PetrolBlog Car of the Year 2011

Major Waffle
It's been a long time coming, but here's the result of the PetrolBlog Car of the Year 2011. What do you mean, I'm too late?! It's only March.

Perhaps I underestimated the scale of the task in choosing a winner of the PetrolBlog Car of the Year 2011? But having dreamt up the new PetrolBlog Score as a way of benchmarking the cars in question, I then had the less than enviable task of compiling the list of candidates. Yes, I know it's now mid-March, making PetrolBlog the last website in the world to announce its car of the year from 2011, but at least I've had time to give it the overnight test. Or several overnight tests.

The biggest surprise was that there were no fewer than 44 cars in the running for award. Did I really experience 44 cars in 2011? The list includes some things old, some things new and some things borrowed. And yes, there were a few things blue along the way (a particular Jaguar springs to mind). In a change from last year, I've decided that only new cars will be in the running for the award, thus ensuring that the annual award is kept current. A separate page will be created on PetrolBlog that lists every car featured on the site - a running league table if you like.

I'm fully aware that there will be nobody left in the world who cares what the winner is, but without further ado, here's the result. And in true Dave Lee Travis, it'll be announced in reverse order. Not 'alf.

10. Volvo V60 T6 Polestar - 62 points

Big, bonkers and ever so slightly daft. That's how I would summarise the Volvo V60 T6 Polestar, which makes it a perfect PetrolBlog Car. You'd have to be equally bonkers and daft to part with the 35,000 pound notes that Volvo asks for in exchange for the wagon, but that doesn't mean the V60 T6 isn't without appeal.

I still have dreams of folding all the seats down and indulging in some mid-'90s BTCC action. Fortunately I'll be borrowing one over Easter, so I may have to do just that. In the meantime, here are some words I wrote last year.

Volvo V60 T6 Polestar

9. Skoda Yeti 1.8 TSI 4x4 - 66 points

In ninth place is the Skoda Yeti. It was the first car I tested in 2011, so you'd think that the passing of time would help to erase the memory of Skoda's versatile SUV. But on the contrary, the Yeti left such a lasting impression that it remains to this day one of the few new cars I'd buy with my own money. It's also high on my list of recommendations should anyone be foolish enough to ask me for car buying advice. A brilliant car that once depreciation has worked its magic, will ultimately become a PetrolBlog hero. Have a read of the original review here.

Skoda Yeti 1.8 TSI 4x4 off-road

7. SEAT Ibiza Cupra Bocanegra - 68 points

Sharing seventh place is SEAT's cheeky little Ibiza Cupra Bocanegra. I had a couple of brief encounters with the £18,665 hot hatch last September and was impressed with its mix of performance and standard kit. But ultimately I felt it was let down by a lack of involvement and its high price. To read the original review, click here.

SEAT Ibiza Cupra Bocanegra in Candy White

7. New Suzuki Swift Sport - 68 points

I was fortunate enough to test the new Suzuki Swift Sport in Barcelona last year. For me, one balmy day in Spain wasn't enough to convince me that it has what it takes to topple the old Swift Sport off its perch, but next month I'll be spending a week with a UK-registered car. I'll reserve further judgement until then, but for now, it's joint-seventh place for the new Swift Sport. Check out the first drive here.

New 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport white front

4. Renaultsport Clio 200 Raider - 70 points

There are three cars sharing fourth place. First up is the limited edition Renault Clio 200 Raider. It's one of those hot hatches that encourages you to take the long way home. Just five more minutes out on your favourite B-road. It's the kind of car you'd never tire of driving. But it's a dying breed that's soon to be replaced by a turbocharged Clio. The end of an era. Here's the review.

Renaultsport Clio Raider

4. Renaultsport Mégane 265 Trophy - 70 points

What's this, another Renault? Yes indeed and this time it's the Mégane 265 Trophy. I found it hard to fault this car. As a drivers' car, the Mégane is up there with the best of them. In truth, it is only beaten by the PetrolBlog scoring system. On another day, the Mégane would have driven away with the trophy. But as it is, it must settle for joint fourth. Read the original review here.

Black Renaultsport Mégane 265 Trophy

4. Volvo C30 T5 R-Design Polestar - 70 points

Like the Mégane, the C30 T5 is beaten by its price. Looking back at my review in May 2011, it's clear that I fell in love with Volvo's quirky coupé. I'd still love one and I've been actively searching for pre-facelift T5s on AutoTrader. At less than £10k, they make for tremendous used buys and like the Yeti, the C30 T5 will one day become a hero of PetrolBlog.

Front of Volvo C30 T5 R-Design

3. Renaultsport Clio 200 Silverstone GP- 72 points

We're down to the business end of the awards now and it's the French who walk away with the bronze medal. On the day, I said I preferred the Raider to the Silverstone GP, but the slightly lower price gives the Silverstone the edge when totting up the scores. The best bet is to buy a Silverstone GP while you can and ask your friendly Renault dealer to put on a set of the Raider's Bridgestone Potenzas. Job done.

Renaultsport Clio Silverstone GP

2. Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart - 74 points

"The Colt Ralliart is capable of some genuine moments of greatness." That was my final conclusion of Mitsubishi's bonkers supermini when I spent a week with it last year. After 12 months, I must confess I had to read my review again, if only to jog my memory as to what the Colt Ralliart is all about. And I think this is the Colt Ralliart's biggest problem. It's often forgotten when folk are drawing up a shortlist of hot hatches. A victim of Mitsubishi's relatively small marketing budget and a focus on SUVs and commercial vehicles.

But to forget the Colt Ralliart would be a mistake. Spend some time with the car to get to know its idiosyncrasies and you'll be rewarded with a delightfully retro-feeling warm hatch.

The ideal PetrolBlog spec would be the 5-door version in white. It looks even more bonkers than the 3-door equivalent. A cracking little car that deserves your attention.

Red Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart

1. Renaultsport Twingo Silverstone GP - 78 points

Ask me what I think is the modern day equivalent of the Citroën AX GT and I'll tell you it's the Renaultsport Twingo. As soon as I drove the car last year, I knew it would be in the running for PetrolBlog Car of the Year. So it's good to know that the scoring system backed up my hunch. Head and heart working in perfect unity.

The Renaultsport Twingo is the perfect 'pint of milk' car. Small, light, easy to drive and with an ability to put a smile on your face, even if it's standing still. It's another one of those rare new cars that I'd happily spend my own money on. And if I didn't have an AX GT in the garage, I'd be very, very tempted to part with some cash.

But for now I'll just be happy that the car exists. It represents the very essence of PetrolBlog. A car that's just that little bit different, relatively inexpensive and is great fun to drive, even on Britain's congested and poorly maintained roads. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the PetrolBlog Car of the Year 2011: the Renaultsport Twingo Silverstone GP. A worthy winner.

Renaultsport Twingo Silverstone GP, PetrolBlog Car of the Year 2011

So there we have it. Time to start preparing for PetrolBlog Car of the Year 2012 now...

How the scores were reached. Click here for a reminder of the scoring criteria.
Pint of Milk Filling Station You Don't See Banger PetrolBlog Sub total Grand total
Twingo Silverstone 9 7 9 5 9 39 78
Colt Ralliart 9 7 8 5 8 37 74
Clio S'stone 8 7 9 4 8 36 72
C30 T5 Polestar 8 8 8 3 8 35 70
Mégane 265 Trophy 8 8 9 2 8 35 70
Clio Raider 8 7 9 3 8 35 70
Swift Sport 9 7 5 5 8 34 68
Ibiza Bocanegra 8 7 8 4 7 34 68
Yeti 1.8 TSI 4x4 8 7 7 3 8 33 66
V60 T6 Polestar 7 7 9 1 7 31 62