The Sunday Times Motor Awards 2018: The winners - best cars currently on sale, including our Car of the Year 2018

The Sunday Times Motor Awards 2018: The winners

Inaugural awards celebrates the best in motoring

THE RESULTS are in. This summer we launched the first ever Sunday Times Motor Awards, shortlisting our favourite contenders and asking readers to vote for the overall winner in most of the categories, from family cars to sports cars, green machines to tech innovations. We even asked you to name the best dog-friendly vehicle.

That means our awards are not just a reflection of the best critically-acclaimed cars of the year but also those most-loved by the people who actually buy them.

The response was overwhelming, with more than 200,000 votes cast, and the winning vehicles are a fine-looking bunch, too, as you can see from the image above. Well done, you.

Not all the winners were selected by the public: our experts decided on the British-built Car of the Year, Luxury Car of the Year and Motoring Personality of the Year. We selected the overall Sunday Times Car of the Year, of course, and a certain Jeremy Clarkson named his favourite car of the year. Clarkson tells us in his own words why he chose it in this weekend’s The Sunday Times, so be sure to pick up a copy or register for online access here.

But you don’t have to subscribe to the Sunday Times for a list of the winners, and the reasons they deserve their accolades – find our Motor Awards 2018 victors below, and click on the following link to see our photo gallery from the event itself.

Gallery: Stars join Sunday Times Driving at glittering Motor Awards 2018

The winners

Click to find out why it won

2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Jaguar I-PACE - Sunday Times Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Lamborghini Huracan Performante - Jeremy Clarkson's Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Mercedes-AMG G 63 - Adventure Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Range Rover Velar - SUV / Crossover of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Volvo V60 - Family Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: MINI 5-door Hatch - City/ Small Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Volkswagen Golf GTE - Commuter Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Aston Martin DBS Superleggera - Best-designed Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: BMW Wireless Charging Mat - Car Tech of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Jaguar I-PACE - Green Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Land Rover Discovery - Best Dog-friendly Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Aston Martin Vantage - Sports Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Bentley Continental GT - Luxury Car of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Jeremy Clarkson - Motoring Personality of the Year
2018 Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Wireless Motor Awards 2018 sponsored by Bridgestone: Nissan Qashqai - British-built Car of the Year

The Sunday Times Car of the Year 2018

Jaguar I-PACE

Chosen by Expert panel

Tesla may have got into the aspirational pure-electric car game first but Jaguar stole a march on its long-established premium car maker rivals by introducing its first long-distance premium EV while they were looking the other way.

The I-PACE is a truly groundbreaking car, not just for Jaguar but for the car industry as a whole, and Jaguar’s head start over Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche could prove to be significant. As drivers turn their backs on diesel and switch to the benefits that the new generation of electric cars bring – no local emissions, the convenience of charging at home, lower running costs and less tax to pay – beating rivals to market and establishing yourself as a leader in the field is likely to be valuable.

The I-PACE offers a driving range of up to 292 miles, is faster-accelerating than nearly all other Jaguars and has an intelligent interior that drags the company’s cars into the digital age. A desirable, fun-to-drive high quality car that has shown the world that electric vehicles really are the future, not just niche products for Silicon Valley cultists and eco-warriors.

For more info and images, read our review in full here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Alpine A110
  • Ford Focus
  • Range Rover Velar
  • Volvo XC40
  • Ford Fiesta ST

Clarkson’s Car of the Year 2018

Lamborghini Huracán Performante

Chosen by Jeremy Clarkson

It was a close-run thing: Jeremy Clarkson tells us he very, very nearly chose one of the other cars on the shortlist below as his car of the year. But in the end, he had to give the award to the Lamborghini Huracán Performante.

It only has a shade more power than the standard Huracán but the Performante’s 630bhp means it is far from lacking when it comes face-stretching acceleration. Combined with more lightweight materials and a massive increase in downforce, it circulated the 13-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife in just 6 minutes and 51.01 seconds — a time that stunned pretty much everyone.

No wonder some people didn’t believe Lamborghini; as Clarkson notes, “It’s like claiming you’ve dived deeper than a US Virginia-class submarine using nothing but a bucket and a length of hoover pipe.”

Read Clarkson’s argument in full in this weekend’s Sunday Times Magazine, available in print, online, on tablet or on mobile devices.

For more info and images, read Clarkson’s original review in full here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio
  • Alpina B5
  • Audi RS 4
  • BMW 530d Touring
  • Bugatti Chiron
  • Citroën C3 Aircross
  • Hyundai i30 N
  • McLaren Senna
  • Range Rover Velar
  • VW up! GTI

Adventure Car of the Year 2018

Mercedes-AMG G 63

Chosen by Reader vote

Fans of the G 63 call it the G-Rex, because the growling V8-powered 4×4 towers over Qashqais and Evoques and is all-but unstoppable on any terrain; its ability off-road is the stuff of legend.

Not many are sold each year but Mercedes has continued to develop the G-class – long after Land Rover ditched its ageing Defender – because it’s a halo car, proving Mercedes is not just a world-leader in swish saloons and circuit-destroying sports cars, but also the king of the luxury off-roader. And it’s not the “how many” but the “who” that counts: the G 63 just happens to be the darling of wealthy celebrities with millions of Instagram followers.

The latest-generation car still looks like a dinosaur from the outside, albeit pimped, but the interior is bang up to date, with Mercedes’ digital displays, adjustable driving modes and four-wheel drive hardware that can be customised to the terrain at the touch of a button.

For more info and images, click here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Citroen C3 Aircross
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio
  • Suzuki Jimny
  • Land Rover Discovery

SUV/ Crossover of the Year 2018

Range Rover Velar

Chosen by Reader vote

Land Rover jostles for space in an area of the car market that has become increasingly crowded. Every car maker under the sun wants to sell drivers a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). It’s the most popular type of car in Europe, and demand in America and China is growing strongly.

As well as a high-up seating position and bags of space, owners increasingly want their car to look good and hug the road — hence Land Rover introducing the Range Rover Velar. It’s not the first SUV to look like a coupé but ask around and the majority of drivers will agree this is the most handsome, and the one they’d most like to park outside their home.

Inside, it could have been designed by Jonathan Ive, with clean, uninterrupted lines and a dashboard resembling a giant touchpad.

That’s all very nice and aspirational, but importantly the Velar sacrifices none of the off-road ability you’d expect of a full-blooded Land Rover. We know, because we drove one to the top of a mountain in Norway (click the link below to watch the video) and survived to tell the tale.

For more info, video and images, find our review in full here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Skoda Kodiaq
  • Vovo XC40
  • Mazda CX-5
  • SEAT Arona
  • Peugeot 5008

Family Car of the Year 2018

Volvo V60

Chosen by Reader vote

In the not too dim and distant past, children would rather duck below the window line of their parents’ Volvo estate than be seen arriving at the school gates in such a dowdy car. Today, Volvos attract envious glances.

Compared with an Audi A4 Avant or BMW 3 Series, the V60 estate has curves in all the right places. The interior is equally stylish. Volvos were always practical cars, but in a lumpy way, including big buttons for glove-fingered drivers that appeared to have been designed by someone from Fisher-Price. Practical, yes. Desirable, no. The new V60 is both.

The digital instrumentation and touchscreen infotainment system give it a Scandi-chic vibe and there’s plenty of clever storage, including underfloor cubby holes and adjustable boot dividers to stop the Waitrose shop spilling all over the place.

Jeremy Clarkson is no fan of the D4 diesel engine but choose the muscly 246bhp T5 petrol powerplant and it’s a different story.  By the end of the year, plug-in hybrid models join the V60 range, giving owners – and their children – something else to feel slightly smug about.

For a video review of the Volvo V60, click here.

Also shortlisted:

  • BMW 5 Series Touring
  • Ford Focus
  • Skoda Superb estate
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake

City/Small Car of the Year 2018 presented by Virgin Radio

MINI 5dr Hatch

Chosen by Reader vote

A small car could be someone’s first car, or a family’s second car. Some people buy them because they’re frugal, others want something that’s a whole heap of fun. They should be petite and wieldy enough to slot first time into a parking bay, but never feel fragile or out of their depth in the outside lane of a motorway. And they need to cut a dash but not break the bank. The Mini 5-door hatchback fulfils all these requirements, and more besides.

Of all the small cars on the road, the Mini is arguably the most recognisable. Its face still harks back to the cheeky Mini of the Flower Power era, and the feeling of it being a free spirit is still there when you take to the road, but in other respects this is a thoroughly grown-up small car.

There’s room for back seat passengers and the boot is now capable of holding more than a spare can of oil. It’s why it enjoys such loyal support from owners and why it deserves to be crowned the small car of the year.

Also shortlisted:

  • Ford Fiesta
  • Kia Picanto
  • Suzuki Swift
  • VW Polo

Commuter Car of the Year 2018 presented by talkSPORT

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Chosen by Reader vote

The length of the average round commute for Britain’s drivers is just under 17 miles. The electric motor that assists the petrol engine in the Volkswagen Golf GTE is able to drive the car on battery power alone for 28 miles. For those who want to turn their back on diesel, such numbers make a compelling case for the GTE as a good car for commuters.

However, there’s more to Volkswagen’s popular plug-in hybrid than that. First and foremost, it’s a Golf, so it has near-universal appeal, with a timeless and classless image.

Next is the onboard technology. Volkswagen’s infotainment system is the envy of almost every other manufacturer and syncs seamlessly with a smartphone — something drivers care more about these days than whether or not a car corners like a thoroughbred.

Then there’s the powertrain. You might expect to encounter a few teething problems with such new technology, but the 1.4-litre petrol engine, 8.7kWh battery and electric motor and six-speed automatic gearbox work in harmony.

Fuel economy varies massively, depending on how you drive it. An average between 50 and 80mpg is realistic on a long run but if your commute is easily within 28 miles, and you can charge at home and work, you could get by without needing a drop of fuel for hundreds of miles.

The downside (there always is one)? Volkswagen says it can’t build them fast enough to keep up with demand from drivers who want to ditch diesel, and the company has paused taking orders until next year. VW doesn’t even have any in its media or marketing fleets, which is why we had to borrow one from Zipcar, the car-sharing club, for our photoshoot.

For more info and images, read our review in full here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Audi A4
  • BMW 530e (PHEV)
  • Mercedes C-Class
  • Nissan Leaf

Best-designed Car of the Year 2018

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

Chosen by Reader vote

When Aston’s design team set out to create the DBS Superleggera, they worked to a four-word brief: create a “brute in a suit”.

The sports car has what one Aston Martin designer refers to as “an Incredible Hulk stretch” under the skin, and Britain’s drivers like what they see, apparently: you voted it the best-designed car of the year.

For the uninitiated, the DBS Superleggera is the flagship of Aston Martin’s current range. It is conceived to be a super Gran Turismo, a car capable of cruising in luxury from London to Monaco for the Grand Prix weekend but also lapping a circuit with tyre-shredding might.

Its rippling bodywork is made, in places, from carbon fibre to help manage the large car’s mass, and it is built around much of the DB11, its smaller sibling. Beneath a bonnet the size of Surrey is a 5.2-litre, twin-turbo V12 engine that generates 715bhp, giving it the ability to accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 211mph. Truly monstrous.

For a video review of the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, click here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Bentley Continental GT
  • Ferrari Portofino
  • Lexus LC
  • Volvo S90

Car Tech of the Year 2018

BMW wireless charging mat

Chosen by Reader vote

Every car manufacturer knows that over the next two decades, the glory days of the combustion engine will wane. Slowly but surely – and in silence – an electric car revolution is gathering pace, and BMW is among the frontrunners.

Its i3 and i8 electric cars have displayed ingenuity and innovation but both have a bugbear – for their batteries to be charged, they have to be plugged in. Fortunately, the days of handling dirty cables and wondering whether plugging in an electric car in heavy rain is such a good idea are almost over. BMW’s Wireless Charging System promises to make charging an electric car easier than filling a conventional car with fuel.

Drivers need simply to park over an inductive charging mat and leave technology to do the rest. It effectively operates in the same way that inductive chargers are used for electric toothbrushes and smartphones.

Video cameras guide the driver to park in the correct position over the charging plate. Charging begins once the car is switched off, and owners can check on progress using a smartphone app.

BMW is the first major car maker to bring the system to market. In the shift to electric cars, it won’t be the last.

For more info, images and video, click here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Audi side impact detection system
  • Nissan xStorage
  • VW Trailer Assist
  • Volvo Amazon Key delivery

Green Car of the Year 2018

Jaguar I-PACE

Chosen by Reader vote

It seems you’re just as impressed with the I-PACE as we are (see above), as you voted it Green Car of the Year ahead of some very worthy contenders, including the pioneering Nissan Leaf, futuristic BMW i3S, affordable Renault Zoe and versatile Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in.

With its first-ever electric car, Jaguar hasn’t just dipped a toe into zero emission motoring; it has dived in with a perfect front four-and-a-half, Tom Daley-style. Built from the ground-up as an all-electric car, it combines thrilling performance with a reassuringly impressive range of up to 292 miles from its 90kWh battery. It also has a finely-crafted interior featuring quality materials and the very latest technology.

With cars like the I-PACE on sale, from trusted, long-term manufacturers, car buyers aren’t just being convinced of the merits of electric cars; they’re finding they really want to join the electric car revolution.

For more info and images, read our review in full here.

Also shortlisted:

  • BMW i3S
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in
  • Renault Zoe

Best Dog-friendly Car of the Year 2018

Land Rover Discovery

Chosen by Reader vote

The days of dogs living outdoors and being thrown scraps at breakfast and dinner time are long gone. Man’s best friend now demands a tailor-made bed with a memory foam topper, organic food that will keep its coat shiny and joints healthy and monthly pampering sessions at the grooming salon. And they won’t ride in any old car, either.

Whether being whisked from Chelsea to the Cotswolds, or just taken to their favourite footpath, dogs need room to stretch out and the Discovery has an impressive 1,137-litres of room, enough to accommodate his n’ her carry cages for a pair of Labradogs.

That’s not all, dog lovers. Open the automatic tailgate and you’ll find switches to raise or lower the second and third rows of seats (you can you this via a smartphone app, too), as well as a button to lower the rear suspension, making it easier for Fenton to jump in and out.

There’s even an optional ‘Pet Pack’ that includes a partition to give your pooch some privacy, a quilted loadspace liner, a pet access ramp to help smaller, or older, dogs climb in and out, a spill resistant bowl (yes indeed), and – what the world has been waiting for — a portable pet shower.

For more info and images, read our review in full here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Nissan X-Trail
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer
  • Ssangyong Rexton

Sports Car of the Year 2018

Aston Martin Vantage

Chosen by Reader vote

The last Aston Martin Vantage may not have been perfect but it had something that so many sports cars missed sorely: soul. Jeremy Clarkson described it simply as “Wonderful; wonderful; wonderful” but then worried that as the V12 machine approached the end of its 12 years of distinguished service, and driverless cars loomed on the horizon, it would mark the end of an era of great sports cars.

Its Vantage successor keeps the fire alive, with a soul-stirring driving experience. Where the last model was assembled from a parts bin made of crummy bits of Fords and Volvos, this one has technology from Mercedes-Benz. It means that Aston Martin can concentrate on doing what it does best – making beautiful cars that stand the hairs on the back of your neck on end – and leave the tedious (and expensive) job of developing climate control systems, navigation and electronics to someone else.

The result is, some would say, the most accomplished Aston yet. As the company’s best-selling model, that bodes well for the sports car maker’s future.

For a video review of the Aston Martin Vantage, click here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Alpine A110
  • Ferrari 488 Pista
  • Audi RS4
  • Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Luxury Car of the Year 2018 in association with LUXX

Bentley Continental GT

Chosen by Expert panel

As a maker of some of the most expensive cars in the world, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that the latest Bentley Continental GT has some luxurious features. The headlamps contain 82 LEDs that light up like Swarovski diamonds, the leather seats are diamond-quilted and the burr walnut dashboard panelling conceals a section that rotates to become a sat nav map, spins again to display three analogue dials and once more to show just a clock.

The cabin feel as sumptuously appointed as the Princess Grace Suite at the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. It’s a similar story under the bonnet. The 6-litre, twin-turbo, W12-powered machine is capable of covering ground at a considerable rate yet unlike many sports cars, you’ll arrive feeling as relaxed as when the journey started.

A plug-in hybrid model is in the pipeline but for now, as a last hurrah for petrol-powered cars, the regular W12 GT is a heck of a way to travel.

For more info and images, click here.

Also shortlisted:

  • Ferrari Portofino
  • Rolls-Royce Cullinan
  • Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
  • Range Rover SV Coupé
  • Maserati Levante

Motoring Personality of the Year 2018

Jeremy Clarkson

Chosen by Expert panel

We know what you’re thinking. OK, Jeremy Clarkson does write for the Sunday Times but he’s also, without doubt, the best-known motoring journalist and presenter… in the world.

His witty, no-holds-barred car reviews reached a consistently high standard this year — “It’s called the Urus, which I thought was an embarrassing genitourinary problem” — and his work on the first two series of Amazon’s The Grand Tour has been some of his best yet.

Clarkson has never been one to shy away from controversy but as presenter of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire anniversary specials earlier this year proved, he’s an incredibly likeable and engaging TV presence, whatever he turns his talents to.

What’s more, his 7m+ Twitter followers are never short of engaging updates as he tours the world and tears down trolls. We simply couldn’t recognise anyone else this year. #sorrynotsorry

For more Jeremy Clarkson, click here. To read his latest reviews, visit

British-built Car of the Year 2018

Nissan Qashqai

Chosen by Reader vote

The Qashqai has proved a big hit for Nissan in Europe, and some part of its success in this country can be attributed to it being built right in the UK. Families like the crossover SUV for its blend of affordability, practicality, technology and, for many, the fact that by choosing the Qashqai they are supporting jobs on their doorstep.

The car is built around the clock at Nissan’s factory in Sunderland, and its two lines churn out more than half a million cars a year.

It briefly dominated the news agenda, in 2016, after the Prime Minister, Theresa May, met with Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive, to give reassurances about trading conditions after Britain exits the EU. The result was the announcement that the future, third-generation Qashqai would be built in Britain.

The Qashqai, its Sunderland plant and associated Nissan facilities in the UK are estimated to have generated £4bn in capital investment, while the Japanese car maker estimates it spends an additional £3bn a year in the British economy, through suppliers, services and wages. Of more significance to Britain’s drivers, who are likely more concerned about getting a value-for-money car that best meets their needs, the Qashqai is simply a jolly good family car.

For more info and images, read our review in full here.

Also shortlisted:

  • McLaren Senna
  • MINI Hatch
  • Aston Martin Vantage
  • Honda Civic Type R
  • Rolls-Royce Phantom