Winner: Renault Austral
The popular Renault Kadjar makes way for the new Austral. It’s an especially stylish SUV/crossover with all the latest Renault design language and a tempting choice of eye-catching colours. Two of the three trim levels offered are inspired by the Alpine sports car company, though even the entry-level version – priced from €45,295 – is stylish. All models are powered by a sophisticated hybrid system and the interior is a particular highlight, sharing much of its design with Renault’s Mégane E-Tech Electric hatchback. It has plenty of ‘surprise and delight’ features in the cabin, too.
The Nissan Qashqai is often credited as being the car that created the crossover segment, and it is now in its third generation. While it isn’t as dramatically styled as some of its rivals Nissan has fine-tuned the recipe to such a degree that this is one of the nicest places to spend time in and one of the most perfect family cars you can buy. The new ‘e-Power’ hybrid system adds a further feather to its hat, bridging the gap between regular hybrid cars and fully-electric models. It’s not cheap, though.
BYD Atto 3
BYD didn’t exist in Ireland at the time of last year’s awards, so it’s quite an achievement for its first Irish model, the Atto 3 crossover, to be shortlisted in several categories. It’s quite unassuming on the outside, and it gets the job done with its 204hp electric motor, but the interior is full of interesting features and BYD Ireland has priced it from well under €40,000 to grab buyers’ attention. We’ll be seeing lots more from this Chinese brand in the coming years.