Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq to win the Family SUV category, before beating 20 other category winners to be named as the overall Car of the Year during the 40th anniversary awards ceremony, held on January 23 in London. The first What Car? Car of the Year Awards were held in 1978.
Other categories included Hybrid Car of the Year, Sports Car of the Year and Luxury Car of the Year.
The D4 diesel version of the XC40 beat all the other category winners on the night to take Volvo’s first ever overall What Car? Car of the Year Award.
As well as securing this title, the XC40 was named Family SUV of the Year – a new category for 2018 that was added in response to the huge demand for these high-riding machines; there were already Small, Large and Luxury SUV categories.
What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “The SUV segment is incredibly competitive, so it’s testament to the brilliance of the XC40 that it stands out. With its mix of comfort and quality, safety and style, it excels in all the areas that are important to buyers.
“Of course, we were very aware that some people would still consider the XC40 a controversial choice due to the fact the best engine in the range is a diesel. However, our independent True MPG tests prove that this latest engine emits less NOx than plenty of petrols, while offering the low CO2 that made diesels so popular in the first place.
“Our judging panel refused to be swayed by the anti-diesel hysteria coming from politicians and some of the mainstream press and instead made their decision based purely on the merits of the cars. Our belief is that for many car buyers diesel remains the right economic and environmental choice – and for those that it doesn’t suit, a petrol or electrified alternative is available.
“The fact is the Volvo XC40 is a stunning achievement and proves to car buyers everywhere that diesels are definitely not dead.”
In recognition of this, What Car? has launched a new What Fuel? widget on its website, helping consumers to work out if a diesel car is the right choice for their lifestyle.
Simon Ackers, CEO of COTY sponsors Warranty Direct, added: “The What Car? Awards is one of the most celebrated events in the motoring calendar. We are proud to be headline sponsors for the sixth year running and to continue working with a partner whose values so prominently reflect our own.
“The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of individual car manufacturers, creating invaluable insight and expert advice for consumers across the country.”
Jon Wakefield, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK, said: “The XC40 perfectly showcases the bold new direction Volvo is taking, and brings our class-leading connectivity, semi-autonomous drive technology and innovative storage solutions to the premium family SUV market.
“We are immensely proud of the XC40, and for the experts at What Car? to award it their ultimate accolade is the perfect start to what will be a hugely significant year for Volvo.”
The XC40 wasn’t the only SUV launched in 2017 to make a big impression on the judges. Seat’s latest offering, the Arona, took the Small SUV of the Year prize, while the Peugeot 5008 was named Large SUV of the Year.
Audi also had a successful night, scooping three awards: Executive Car of the Year with the A4, Coupé of the Year with the TT, and Luxury SUV of the Year with the Q7.
What Car? readers also expressed their thoughts on the year ahead, voting Jaguar’s first electric car, the I-pace, the most exciting new car due to be launched in 2018.
And reflecting What Car?’s status as a consumer champion, a new True MPG Award was introduced this year and given to the Suzuki Ignis – the most efficient car the title has ever tested, with an average of 59.6mpg in real-world driving conditions.
Volvo took another trophy home, after its XC60 won the Safety Award, while Tesla was handed the Technology Award for blazing a trail in the automotive industry with its ‘forward-thinking, innovative mind-set’.