Award Winning Cars at Smiths Motor Group

If you are looking for an award winning new car you could do a lot worse than visit Smiths Motor Group, with no fewer than five cars available at our dealerships winning awards at this year’s What Car? Awards.

Dacia Sandero – Best Small Car Under £12,000

The Dacia Sandero Ambiance 1.2 picked up the Best Small Car Under £12,000 award for the fourth consecutive year.

First picking up the accolade in 2013 following the brand’s entrance into the UK car market, and retaining the award in 2014 and 2015, the practical and affordable supermini has taken the honours once more to truly reaffirm its popularity alongside the rest of Dacia’s ‘shockingly affordable’ range.

Commenting on the decision to give the award to the Sandero for the fourth time, Jim Holder, Editorial Director, What Car? said: “If you're looking for budget motoring, it’s hard to go wrong with the Dacia Sandero. In entry-level specification it’s the cheapest new car available in the UK, yet it offers comfortable seating for four adults and a big boot. We’d recommend spending a little more on the slightly higher-specification Ambiance version, though. It adds several key creature comforts, including remote central locking, electric front windows and Bluetooth connectivity, which makes the Sandero much more enjoyable to own.”

Also commenting on the result, Louise O’Sullivan, Head of Dacia UK said: “We’re delighted that the judges at What Car? have recognised the Sandero’s qualities for a fourth consecutive year – especially given that starting from a ‘shockingly affordable’ price of £5,995 you can get one from just half the amount of the category it competes in.”

The Dacia Sandero is a five-door hatchback, available in three trim levels with a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel engine. Pricing starts from £5,995, making it the lowest priced new car on sale in the UK today. The specific Ambiance version chosen by What Car? comes with features such as Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows and USB connectivity.

Renault ZOE – Best Electric Car for Less than £20,000

This is the third year in a row that the Renault ZOE has been awarded the Best Electric Car for Less than £20,000 award by What Car?.

Commenting on the decision to give ZOE the award for a third consecutive year, Jim Holder, Editorial Director, What Car? said: “The Renault ZOE was our favorite electric car for less than £20,000 a year ago, and tweaks to the specification and the added ability to go further have only increased its appeal. The ZOE’s main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car that happens to cost pennies to run. The electric motor has enough shove for the ZOE to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the cabin seats four in reasonable comfort.

“The rapid charger means that you can get the ZOE’s battery from flat to 80 per cent of its capacity in as little as 30 minutes, using one of the fast charging public points. With a full charge, you’ll be good for around 90 miles – more than enough for the average commute. Renault even includes installation of a home charger in the price. The standard kit list looks good, too, with a reversing camera and an excellent infotainment system with satellite navigation included with our preferred trim level,” added Holder.

Ken Ramirez, Managing Director, Renault UK, said of the result: “The ZOE proves that zero emissions in use vehicles can be stylish and practical with sales more than doubling in the UK last year, in an EV market up 48 per cent, as more and more motorists recognize ZOE, not only for its environmental credentials but for its ultra-low running costs, serene driving style and high standard of specification. We’re thrilled that What Car? has recognised ZOE’s talents for the third year in a row.”

Hyundai i10 – Best City Car and Best Buy Between £10,000 and £11,000

It’s the third time in as many years that What Car? has given the Best City Car award to the Hyundai i10. Praised for its refined cabin, smooth engine, extensive kit list and practicality, i10 continues to hold off competition from the likes of VW Up and Skoda Citigo.

Jim Holder, Editorial Director, Autocar, Pistonheads, and What Car? said: “In 2014, the i10 managed the remarkable feat of knocking the superb Volkswagen Up off the top spot. Despite facing new or updated rivals, it retained its position in 2015 and has come out on top again in 2016. Like the Skoda Citigo and VW Up, the i10 is a comfortable and nippy city car that’s easy to park and cheap to run. However, it offers a more refined cabin, a smooth engine, an extensive kit list and far greater practicality.”

Tony Whitehorn, President & CEO, Hyundai Motor UK said: “Winning Best City Car for the third consecutive year is a huge accolade for the cleverly-packaged i10. It continues to be our best-selling model despite it now being the oldest car in our product line-up. The fact that it was only launched in 2014 shows just how far the Hyundai brand has evolved and continues to evolve – we have the one of the youngest ranges in the industry and a firm eye on the future.”

Nissan Qashqai – Best Small SUV and Best Buy £15,000 to £25,000

Yet another model winning an award for 3 years in succession is the Nissan Qashqai, which again won What Car?’s Best Small SUV award.

What Car?’s pick of the Qashqai line-up was the 1.5dCi 110 n-tec with the judges praising the model’s efficiency and economy, refined diesel power plant, smooth suspension and interior quality as well as generous equipment levels.

Jim Holder, Editorial Director for Haymarket, which publishes What Car?, said; “The Qashqai makes it a hat trick with yet another win in this hotly contested category. Despite strong opposition, the SUV from Sunderland possesses all the necessary talents for victory.

Not only is it one of the most economical and least-polluting vehicles in this category, it also has a high-quality interior that keeps wind, engine and road noise at bay.

Excellent practicality, a chassis that is well suited to British roads and impressive engine refinement are the icing on the cake.”

James Wright, Managing Director, Nissan Motor GB, said; “We’re delighted that the Qashqai’s charm has won over the What Car? judges yet again. It’s also a winner with the car buying public who have made the Nissan Qashqai the best-selling crossover in the UK.”

The Qashqai's impressive quality, styling and technology continue to make it the best-selling crossover in Europe.

Vauxhall Astra – Best Buy Under £16,000

In the Best Buy under £16,000, the Astra 1.0 Turbo ecoFLEX Design topped its extremely competitive class.

What Car? judges commented: “The new Vauxhall Astra represents a huge improvement over its predecessor. It’s entertaining and sure-footed to drive, while big leaps in interior design and quality make it feel more premium than ever.”

“We’re delighted the Astra has been recognised by What Car?” said Rory Harvey, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. “The Brit-built Astra has been very well-received and we’re looking forward to a full year of sales in 2016.”

This latest award follows many recent successes including the Astra winning the Scottish Car of the Year. This landmark award was part of four-trophy haul at the Scottish Car of the Year awards, where Astra and VIVA also won Compact, Eco and Family categories between them.

Also last year, Vauxhall OnStar, a comprehensive package, which includes a high-speed 4G LTE mobile network, emergency response notification and stolen vehicle recovery technology, won the Auto Express Technology Award and the BusinessCar Techies Award.