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Since its inception in 1978, the What Car? Awards has been seen as one of the highest accolades within the motoring media. And for 2019, Honda needed extra pairs of hands, with the Japanese car maker winning in three categories.
In a show of public enthusiasm for electric cars, the Honda Urban EV was declared the most eagerly anticipated car of 2019, after a public vote saw it scoop the coveted Reader Award poll.
Meanwhile, the reviews team at What Car? declared that the Honda CR-V Hybrid and Honda Civic Type-R represent the best of the best. The recently launched CR-V, a stylish SUV for family life and so much more, was named the Best Hybrid Car for more than £30,000.
And the Civic Type-R, Honda’s most technically sophisticated hot hatchback to date, was named the Best Hot Hatch, the second year it has been declared the benchmark by which competitors are judged.
The Urban EV is due to go on sale later this year, and if the reaction from those who voted in the What Car? reader poll is anything to go by, it is eagerly anticipated.
“What Car? readers clearly can’t get enough of Honda's new electric car,” said Huntingford, “because the Urban EV garnered almost eight times as many votes as the model that finished second in our Reader Award poll. Put simply, it’s easily the car they’re most excited about seeing in 2019, thanks to its combination of cool, retro styling and electric power.”
Followers of What Car? aren’t the only ones to enthuse about the city slicker. After revealing an initial concept for the compact electric car, The Verge called it a ‘tiny heartbreaker’, and Top Gear said it is ‘wonderfully cutesy’.
And at the 2018 Car Design Award honours, held in Italy, a panel of 12 judges awarded Honda’s EV proposal the title of Best Concept Car. Jurors said it brings ‘a much-needed sense of personality to the EV space.’
Honda has committed to ensuring that two thirds of new cars it sells in Europe are powered by hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric motors. The deceptively minimal look of the new Urban EV masks an advanced new platform that Honda’s engineers have created exclusively for use with electric cars.
In 2017, the Honda Civic Type-R also won the What Car? Reader Award, while 2015 saw the Honda HR-V chosen by readers, suggesting Britain’s drivers are big fans of Honda’s groundbreaking cars.
In the 2019 What Car? Awards, expert reviewers rated the new generation Honda CR-V as the Best Hybrid Car for more than £30,000.
Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, praised Honda’s strategy to switch to hybrid technology for the new SUV:
“Honda’s decision to not offer its new CR-V SUV with diesel engines was a bold one. But it's paid off, because the car is much more refined as a result, as well as spacious and good to drive. Plus, it still delivers diesel-like fuel economy.”
The new hybrid version of the latest CR-V uses a 2-litre, petrol-electric hybrid system that is self-charging. It means there’s no need for drivers to mess about plugging the car into the mains electricity supply in order to charge the battery; instead, onboard computers ensure that the battery is kept at its optimum.
So all drivers have to do is, well, enjoy driving.
For the second year, expert testers at What Car? have scorched around the test tracks of Britain and beyond as they put every hot hatchback through its paces, and once again the Honda Civic Type-R emerged victorious.
With a lineage that stretches back to 2001, the Civic Type-R continues to build upon the thrilling driving experience that stands the car apart from its rivals.
Like every good hot hatchback, its foundations are built upon a supremely practical everyday family car. But it’s what Honda’s engineers do to tune the turbocharged, 316bhp, 2-litre engine, as well as the suspension and brakes and aerodynamic bodywork, that adds a wild side to its character.
Sure enough, What Car? agrees. Steve Huntingford, editor, praised the car’s comfortable ride and the fact that it returned more than 35mpg during the True MPG fuel test.
And he added, “When you take your sensible hat off it’s also utterly and extraordinarily magnificent to drive.”