Volvo XC40 defies the demonisation of diesel to be named What Car? Car of the Year 2018

What Car? has named the new Volvo XC40 its Car of the Year for 2018 during its 40th anniversary awards ceremony, held in association with Warranty Direct on Tuesday 23 January at the Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane.

The D4 diesel version of the XC40 beat all the other category winners on the night to take Volvo’s first ever overall What Car? Car of the Year Award.

As well as securing this title, the XC40 was named Family SUV of the Year – a new category for 2018 that was added in response to the huge demand for these high-riding machines; What Car? already had Small, Large and Luxury SUV categories.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “The SUV segment is incredibly competitive, so it’s testament to the brilliance of the XC40 that it stands out. With its mix of comfort and quality, safety and style, it excels in all the areas that are important to buyers.

“Of course, we were very aware that some people would still consider the XC40 a controversial choice due to the fact the best engine in the range is a diesel. However, our independent True MPG tests prove that this latest engine emits less NOx than plenty of petrols, while offering the low CO2 that made diesels so popular in the first place.

“Our judging panel refused to be swayed by the anti-diesel hysteria coming from politicians and some of the mainstream press and instead made their decision based purely on the merits of the cars. Our belief is that for many car buyers diesel remains the right economic and environmental choice – and for those that it doesn’t suit, a petrol or electrified alternative is available.

“The fact is the Volvo XC40 is a stunning achievement and proves to car buyers everywhere that diesels are definitely not dead.”

In recognition of this, What Car? has launched a new What Fuel? widget on its website, helping consumers to work out if a diesel car is the right choice for their lifestyle.

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct, added: “The What Car? Awards is one of the most celebrated events in the motoring calendar. We are proud to be headline sponsors for the sixth year running and to continue working with a partner whose values so prominently reflect our own.

“The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of individual car manufacturers, creating invaluable insight and expert advice for consumers across the country.”

Volvo is the 19th car manufacturer to win an overall What Car? Car of the Year Award since the inception of the prize in 1978.

Jon Wakefield, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK, said: “Winning the overall Car of the Year Award is fantastic – not just for everyone here in the UK, but for Volvo as a global company. The XC40 perfectly showcases the bold new direction Volvo is taking, and brings our class-leading connectivity, semi-autonomous drive technology and innovative storage solutions to the premium family SUV market.

“We are immensely proud of the XC40, and for the experts at What Car? to award it their ultimate accolade is the perfect start to what will be a hugely significant year for Volvo.”

The XC40 wasn’t the only SUV launched in 2017 to make a big impression on the judges. Seat’s latest offering, the Arona, took the Small SUV of the Year prize, sponsored by cap hpi, while the Peugeot 5008 was named Large SUV of the Year.

Audi also had a successful night, scooping three awards: Executive Car of the Year with the A4, Coupé of the Year with the TT, and Luxury SUV of the Year with the Q7.

What Car? readers took the opportunity to voice their thoughts on the year ahead, voting Jaguar’s first electric car, the I-pace, the most exciting new car due to be launched in 2018.

And reflecting What Car?’s status as a consumer champion, a new True MPG Award was introduced this year and given to the Suzuki Ignis – the most efficient car the title has ever tested, with an average of 59.6mpg in real-world driving conditions.

Volvo took another trophy home, after its XC60 won the Safety Award, while Tesla was handed the Technology Award for blazing a trail in the automotive industry with its forward-thinking, innovative mind-set.

For more information on the overall Car of the Year for 2018 and the full list of award winners, visit:


Notes to editors:

Under strict embargo until 23:00 on Tuesday 23 January 2018


Less than £9,500 – Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ2

£9,500 – £11,000 – Skoda Citigo 1.0 60 SE 5dr

More than £11,000 – Kia Picanto 1.25 ‘3’

WINNER – Kia Picanto 1.25 ‘3’


Less than £12,000 – Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe Ambiance

£12,000 – £20,000 – Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 FR

More than £20,000 – Mini 5-Door Hatchback 1.5T Cooper Chili Media XL

WINNER – SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 FR


Less than £18,000 – Seat Leon 1.2 TSI SE Dynamic Technology

£18,000-£22,000 – Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L

More than £22,000 – Audi A3 Sportback 1.5 TFSI 150 Sport

WINNER – Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L


Less than £16,000 – Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ4

£16,000 – £20,000 – Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 95 SE Technology

More than £20,000 – Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI 150

WINNER – Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 95 SE Technology


Less than £20,000 – Seat Ateca 1.0 TSI Ecomotive 115 S

£20,000 – £30,000 – Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150 SE L

More than £30,000 – Volvo XC40 D4 R Design

WINNER – Volvo XC40 D4 R Design


Less than £27,000 – Peugeot 5008 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure

£27,000-£35,000 – Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 2WD Sport Nav

More than £35,000 – Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro Sport

WINNER – Peugeot 5008 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure


Less than £60,000 – Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 272 quattro S Line

£60,000-£100,000 – Land Rover Discovery Td6 HSE Luxury

More than £100,000 – Bentley Bentayga V8 diesel

WINNER – Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro 272 S Line


Less than £20,000 – Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.4 140 Turbo Design

£20,000 – £27,000 – Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI 115 SE

More than £27,000 – Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec

WINNER – Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI 115 SE


Less than £18,000 – Skoda Fabia Estate 1.0 TSI 95 SE

£18,000 – £25,000 – Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology

More than £25,000 – BMW 5 Series Touring 520d SE

WINNER – Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology


Less than £20,000 – Ford Fiesta 1.0T Ecoboost 140 St-line 3dr

£20,000 – £30,000 – Hyundai i30N

More than £30,000 – Honda Civic Type R GT

WINNER – Honda Civic Type R GT


Less than £25,000 – Mazda MX-5 2.0 SE-L Nav

£25,000 – £35,000 – Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.5 TFSI Sport

More than £35,000 – Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI 190 Sport

WINNER – Mazda MX-5 2.0 SE-L Nav


Less than £30,000 – Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport

£30,000 – £50,000 – Audi A5 Coupé 3.0 TDI quattro Sport

More than £50,000 – Aston Martin DB11 V8

WINNER – Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport


Less than £50,000 – Porsche Cayman 2.0 litre

£50,000 – £100,000 – Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

More than £100,000 – McLaren 540C

WINNER – Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio


Less than £20,000 – Renault Zoe Q90 Z.E. 40 Dynamique Nav

£20,000 – £40,000 – Nissan Leaf N-Connecta

More than £40,000 – Tesla Model S 75D

WINNER – Nissan Leaf N-Connecta


Less than £25,000 – Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium

£25,000 – £35,000 – Volkswagen Passat GTE Advance

More than £35,000 – Audi Q7 E-tron

WINNER – Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium


Less than £25,000 – Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology

£25,000 – £35,000 – Audi A4 2.0 TDI 190 Ultra Sport S Tronic

More than £35,000 – Kia Stinger GT-S

WINNER – Audi A4 2.0 TDI 190 Ultra Sport S Tronic


Less than £50,000 – BMW 5 Series 520d SE

£50,000 – £100,000 – Audi A8 50 TDI Long Wheelbase

More than £100,000 – Rolls-Royce Ghost EWB

WINNER – BMW 5 Series 520d SE


WINNER: Suzuki Ignis

COMMENDED: Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 2WD

COMMENDED: Toyota Yaris Hybrid


WINNER: Jaguar I-Pace

COMMENDED: Citroen C5 Aircross



WINNER: Volvo XC60


COMMENDED: Volkswagen T-Roc



COMMENDED: Mercedes-Benz S500

COMMENDED: Nissan Leaf two-way charging


Volvo XC40 D4 R Design

About What Car?

What Car?, the UK’s biggest car buying brand, has the magazine, a market-leading website and several established brand extensions. It has helped Britain’s car buyers to make purchasing decisions for more than 40 years and its tests are widely regarded as the most trusted source of new car advice. is the UK’s leading car buying website, offering trusted reviews and data on every new car. A winner of numerous awards and accolades, is recognised as one of the UK’s leading consumer websites and attracts 2.1 million unique visits every month, including 700,000 unique visits on mobile. The website also offers advice on new car dealsused cars for sale and car leasing.

With a print and digital circulation of 61,062, combined with its mobile and social reach, What Car? has more than 5.5 million monthly points of contact with its audience on the move, at work, at home and at the crucial point of sale.

For further media information please contact Performance Communications:

Natasha Perry, Sarah Wright, Andy Bothwell or Emily Hogg at Performance Communications on 0208 541 3434. or

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