Winner: Ford Focus
A surprise appearance for the Focus on our list of winners confirms that you can never rule out the non-nonsense appeal of the Ford badge. The Focus has always stood for sensible motoring with a dynamic twist, and the updated model lives up to that billing. A little nip and tuck here and there on the inside and out has kept the car in buyers’ minds and there’s a wide array of versions to choose from, starting with the well-specified Titanium cars, via the SUV-inspired Active models to the seriously sporty ST hot hatch.
Mild-hybrid petrol and diesel power are offered, as is an estate body style. Prices start from €32,294, which isn’t at all bad.
Volkswagen’s first electric ID. model, the ID.3, was overshadowed slightly by the arrival of the incredibly popular ID.4. This year, however, an update to the ID.3 raised its image and quality so that it now feels like a true premium option. Sure, you pay for that privilege, but it’s a sensible approach from Volkswagen, distancing the ID.3 from a wealth of new EVs trading on value first and foremost.
The new Peugeot 308 not only looks well, with its dramatic styling, but it also gains a massive leap in interior quality over previous generations of the car. That’s twinned with engaging handling and a great choice of engines, including a forthcoming electric powertrain. The 308 is a superb all-round package. Available as a five-door hatchback and a versatile SW estate model, the 308 range starts with a 1.2-litre petrol engine with 130hp for under €32,000.