On the twelfth day of Christmas, my good friends at Vanarama gave to me, their roundup of their favourite and most popular cars of 2021.
1. Vauxhall Corsa
The Corsa’s popularity doesn’t seem to die down. A firm favourite amongst new drivers, older drivers and everyone in-between, this hatchback has had over 38,000 registrations in 2021 alone. It’s no surprise. The Vauxhall Corsa Vauxhall Corsa is very well-equipped as standard, featuring 16-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay. There’s the Corsa-E too, a spacious, comfortable and practical electric car with a very useful 209-mile (WLTP) battery range. Vauxhall has ensured that its electric supermini is as easy to live with as possible – so easy, in fact, that lots of people who may have intended to buy a petrol or diesel Corsa will be swayed by the Corsa-E instead.
See what our car expert Mark Nichol made of it in our review here.
2. Skoda Enyaq IV
The Enyaq IV is Skoda’s first fully electric car, going up against the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Volkswagen ID4. It’s brilliant - comfy, stylish, luxurious and spacious. Every version of the Skoda Enyaq gets a 13-inch infotainment system as standard with a roomy 585 litre boot with a high floor that makes it super easy to get bits and pieces in and out of it. There's the choice of 2- or 4-wheel drive versions of the Enyaq iV and 3 battery sizes, with the biggest offering a 310-mile claimed range. See what our car expert Mark Nichol made of it in our review here.
3. Fiat 500 Electric
Fiat has absolutely nailed the new 500. In our opinion it sets the standard for a modern, small electric car. That’s mainly because it doesn’t feel like the old 500 with an electric drivetrain just shoehorned into it. Instead, every part and panel is new, and it surpasses the outgoing 500 in every way: much improved ergonomics and refinement, great quality, and even a bit more space. It’s furnished with some lovely design details, too. Yep, this is peak electric runabout. Watch our review here.
4. Cupra Forementor
The first standalone model from Cupra - that’s SEAT’s high performance brand - is an SUV. Yep. You might find that a bit baffling - shouldn’t it be a 2-door coupe or something? However, drive it and you’ll change your mind. It’s brilliant. Because this will never ever wear a SEAT badge, Cupra has been able to prioritise style and dynamics over outright practicality, so it looks sensational, while having the Volkswagen Group build quality we’ve come to expect. Watch our review here.
5. Toyota GR Yaris
We don’t think there is a better car on sale today, pound-for-pound, than the Toyota GR Yaris. This is not a normal hot hatch, where a small car has been warmed up a bit with a quicker engine and some body kit. Nope, the GR Yaris was developed by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing team specifically to compete in the World Rally Championship. To that end it has a proper 4-wheel drive system, loads of carbon fibre bits and the world’s most powerful production 3-cylinder engine. Watch our review here.
6.Hyundai Ioniq 5
Named Car Of The Year 2021 by Auto Express, the Ioniq 5 is a stunning retro-modern take on the EV - and a truly thoughtful one too. Hyundai has used environmentally friendly materials such as eco-processed leather and recycled yarn in the interior. It even has 2 fully reclining seats in the front, so if you ever need to pull over and take some time to charge, you can put your feet back, push a single button and eat your Burger King in majestic comfort. Oh, it’s also massive and happens to be proper lovely to drive. What a thing. Watch our review here.
7. Volkswagen Golf
Stylish, exceptionally made and highly modern, the Volkswagen Golf still has it all. You’ll probably know by now that a Golf is never controversially styled, but instead every generation brings incremental improvements throughout. So, today’s Golf is super high quality, has a range of very efficient engines and a very cool twin-screen dashboard. And all that is why it’s still selling like the proverbial, a regular feature in the Top 10 best sellers in the UK despite not looking like an SUV. Watch our review here
8. MG ZS EV
Today's MG is nothing like the one you might remember from yesteryear. But that's no bad thing because the company is now putting out some of the best value family cars on the market - and in the ZS EV, quite possibly the very best value electric vehicle there is. It’s not the cheapest, but nowhere else will you find an EV with this much space, practicality and quality for this sort of money. Plus, a recent update bumped up the size of the battery, which was the only real weakness of the car. It’ll do more than 200 miles on a single charge now. Watch our review here.
9. Nissan Qashqai
It's Nissan’s best selling model, so it’s no surprise that the family-friendly Qashqai has made the list of the most popular vehicles of 2021. With almost 30,000 sold in the UK alone this year, NIssan has clearly got the latest model spot on. It may look a little too familiar from a distance, but in every way it’s an improvement over the outgoing model. Sharper lines, better quality (and simplified) interior, more space and much more comfortable ride quality. It really feels like a premium car now in a way it never has before. Watch our review here.
10. Tesla Model 3
The world's most popular electric vehicle was recently updated and improved significantly in a few ways. We charged one up and sent Mark out to see what he made of it. Take a look here.
11. Ford Mustang Mach-E
It was a bold move on Ford’s part to call its electric family crossover ‘Mustang’ instead of Mondeo-E or E-Scort, something like that. The name raises expectations massively. To be honest, the Mustang Mach-E never quite matches the ‘muscle car’ thing you might be expecting, but it’s nonetheless an excellent family crossover. It’s spacious, comfortable, good looking and, most importantly, interesting. Well worth a look. Take a look at our review here.
12. BMW IX
The BMW IX is a simply stunning electric SUV: futuristic, luxurious and hugely spacious. It has one of the finest finished and most interesting cabins on the market today. However…that grille. Ouch. If you can live with it’s monumental snout, then the IX is almost certainly the most alluring large electric car on sale today.