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Car of the Year Awards 2021: Reader Award

What Car? readers were given a 14-car shortlist, and asked to vote for the upcoming model that they're most excited about seeing in showrooms...

WINNER: Reader Award

Alfa Romeo Tonale

What Car? Car of the Year 2021 logo with sponsor

If you want to get a sense of the scale of Alfa Romeo’s victory here, consider this: the Tonale garnered more than twice as many votes as the second-placed car. Clearly, readers are excited about the idea of a new family SUV that will sit below the Stelvio in the Italian brand's range.

And so they should be, because the plug-in hybrid Tonale is the most advanced car the Italian brand has ever made. It’s expected to combine a 1.3- litre turbo petrol engine with an electric motor to produce at least 240bhp and offer an official electric range of more than 30 miles, making it potentially very cheap to run if you can charge it regularly and do mostly short trips.

The exterior isn’t expected to change much compared with the 2019 concept car (pictured), while the interior features a 12.3in digital instrument cluster, a 10.3in touchscreen infotainment system and high-end materials that will help the Tonale to compete with premium rivals such as the BMW X1, Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC40.

2nd place - Ioniq 5

Hyundai 45 concept front

Up until now, the Ioniq has been a Hyundai family hatchback model that has come in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric guises. However, Hyundai has decided to turn it into a new sub-brand specifically for electric cars, and the Ioniq 5 is the first fruit. Although no technical details have been released yet, it’s an SUV based on the 2019 Hyundai 45 concept car (pictured). Expect sleek looks inside and out, alongside space for five in a high-tech interior.

3rd place - BMW i4

BMW i4 concept front

Sporting a design similar to that of the latest 4 Series Coupé, BMW’s all-new electric executive car will be capable of travelling for up to 373 miles between charges – farther than the rival Tesla Model 3 can manage. Power comes from a single electric motor that produces a whopping 523bhp and draws energy from an 80kWh battery. Drive is sent to all four wheels, and the i4 can sprint from a standstill to 62mph in less than four seconds.

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Read about more Car of the Year 2021 winners >>