Press release

148,000 car owners help choose Auto Trader's New Car Awards winners 2021

Who made this year's list of best new cars as determined by nearly 155,000 real-world owners

The Jaguar I-PACE has been crowned the New Car of the Year 2021, according to a consumer vote featuring the views of 148,000 car owners for the fifth annual Auto Trader New Car Awards.

With climate concerns high on the world stage and in consumers’ consciousness, it’s little surprise that an electric vehicle (EV) has taken the top spot for the second consecutive year.  Last year’s winner, the Tesla Model 3, was once again recognised, winning 2021’s Best for Families category, as well as making it onto the shortlist for a further five categories, including the overall New Car of the Year.

Highlighting the growing popularity of electric vehicles, which on Auto Trader account for one in seven of all searches, 2021 saw the highest number of EV winners. In fact, 36% of this year’s finalists and winners were electric, up from just 16% in 2020.

In addition to the I-PACE and Model 3, the Renault ZOE won Best Car for New Drivers; Polestar’s Polestar 2 won Best Premium Electric Car; the Kia Soul won the Best Value Electric Volume Car; and the Peugeot e-208 won the much coveted Erin Baker Award which is chosen personally by Auto Trader’s editorial director. What’s more, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid won the Best Hybrid category.

Unlike other car awards which rely on editorial judging panels, the Auto Trader New Car Awards are decided by real car owners voting to decide the winners of 19 of this year’s 21 categories. This year, 148,000 car owners took part in the judging process between September 2020 and April 2021.

The winners represent the consumer champions of the new car market, based on the honest opinions of those who have bought, driven and lived with their new cars. Winners of the awards will be promoted across Auto Trader, the UK’s largest automotive marketplace, which attracts an average of 58 million cross platform visits a month. Auto Trader is also the UK’s largest and most influential marketplace for new car purchases, with 72% of consumers identifying it as the best place to search for their next new car.

The winners of the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2021 are:

  1. New Car of the Year - Jaguar I-PACE
  2. Best Car for Families - Tesla Model 3
  3. Best Car for New Drivers - Renault ZOE
  4. Best Value New Car - MG ZS
  5. Best Car for Long Distances - Hyundai Tucson
  6. Most Fun to Drive - MINI Hatch
  7. Best Car for City Drivers - Renault Captur
  8. Best Car for Dog Owners - MG ZS
  9. Best 7-Seater Car - Mercedes-Benz GLE Class
  10. Best Car for Towing - Volkswagen Touareg
  11. Most Loved Car - Ford Puma
  12. Best Hybrid - BMW 3 Series
  13. Best Value Electric Car - Kia Soul
  14. Best Premium Electric Car - Polestar 2
  15. Most Loved Brand - Porsche
  16. Most Reliable Brand - Toyota
  17. Car brand with the best tech - BMW
  18. Best Value Brand - Dacia
  19. Best Luxury Car - Mercedes-Benz G Class
  20. The Rory Reid Award - Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
  21. The Erin Baker Award - Peugeot e-208

Rather than editorial opinion, the Auto Trader New Car Awards are based on analysis of huge amounts of data to determine the true consumer champions. In one of the industry’s largest consumer studies, owners were asked to rate their cars according to 16 different criteria, from reliability and performance to appearance and running costs, as well as their overall satisfaction and how likely they would be to recommend it to others.  Auto Trader’s analysts utilised this data to determine this year’s finalists and the ultimate winners of each category.

Erin Baker, Auto Trader’s Editorial Director, said: We continue to see extremely high demand on our marketplace with an average of over 2.3 million visits every day, boosted by the reopening of physical forecourts in April. But with so much choice in the market, it can be a challenge for consumers to find the car that is right for them. That’s where our New Car Awards can help. With categories based on how consumers actually use their cars in the ‘real-world’, it offers buyers insight into which makes, and models could best suit their lifestyle.” 

Rory Reid, Auto Trader’s YouTube Director, said: These awards are a recognition of the very best car makes and models as voted for by the people who matter most, consumers. Nearly 150,000 real-world owners shared their opinions; it’s a huge response and provides a very accurate measure of consumer satisfaction. Each of our winners represent the genuine consumer preferences when it comes to new cars and proves that despite a turbulent year, one thing hasn’t changed: people still love their cars.”

A full list of winners can be found here:

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