Best Cars of 2020 – Read About Our Choices For The Top Cars Of The Year
For those that love cars, there’s little better in life than that moment you decide it’s time to replace your daily driver. The biggest questions we ask ourselves, however, is whether we’re going to go new or buy a used equivalent.
Twenty years ago, many people still chose to buy their cars outright from new but as technology and materials increase in value, prices for new models have increased leaving most of us feeling more than a little impoverished. Luckily, manufacturers have been aware of this for some time and are currently offering some, quite frankly, ludicrous deals for monthly leasing or a personal contract purchase of most of the cars featured below. So if you’re feeling like treating yourself, what are the best cars of 2020?
Best All-Rounder: Volkswagen Golf 8
It may seem like a bit of a cliché choice – but that’s with good reasoning. This German classic is now in its eight iteration since launching almost 50 years ago in 1974, and has managed to remain on top of heap for most of that time.
The third to sixth generations of this legendary hot hatch failed to set the world on fire, but thanks to the MK7, we began to see a little of what the Golf so popular start to trickle back into its DNA. The MK8 however, has ironed out all the small niggles and annoyances that the MK7 failed to address and is a genuinely phenomenal car. Spacious, fast, reliable, safe and with a new, more aggressive front end, the best version of the new Golf is the 1.5 TSI 150, offering a 1.5 litre petrol engine, providing a 0-60 time in only 8.5 seconds, and offering a whopping 51.4mpg.
Inside and outside, it’s a standard Volkswagen affair with high quality materials throughout and there’s no shortage of the latest technology. But no matter whether you’re blasting down B-roads, tootling around town or mashing the miles down the motorway, there are few cars available today with an appeal a wide as the 2020 Golf.
Best Family Car: Volvo XC90 Recharge T8
While other manufacturers may claim to make the ultimate family car, nothing gives you more confidence in your vehicle than when you see a Volvo badge slapped on the front. The XC90 is almost 20 years now, but only in its second generation. Why? Because you don’t need new iterations when the present model is so far ahead of the competition.
Not only is the XC90 R-T8 a bit of a looker and well thought out for families, it’s also the first version to feature a hybrid engine. Those who remember the first generation will recall that it wasn’t the king of fuel economy by any stretch of the imagination, and while the new hybrid extends the range of the car somewhat it still falls behind its competitors for running costs.
Luckily, none of that matters as this is a car built by people who know their buyers. Every aspect of this car has been designed around making a parent’s life easier but without sacrificing a fun daily drive.
Best Runabout: Honda E
To be perfectly honest, this car could be missing its engine and we’d still want one based on its looks alone. The shockingly adorable Honda E is the Japanese motor-giants latest foray in the world of electric only cars. With a range of up to 137 miles and a 0-60 time of 8.3 seconds, the E is no slouch and offers more than enough battery capacity for those that don’t do much motorway driving. One of the key features of the new Honda E is the ability to charge up to 80% in just 31 minutes – and thanks to the government grants promoting environmentally-friendly cars, it really is a charming, cost-effective way to get around town. The only downside of the E is the cost which, at over £25,000 is a hard pill to swallow, especially when it’s fighting for your attention with the…
Best Hot-Hatch: Volkswagen Up! GTI
Back in the Seventies, the launch of the Golf hot hatch brought fun, accessible motoring to the masses for the first time. It was a simple concept – light body, high-powered and cheap – and this propelled the Golf to record sales through its first two iterations.
As many hardcore hot hatch aficionados will agree, however, over the years the Golf has lost touch with its rebellious roots as it grows larger, heavier with every passing year – poisoning the legend. But if the newer Golfs are poison, then the VW Up! GTI is the antidote.
An utter joy to drive, the Up! GTI is a minuscule car featuring a 113bhp, one litre engine stolen from its bigger brother the Polo. But thanks to its power-weight ratio, it goes like the clappers, hitting 0-60 in just under nine seconds, and a fantastic return of 58mpg. More than anything else, the Up! GTI is just the embodiment of fun, and at only £16,000 new – there’s no better car to rag around in Morrison’s car park on a Saturday night while playing trance music.
Best Driver’s Car: Mazda MX-5
The original king of the B-roads, the Mazda MX-5 needs no introduction. As one of the few rear-wheel drive roadsters left on the market, competition isn’t too plentiful. But that doesn’t matter as the 2020 MX-5 is all you need.
This B-road barnstormer offers excellent handling, great acceleration and suspension that will keep you glued to the road, no matter how cocky you get. The MX-5 is available as both a hard-top and hard-top convertible, meaning you don’t have to worry about the grim-looking aged canopies from the Mazdas of old. While Mazdas aren’t the cheapest car to service, they are incredibly reliable and its MX-5 is sure to put a smile on your face whenever you get a chance to use it.
Best 4×4: LR Defender
Anyone who knows cars loves the Land Rover Defender. Originally built in 1948, the original Defender had a production of over 70 years and has carved out its place in our hearts. Even though they were loud, unreliable and slow with the aerodynamics of a concrete building, it’s one of those vehicles that is just impossible to hate.
So, imagine the outcry when Land Rover announced that they were re-designing and re-launching the Defender for 2020. To many, this felt like sacrilege, but once they saw it in action, they soon changed their tune.
With a wading depth of one metre (double that of the previous model), a terrain-analysing computer and more cameras that a Netflix studio, the new Defender is the new undisputed champ of the off-road world. And even shocking is that you can actually drive this one on a road and be comfortable – an achievement most thought would be unachievable in a Defender.
Best Car For Petrolheads: Chevrolet Corvette C8
Sometimes its good to have a mid-life crisis. Especially if the result is the purchase of one of the most fun, affordable, muscle cars since, well, the last Corvette.
American cars have never sold well in Europe. Their reputation for low cost materials and forgettable ride comfort and handling has always forced them to play second fiddle to their German and Italian counterparts. The only exception to this rule, however, has been the Corvette.
With a massive 6.2 litre V8 engine generating up to 495bhp and an 8-speed automatic transmission with flappy-paddles, this beast of a car will propel you from 0-60 in a skull-shattering 3.3 seconds and continue accelerating until it hits 194mpg. The most shocking part of this car, though, is the price. At just £47,230, this is a car that can outpace a Ferrari three times the price. Plus, it isn’t arrogant – it makes no effort to pretend it is anything other than what it is – which is a big, dumb, fun car designed to put a smile on your face.
Editor’s Choice 2020: Tesla Model 3
You could easily be forgiven for being fearful of the electric car revolution – especially after seeing the disastrous attempts that were made in the eighties and nineties. Thankfully, technology has come a long way since then and there are now a number of electric cars worth looking at.
Tesla is now the most valuable car manufacturer in the world, approaching $500bn in value towards the end of 2020, and its strategy to build the kind of cars you dreamt about as a kid is most definitely a contributing factor to that. While the Model S is larger and faster, the Model 3 just ticks all the boxes with such proficiency we had to give it our Editor’s Choice award.
Filled to the brim with gadgets including auto-pilot, summon mode, hyper-charging and even a performance setting known as ‘Insanity Mode’, the Model 3 has something for everyone. Although, those willing to try insanity mode are urged to be a little cautious as the top version of car can go from 0-60 in just 3.2 seconds.
If Money Wasn’t An Issue: Rolls Royce Phantom 2020
If you’ve driven an Audi A8 or Mercedes S-Class, you’ll more than likely be aware of the level of luxury granted to you as a driver. In many ways it’s hard to imagine a driving experience more comfortable than many of the German executive cars available. Unless you’ve driven a Rolls Royce Phantom that is.
The lengths to which engineers have gone to provide you with an experience like no other is incomparable in many ways. The leather used is only taken from cattle who lived at high altitudes to prevent the skin’s aesthetic being ruined from mosquito bites. The LED lights fixed in the roof shine down displaying the positions of the stars on the day you were born. All paintwork is carried out by hand, not by a robot.
The most shocking thing about the Phantom, though, is the ride comfort. With air suspension that soaks up all road imperfections, light steering and monstrous power from the 6.7 litre V12 engine that propels this two and half tonne beast from 0-60mph in just over five seconds.
A Rolls Royce will still depreciate like any car – but that’s not why you buy one. With the ability to customise everything from the materials to the interior wood panels, buying a hand-built Rolls is a decision you make with your heart, not with your wallet.
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