Commercial insurance article archive
Cars of the Year 2007
The year has only just started, but already the results are in for the annual Car of the Year Awards. Voted by a panel of motoring journalists from across Europe, the awards provide a snapshot of the new car industry in 2007, and give us some indication of how the rest of the year might progress.
And the winner? It’s the Ford S-Max – only on sale in the UK since June 2006 and already winning the European Car of the Year title, this MPV is Ford's attempt to make a sporty-looking mini van, and it would appear that the attempt has been a successful one. Technically a 7-seater, the S-Max used the "fold flat" system which allows the two seats in the back to be replaced with a sliding cargo tray. Ideal for anyone with people or pets to transport, it's viewed by many as a sporty version of the Ford Galaxy.
The S-Max, however, didn’t quite leave its competition standing. In second place in the European Car of the Year Award, and scoring just two points less than the S-Max, was the ever-popular Vauxhall Corsa. This supermini has been around in one form or another since 1983, and has been a favourite of motorists for many years. The Corsa, however, has never been placed in the Awards, so its second place is a real achievement for the supermini.
In third place was the Citroen C4 Picasso, which scored highly with the French judges but was less popular with the rest of the panel. This is yet another MPV, this time with a windscreen which extends so far into the roof area that it affords the driver a 70% view. A seven-seater with a spacious interior, it's one of the Ford S-Max's main competitors.
The Skoda Roomster made fourth place. Also available for less than a year (production started last March, with the first sales being in June), the Roomster is a compact 5-seater with a high roofline, flexible seating and lots of space. The third car in the top 5 to fall into the MPV category (although it's not quite as roomy as the S-Max or Picasso), it split the judging panel, with some awarding it the maximum ten points and others giving it zero.
The final car in the top five as the Honda Civic. Decidedly not an MPV, the Civic was awarded third place in the Award in 1974. It's changed significantly since then, gaining a sleeker, sportier shape – perhaps one of the reasons for its popularity with the British judges in particular.
Overall, it was a good year for the MPV, with a total of three out of the top five placed vehicles falling into this class. Does this mean the people of Europe will be spending the rest of the year buying family sized people carriers, or will the trend have turned by the time next year's awards come around? Only time will tell…
29 Jan 2007