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Volkswagen up! - the Car of the Year 2012

Volkswagen up! – the Car of the Year 2012

Green Car Guide helped to judge the Car of the Year competition , voting for cars that have class-leading efficiency and are great to drive – and the results are now in.

The Volkswagen up! has been named the Car of the Year. However it was an incredibly narrow victory, with the up! finishing just two points ahead of the BMW 320d which came in second on the list. The 320d was at the very top of’s list of nominations thanks to its fuel efficiency, which has been achieved without compromising all-round performance. It is also likely to account for significant fuel and CO2 savings in real life use due to the high sales volumes of the 320d, and the mileages that it is likely to cover in business use.

Runners up

The revolutionary Vauxhall Ampera was another strong contender in the competition. It is powered by an electric motor but the range and recharging time problems associated with electric vehicles have been overcome with the addition of a petrol generator. The price of the Ampera, around £30,000, could limit initial adoption, but the concept of the vehicle is still highly impressive.

Another of’s nominations to make the final top ten was the Ford Fiesta which was nominated thanks to the fact that the Fiesta has excellent fuel economy yet it is still one of the best cars in class to drive.

Toyota GT86 - Car of the Year competition

One of the cars that we rated most highly was the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ. It may not seem like a natural choice for a green car website, but stands for cars that have class-leading efficiency and are great to drive, and the Toyota GT86 is better to drive than most cars on sale today, it’s affordable, and we managed to achieve 50mpg on a three-hour trip up the M1 – showing that, unlike most modern ‘green’ cars, it has excellent real-life economy.

Other manufacturers need to take note of its ‘back-to-basics’ lightweight, rear-wheel drive design, providing genuinely communicative, adjustable handling, resulting in it being a real driver’s car that you can exploit within legal speed limits.

The Range Rover Evoque also had to be included because it looks so fantastic, drives very well, is highly capable off-road, is much more economical than previous Range Rover products – and it sales success shows that car buyers love it.

Read our review of the Range Rover Evoque and see our video of our attempt to drive the Range Rover Evoque up a mountain .

This is the first time that has run the competition, but it is expected to become an annual event.

See Green-Car-Guide’s Top 10 Green Cars 2012

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Image source: MoneySupermarket Car Insurance