2021 Car of the Year Awards contenders revealed

In January, we'll reveal the best new cars in every category, plus our overall Car of the Year. These are the models in contention...

What Car? Car of the Year 2021 Long List compilation image

What Car? has unveiled the full long list of models in contention for its highly anticipated Car of the Year Awards 2021, held in association with ALA Insurance.

The event, from Britain’s leading consumer champion and new car buying platform, will see the best cars in 20 categories named, with a What Car? Award one of the most sought after accolades in the automotive industry.

The list of 167 cars on the long list is made up of new or updated models from the last 12 months, plus defending champions from the 2020 event.

To be eligible for a What Car? Award, a car has to have been tested back to back with rivals, both on UK roads and at What Car?’s dedicated test track.

The winners of each category will also be in the frame for the overall Car of the Year Award, which has been won by a diverse range of vehicles in recent years, including the BMW 5 Series saloon, the Kia e-Niro electric car and the Ford Puma small SUV (below).

Ford Puma front three quarters

To make the 2021 event even more relevant to Britain’s car buyers, each category will feature not only a winner, but also a series of best buys for individual qualities such as value, comfort and practicality.

The qualities chosen for each category are based on the results of What Car?’s 2020 reader survey, where people were asked what they most valued when choosing their current car.

The Car of the Year Awards 2021 winners will be announced across a week-long, entirely digital event, which kicks off on 11 January.

The What Car? Awards have been running since 1978, but have been reimagined as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, with a greater emphasis than ever on reaching a large, highly engaged consumer audience and ensuring that they are the most influential car-buying awards in the calendar.

The full list of nominees are:

Small car
Dacia Sandero
Fiat 500
Honda E
Honda Jazz
Toyota Yaris
Hyundai i20
Kia Picanto
Mini Electric
Peugeot e-208
Renault Clio
Vauxhall Corsa-e
Volkswagen Polo - defending champion
Volkswagen Up

Family car
Audi A3
Citroën C4
Citroën e-C4
Hyundai i30
Kia Xceed
Seat Leon
Skoda Octavia
Skoda Scala - defending champion
Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen ID.3

Hot hatch
Audi S3
BMW M135i
Cupra Leon
Honda Civic Type R - defending champion
Hyundai i30N
Mercedes-AMG A35
Mercedes-AMG A45 S
Skoda Octavia vRS
Toyota GR Yaris
Volkswagen Golf GTI

Small SUV
Audi Q2
DS3 Crossback E-Tense
Ford Puma - defending champion
Peugeot e-2008
Mini Countryman
Peugeot 2008
Renault Captur
Suzuki Ignis

Family SUV
Hyundai Tucson
Land Rover Defender 90
Lexus UX300e
Mazda MX-30
Mercedes GLA
Peugeot 3008
Range Rover Evoque - defending champion
Seat Ateca
Volkswagen Tiguan
Volvo XC40

Large SUV
Audi Q5
Citroën C5 Aircross
Ford Kuga
Kia Sorento
Land Rover Defender 110
Mercedes-Benz GLB
Peugeot 5008 - defending champion
Suzuki Across

Executive car
Audi A3 Saloon
Audi A4
BMW 3 Series - defending champion
Volvo S60

Luxury car
Audi S8
BMW 5 Series - defending champion
Mercedes E-Class
Rolls-Royce Ghost

Luxury SUV
Aston Martin DBX
Audi E-Tron 50
Audi Q7 - defending champion
Bentley Bentayga
BMW X5 45e
Jaguar I-Pace
Mercedes GLS

Plug-in hybrid
Audi A6 TFSIe
Audi A7 TFSIe
Audi Q7 TFSIe
BMW 330e - defending champion
BMW 530e
BMW X1 25e
BMW X3 30e
BMW X5 45e
Citroën C5 Hybrid
Ford Kuga PHEV
Kia Ceed SW PHEV
Kia Xceed PHEV
Kia Niro PHEV
Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV
Land Rover Evoque PHEV
Mercedes-Benz A250e
Mercedes-Benz C300 de
Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4
Peugeot 508 PHEV
Renault Captur PHEV
Renault Megane PHEV
Seat Leon e-Hybrid
Skoda Octavia iV
Suzuki Across
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volvo V60 T6
Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge
Volvo XC60 T6

Small electric car
DS3 Crossback E-Tense
Citroën e-C4
Fiat 500
Honda E
Lexus UX300e
Mazda MX-30
Mini Electric
Peugeot e-208
Renault Zoe - defending champion
Vauxhall Corsa-e
Volkswagen ID.3
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

Large electric car
Audi E-tron Sportback
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Jaguar I-Pace
MG 5
Polestar 2
Porsche Taycan
Tesla Model 3 - defending champion 

Citroën Berlingo - defending champion
Ford Transit Nugget
Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life
Volkswagen Caravelle
Volkswagen California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Touran 

Estate car
BMW 5 Series Touring
MG 5
Renault Megane Sport Tourer
Seat Leon Estate
Skoda Octavia Estate
Skoda Superb Estate - defending champion
Suzuki Swace
Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake

Audi A5
Audi A5 Sportback
Audi TT - defending champion
BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe
BMW 4 Series
Volkswagen Arteon 

Coupé SUV
Audi E-tron Sportback
Citroën C4
Citroën e-C4
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Mazda MX-30
Mercedes GLE Coupe
Range Rover Velar - defending champion

Convertible - defending champion off sale
Audi A5 Cabriolet
BMW 8 Series Convertible
Fiat 500C
Lexus LC Convertible
Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet

Sports car
Alpine A110 - defending champion
Aston Martin Vantage Roadster
Audi R8 RWD
Jaguar F-Type
McLaren 720S Spider
Porsche 718 Boxster GTS
Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
Porsche 911 manual 

Sports SUV
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Audi RS Q8
Cupra Ateca
Cupra Formentor
Ford Puma ST
Mercedes GLE 53 AMG
Mercedes GLC 43 AMG
Porsche Cayenne GTS
Porsche Macan S - defending champion
Volkswagen Tiguan R

Performance car
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - defending champion
Audi RS6
Audi RS7
Audi S5
BMW M235i Gran Coupe
BMW M440i
BMW M5 Competition
Mercedes-AMG C63
Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 AMG
Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S AMG
Porsche Panamera
Porsche Taycan

Read more about the contenders >>

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