It was a storming night for Renault in a stormy London at the 2014 What Car? Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane as the French car manufacturer picked up three awards (and an extra one for its Dacia brand too, just for dessert!)
On one of the biggest and best dates on the UK automotive calendar, the What Car? Car Of The Year Awards are only given out only to cars that set the highest standards in their class, and this year the undoubted STAR OF THE SHOW was the Megane Renaultsport 265 Cup which picked up its FIFTH What Car? Car of the Year Awards Hot Hatch trophy – and FIFTH IN A ROW TOO! As the judges said: “No other car could touch [it] for outright excitement”.
It’s a good job that it had a facelift this year then!
What Car? Road test editor Steven Huntingford said of the Megane Renaultsport 265 Cup: “This squat, muscular hatch continues to delight with its blistering pace and direct, responsive handling. The astonishing grip, body composure, and that explosive engine really do make this a thrill-a-minute car. To top it all, the hot hatch is perfectly tolerable in everyday driving – motorway journeys are a reasonably refined, comfortable affair, and it’s easy enough to pilot around town.”
It wasn’t just the Megane that had the judges purring with the 100% electric Renault ZOE Expression picking up a price point award in the best green car section. Already a consumer favourite and assumed natural rival to the Nissamn LEAF, the Judges said of the Fiesta-sized supermini that it is “one of the most affordable ways into electric motoring”.
“The ZOE’s attributes don’t stop at affordability,” they added. “It’s a great small car in its own right, with room for four adults and a useful amount of luggage, a suitably bright and futuristic-looking interior, and big-car standard equipment including satellite navigation and a colour touch-screen.
“It’s even fun to drive, with the characteristic zesty initial acceleration and outstanding refinement of electric propulsion, as well as a comfortable ride and handling balance.”
And Renault didn’t stop there either with the capture (sorry!) of the ‘Best Small SUV for less than £16,000’ by the Renault Captur TCe 90 Dynamique MediaNav to complete a superb hat-trick for our gallic cousins.
The judges found themselves a little sceptical of most of the smallest SUVs, describing many of them as “deeply flawed” but described the Clio-based Captur as “different”, praising its “spacious and user-friendly cabin” and the fact that it is “one of the quietest cars of its kind”.
They even found time to praise its safety record (“Renault’s engineers clearly worked hard to make it a safe car, too, because the Captur was rated highly for adult, child and pedestrian protection when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP”) and the technology within (“Our preferred trim – Dynamique MediaNav – gives you everything from automatic lights and climate control to Bluetooth and a touch-screen sat-nav system.”)
And then, to top the evening off, Renault’s Dacia brand’s Sandero 1.2 Ambiance managed to pick up the ‘Best Small Car for less than £12,000’ title that it won last year, with the judges saying: “Where the Dacia Sandero really excels is practicality. There’s loads of room for four, with excellent leg and headroom, and one of the largest boots in the class. The Sandero offers an extraordinary amount of space for not a lot of money.”