Car of the Year

The Winner

Mercedes-Benz V220d Long

Sponsored by

Our Professional Driver Car of the Year for 2019 is the Mercedes-Benz V-Class. It’s the first time an MPV has captured the overall crown, and the decision says a lot abut changing work patterns in the industry – and the sheer strength of this vehicle in its class.

The Professional Driver Car of the Year is chosen from our nine category winners. This year’s shortlist was a very impressive selection, including a number of new models that won their classes at the first attempt – so several cars made a strong case for the overall win.

But the V-Class got the nod as Car of the Year because of the margin of victory over its class rivals. In fact, over the past couple of years, it’s dominated the voting in the MPV category.

The V-Class offers exceptional versatility as anything from an events shuttle to an aircrew transporter to a mobile boardroom. It offers high levels of comfort, massive luggage space – 1,000 litres on this version; even more with the extra-long body. And of course, it has that crucial three-pointed star on the grille.

Since 2018, it’s gained new, improved powertrains and some superb new safety features. The familiar old 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel engines are being replaced by new 2.0-litre OM 654 diesels with reduced emissions and improved fuel consumption values, as well as better noise and vibration characteristics.

This engine also gives much-improved fuel economy, Mercedes claims – 44.9mpg-47.9mpg on the new WLTP test cycle. And for the first time in the V-Class, a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission will be available in place of the previous 7-speed box.

Standard safety features include Crosswind Assist, derived from Mercedes trucks, and a new Active Brake Assist system can now detect the risk of a collision with a vehicle in front. All this combines to make the Mercedes-Benz V-Class our unequivocal winner for 2019.

ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
2017 Mercedes-Benz E220d
2016 BMW 730Ld
2015 Tesla S85
2014 Mercedes-Benz S300 BlueTec Hybrid

2013 Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid
2012 Volvo S80 D3 SE Lux
2011 BMW 730Ld
2010 Jaguar XJL 3.0D
2009 BMW 730Ld


Private Hire Car of the Year 

The Winners

1 – Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport

2 – Skoda Octavia

3 – Toyota Prius 

Sponsored by

PD Website CoTY Private Hire Car Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport 1st

This award has been won five times by the Skoda Superb, but with that car on model change, the field was wide open.

Our clear winner is the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport. It’s a car that comes close to matching the Superb’s class-leading rear seat space – and it’s a great car to drive too.

Runner-up was one of the most popular private hire cars of the past decade – the Skoda Octavia. Low running costs and excellent packaging on a relatively small car make this a favourite – and with a new version due in 2020, it’ll continue to be a strong player.

In third was last year’s winner – the Toyota Prius. It’s still the go-to car for low running costs and fuel economy, and it highlights the stupidity of TfL’s ULEZ rules that it won’t be possible to register one as a new PHV in London from January.

ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 Toyota Prius Excel
2017 Ford Mondeo Vignale
2016 Skoda Superb
2015 Ford Mondeo
2014 Skoda Octavia Greenline

2013 Skoda Superb
2012 Volkswagen Passat
2011 Skoda Superb
2010 Skoda Superb
2009 Skoda Superb


MPV of the Year 

The Winners

1 – Mercedes-Benz V220d Long

2 – Volkswagen Caravelle Executive

3 – BMW 218d Gran Tourer

Sponsored by

This market has changed a lot over the years, with car-based “minivans” fading away and van-based people-movers becoming the standard.

Our 2019 winner, for the third year running, is the Mercedes-Benz V-Class. With a class-leading combination of high build quality and cavernous interior space, coupled with a vitally important prestige brand and new improved engines this year, the V-Class has really created a class of its own.

Runner-up is the vehicle that poses the closest challenge to the V-Class as a luxury MPV. The Volkswagen Caravelle Executive is well-built – and it’s about to be upgraded again. But a lack of LWB option weighs against it.

In a surprise third place was the BMW 218d Gran Tourer. This overlooked car is a practical and well-built vehicle with low running costs. And it can carry seven people in an interior that is not that much smaller than a Ford Galaxy.

PD Website CoTY MPV VW Caravelle 2nd
PD Website CoTY MPV BMW 218d 3rd

ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 Mercedes-Benz V-Class
2017 Mercedes-Benz V-Class
2016 Seat Alhambra
2015 Ford Galaxy
2014 Ford Tourneo Custom

2013 Mercedes-Benz Viano
2012 Ford Galaxy
2011 Volkswagen Sharan 
2010 Ford Galaxy
2009 Ford Galaxy


Green Car of the Year 

The Winners

1 – Kia e-Niro

2 – Hyundai Ioniq EV

3 – Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid

Sponsored by

PD Website CoTY Green PH Kia e Niro 1st

This year we’ve decided to split two of our categories into cars suitable for private hire and cars of an executive chauffeur standard. So now there are two Green awards, as well as two Estate Car awards.

To qualify as a “green” car, we’ve set the bar pretty high – the next two categories are only open to vehicles that meet TfL’s ULEZ rules from 2020. So that means plug-in-hybrid or all-electric drivetrain

If you want to register a new private hire car in London, you don’t have a lot of choice. But the Kia e-Niro ticks all the boxes – it’s affordable, it has a 240-mile range, enough for a couple of days’ work, and it’s roomy and comfortable. And in 2020, Kia should have sufficient supplies of the car to meet demand.

Runner-up was the Hyundai Ioniq EV, which was voted our Green Car of the Year in 2017. It doesn’t match the latest EVS n terms of range, but it’s an extremely practical car for private hire work. Indeed, the plug-in hybrid version of the Ioniq came third in the voting.

PD Website CoTY Green PH Hyundai ioniq PHEV 2nd

GREEN CAR ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 Jaugar I-Pace EV400 Electric
2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
2016 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine
2015 Tesla S85

2014 Tesla S75
2013 Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid
2012 Toyota Prius


Green Car of the Year – Executive & Chauffeur

The Winners

1 – BMW 745Le

2 – Mercedes-Benz S560eL

3 – BMW 530e 

Sponsored by

PD website CoTY Green Exec BMW 745Le 1st

As with the Green Private Hire category, only plug-in-hybrid or all-electric vehicles that meet TfL’s ULEZ rules from 2020 are eligible.

The luxury automakers have been quick to develop plug-in hybrid versions of executive and chauffeur saloons. With striking looks, and incredible levels of luxury and refinement, our green executive winner is the plug-in hybrid BMW 745Le. In terms of running costs, it’s not far off the diesel 7-series either.

Mercedes-Benz also has a plug-in S-Class, but the S560eL is a more expensive vehicle, pitched as a range-topper rather than as a diesel replacement. Impressive quality and refinement earned it second place.

In third was BMW’s smaller plug-in hybrid, the 530e, which perhaps surprisingly edged out rivals from Mercedes and Volvo.

PD Website CoTY Green Exec Merc S560 2nd
PD Website CoTY Green Exec BMW 530e 3rd

GREEN CAR ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 Jaugar I-Pace EV400 Electric
2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
2016 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine
2015 Tesla S85

2014 Tesla S75
2013 Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid
2012 Toyota Prius


Luxury SUV of the Year 

The Winners

1 – BMW X7

2 – Volvo XC60

3 – Audi Q8 

Sponsored by

PD Website CoTY Luxury SUV BMW X7 1st

The world is becoming SUV shaped, and many chauffeurs know that a lot of their clients, especially from America and the Middle East, prefer an SUV to a saloon.

Our winner is the BMW X7. Launched this year, it is a genuine six-passenger luxury vehicle that is capable of competing with Range Rover’s traditional market leader, but with operating costs that match a large chauffeur saloon.

In second place is the car that won this category in 2017. The Volvo XC60 is very roomy for its overall size, and with very low running costs and improved mild-hybrid powertrains, it’s an impressive vehicle.

In third was last year’s winner, the Audi Q8. It’s an exceptional drive and a very well-made car, but with just two seats in the rear it perhaps lacks the flexibility that the X7 offers.

PD Website CoTY Luxury SUV Volvo XC60
PD Website CoTY Luxury SUV Audi Q8 3rd

ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 Audi Q8 50 quattro
2017 Volvo XC60
2016 Audi Q7
2015 Volvo XC90 D5

2014 Range Rover Autobiography SDV8 LWB
2013 Range Rover Vogue SE
2012 Porsche Cayenne Diesel


Estate Car of the Year – Private Hire

The Winners

1 – Kia Optima Sportswagon

2 – Peugeot 508SW

3 – Mazda6 Estate Sponsored by
Aston Lark Logo 210
Ethos Square Logo REV 210

PD Website CoTY PH Estate Kia Optima SW 1st

As with Green car, we’ve split our Estate Car category in two – private hire and executive. For many private hire operators, an estate gives more versatility than a saloon – especially if you’ve got to carry passengers with luggage.

In terms of car for pound, you really can’t beat our winner, the Kia Optima Sportswagon. It’s a big vehicle with lots of loadspace – exactly what the judges were looking for. And with good fuel economy and low running costs, it’s an ideal private hire choice.

Runner-up in the judging was Peugeot’s new 508SW, which impressed with build quality and style, though seemed a little tighter in the rear compared to the Vauxhall.

In third place was last year’s Estate Car of the Year winner, the Mazda6 estate. The Mazda 6 gained a thorough facelift in 2018, with a much-improved interior and a major upgrade to satnav and systems, giving it an excellent specification for a volume car.

PD Website CoTY PH Estate Peugeot 508 SW 2nd

ESTATE CAR ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 Mazda 6 Tourer
2017 BMW 530d Touring
2016 Skoda Superb Laurin & Klement

2015 BMW 520d Touring SE
2014 BMW 520d Touring SE


Estate Car of the Year – Executive

The Winners

1 – BMW 520d Touring

2 – Mercedes-Benz E220d Estate

3 – Volvo V90 T8 

Sponsored by

PD Website CoTY Exec Estate BMW 520d Touring 1st

There are areas in which an estate car can beat a saloon – such as rear headroom and boot space, and that applies to executive chauffeuring as well as regular private hire work. So we’ve created a new class to recognise the more up-market station wagons on the market.

And the unbeatable combination of practicality and driveability means the award goes to the BMW 520d Touring. This car won the Estate Car of the Year category on two previous occasions, and it’s interesting how much more rear seat room the estate appears to offer over the 5-series saloon. Great driveability helps too, as you’d expect from a BMW.

Runner-up was the Mercedes-Benz E220d estate, by a narrow margin. The two cars have very similar operating costs, and a different combination of judges could easily have flipped the result.

In third was Volvo’s V90 T8 plug-in hybrid. This has the advantage of being street legal as a newly-registered PHV from January, but in the minus column is a high purchase price and higher operating costs than its diesel rivals.

PD Website CoTY Exec Estate Merc E220d 2nd
PD Website CoTY Exec Estate Volvo V90 3rd

ESTATE CAR ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 Mazda 6 Tourer
2017 BMW 530d Touring
2016 Skoda Superb Laurin & Klement

2015 BMW 520d Touring SE
2014 BMW 520d Touring SE


Executive Car of the Year 

The Winners

1 – Audi A6

2 – BMW 530e

3 – Mercedes-Benz E300de

Sponsored by

PD Website CoTY Executive Audi A6 1st

These cars are the lifeblood of the chauffeur sector – and this is a very competitive sector. Over the years BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Volvo have all taken the honours.

Voting was very close indeed – just five points separating the top five. But it was the newest contender that took the award. The Audi A6 was launched last year and scores well for features, space and driver assistance technology.

The diesel Audi outscored its German plug-in hybrid rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. High levels of refinement and driveability scored well for the BMW 530e, which uses a petrol engine combined with an electric motor.

This narrowly edged out Mercedes-Benz’s latest PHEV, which is unusual in that it uses a diesel engine rather than a petrol, like most PHEVs. This gives the best running costs and fuel economy in the category, but the car lost points for the restricted boot, as a result of the battery pack’s placement behind the rear seats.

PD Website CoTY Executive BMW 530e 2nd
PD Website CoTY Executive Merc E300de 3rd

ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 BMW 630d Gran Turismo
2017 Mercedes-Benz E220d
2016 Mercedes-Benz E220d
2015 Audi A6 2.0TDI Ultra SE
2014 Audi A6 2.0TDI Ultra SE

2013 Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid
2012 Volvo S80 D3
2011 BMW 530d Gran Turismo
2010 BMW 530d Gran Turismo
2009 Mercedes-Benz E250


Chauffeur Car of the Year 

The Winners

1 – Audi A8L

2 – Mercedes-Benz S400L

3 – BMW 745Le

Sponsored by

PD Website CoTY Chauffeur Audi A8L 1st

If you thought the executive car class was close, how about the chauffeur category? Less than two points separated the top four cars – and we saw an interesting fight between diesels and plug-in hybrids.

There’s not much of a gap these days. Fuel economy is better with the diesels still, but refinement is better with the hybrids. Ultimately, the thing that lets the hybrids down is restricted boot space.

The final scores were very close between the various BMWs, Mercedes and Audi models – in the final analysis, it was a combination of comfort and features that elevated the Audi A8L – one of the diesels – over its rivals – but only just!

In second place by a fraction of a point was another diesel, the Mercedes-Benz S400L, the latest version of the class benchmark S-Class. This scored highly for refinement, but the A8L was in the main judged to be the better car to drive.

The BMW 745Le plug-in hybrid, our Green Executive Car of the Year winner, was third, narrowly ahead of the diesel B<W 730Ld. Running costs over five years are judged to be better for the PHEV, and this actually flipped the results. On test drives alone, the diesel scored higher than the plug-in.

PD Website CoTY Chauffeur Merc S400 2nd
PD Website CoTY Chauffeur BMW 745Le 3rd

ROLL OF HONOUR

2018 Audi A8L 50 quattro
2017 BMW 740Le
2016 BMW 730Ld
2015 Range Rover LWB Autobiography 3.0 SDV6
2014 Mercedes-Benz S300L BlueTEC Hybrid

2013 Audi A8L 3.0TDI
2012 Mercedes-Benz S350L
2011 BMW 730Ld
2010 Jaguar XJL 3.0D
2009 BMW 730Ld