Every 5-star car on What Car?
From nimble city cars to stylish SUVs, and exciting sports cars to practical family hatchbacks – this is where you'll find every car which has earned our highest road test rating.....
It's not every day that What Car? gives out a five-star road test rating, because any car that earns this is judged to be outstanding in almost every respect.
To get five stars, a car must beat its rivals at the things that matter most to potential buyers (for example, performance and handling for a sports car, or practicality and comfort in an SUV) without disappointing in less crucial areas. And now car dealers have reopened and are keen for your business, there might not a better time to get a great deal on a great car. And these are the best on sale today.
In this story, we'll look at each type of car, taking you through every model that has been awarded five stars and is still on sale. Let's take a look at Small Cars first:
If you're looking for cultured motoring on a modest budget, then you simply must check out the Hyundai i10. It's relatively spacious, comes with a smart-looking interior and a great infotainment system, and rides and handles more impressively than plenty of bigger, pricier cars.
Let's now take a look at the Small car class:
Those with a little more to spend should make sure the Ibiza is on their shortlist. It's great fun to drive, roomy inside and has a strong yet frugal range of engines – of which the 1.0 TSI 95 petrol is our recommended choice.
As good as the Ibiza is, it's the Volkswagen's Polo that's the current holder of our Small Car of the Year award, offering a high-quality interior that's surprisingly spacious, a peppy range of engines and seriously impressive refinement.
Let's now take a look at the Family car class:
Few cars in any class are as practical as the Octavia; indeed, only the massive BMW X7 SUV can fit more carry-on suitcases in its boot. What's more, the Octavia is smartly finished, generously equipped and very well priced.
You might think it odd that Skoda felt the need to introduce the Scala when it already had the Octavia in its range, but the Scala is aimed at those after something a bit smaller and cheaper. And while it is both of those things, it's still very practical and, crucially, doesn't feel remotely cheap, either inside or in term of the way it drives.
Let's now take a look at the Hot hatches class:
Ford Fiesta ST
When it comes to hot hatches, anyone with circa-£20k to spend should have the Fiesta ST at the very top of their shortlist. It's way more exciting to drive than the Volkswagen Polo GTI and better value for money, too.
Honda Civic Type R
Up the budget, and the best hot hatch of them all is the Honda Civic Type R. It offers awesome performance and precise handling, yet is also a practical and comfortable everyday car.
Let's now take a look at the Small SUV class:
With its nippy acceleration and agile handling, the Ford Puma will put a bigger smile on your face than any other small SUV. But it’s a car you can buy with your sensible hat on, too, thanks to its low CO2 emissions, excellent 40 MPG+ real-world fuel economy, cleverly designed boot and attractive monthly PCP costs. No wonder it's our 2020 Car of the Year.
The Kamiq puts you quite low to the ground; in fact, its driving position is barely any more elevated than that of Skoda's Scala hatchback. However, in every other respect, it's a brilliant choice, with its supple, controlled ride and remarkably spacious interior particular highlights.
In contrast to the Kamiq, the T-Roc sits you high by small SUV standards, while its cosseting ride, superb refinement and practical boot will all appeal to families.
Let's now take a look at the Family SUV class:
Range Rover Evoque
It may well be the Evoque’s looks that first pique your interest, but it’s a fine car on more objective levels, too. It’s good to drive, really posh inside and is even reasonably practical by class standards. To top it all off, it has some of the strongest resale values of any car on sale today.
The replacement for the popular Yeti combines excellent practicality with a comfortable ride, plus it's available with luxurious features such as a digital instrument display and gesture control for the infotainment system.
It may be some time since we voted the multitalented XC40 our Car of the Year, but it still cuts the mustard. It blends generous passenger space and a practical boot with a quality interior and top-notch safety, so you aren't only buying a hugely desirable product, but one with real substance.
Looking for a plush large SUV? Surely the Audi Q5 is already on your shortlist. And so it should be, because it's incredibly refined and relatively cheap to run, yet also has one of the best interiors you'll find in any new car.
Let's now take a look at the Large SUV class:
The BMW X3 is a common sight on UK roads, and with good reason: it's superb to drive, it has a high-quality interior and its infotainment system is class-leading.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Updates to the Land Rover Discovery Sport in 2019 have made it more appealing than ever, with a refined range of engines, a lengthy equipment list and lots of seating flexibility. Put simply, it now suits more families more of the time.
The old 5008 was a fairly frumpy MPV, but it has been reinvented as a tech-heavy large SUV that's both stylish and practical. We particularly like its comfortable ride, practical seven-seat interior and low CO2 emissions.
Let's now take a look at the Executive car class:
Audi's executive saloon is a former What Car? Car of the Year. You can choose from a strong range of petrol and diesel engines, with our favourite 2.0-litre diesel option combining punchy performance with good fuel economy. The A4's interior is at the top of this class for quality, too.
BMW 3 Series
This latest BMW 3 Series executive saloon reclaimed class leadership from the A4 thanks to its super strong engines, fantastic handling and superior infotainment system.
The Skoda Superb is comfortable, well equipped, great value for money and one of the roomiest cars in its class. It's a car that truly lives up to its name, then, and we like Skoda's extra practical touches, such as the umbrellas hidden inside the front doors.
Now let's take a look at Luxury cars:
The Audi A8’s blend of performance, comfort and refinement make it the most relaxing luxury limousine you can buy. It's the car that finally knocked the Mercedes S-Class off its perch.
BMW 5 Series
The BMW 5 Series won our overall Car of the Year Award in 2017, and it remains the best luxury car you can buy. Its interior quality puts some rivals that cost twice as much to shame, plus it's great to drive and incredibly quiet and comfortable.
It might have been beaten by the A8, but the margins are small, so the S-Class is still among the most comfortable and luxurious ways to travel. We particularly like its cosseting ride and great refinement.
Now in its eighth generation, the Phantom represents the pinnacle of the Rolls-Royce range and, in some ways, the new car market as a whole. It's immensely imposing comfortable, although you’ll obviously need very deep pockets.
Now let's take a look at Luxury SUVs:
Audi's luxury SUV is the best car of its kind. It's relaxing to drive, comfortable to sit in and pleasantly efficient to run, while its interior is plush enough to shame most luxury saloons. As if all that weren't enough, the Q7 is extremely practical, offering loads of space for families and their luggage.
Range Rover Velar
The Velar is a stylish, refined and seriously appealing SUV. It even looks good value if you stick to the cheaper engines and trims.
Now let's take a look at hybrid and electric cars:
The thing that makes the 330e so special is that, aside from a shallower boot, it's much like any other 3 Series, meaning great fun to drive. There's simply nothing in the way it handles to suggest you're carrying around enough batteries for 36 miles of zero-emission motoring.
BMW X5 xDrive45e
BMW's plug-in hybrid X5 can't be specified with seven seats, but that's the only significant downside. Indeed, it has a much longer electric range than the rival Volvo XC90 Recharge T8, a far more user-friendly infotainment system and attracts significantly lower company car tax bills so, unless you need those extra seats, it's the better car.
Volkswagen Passat GTE
Volkswagen recently treated this plug-in Passat to a host of updates, including a longer all-electric range. Plus, it's quiet at all speeds, has lots of passenger space and is available in an estate bodystyle that gives it a very practical boot.
The I-Pace SUV is Jaguar’s first electric car, and can drive for more than 250 miles between charges in real-world conditions. It can also be charged to 80% of capacity in just 90 minutes, and its futuristic interior features two 12.0in screens and another 5.5in screen for climate settings. Add in fun handling, and it's a very appealing option.
The e-Niro is another car that banishes range anxiety, managing 253 miles when we put it to the test. It also offers good practicality, performance, comfort and equipment – and all for a competitive price. In fact, we rate the e-Niro so highly we made it our 2019 Car of the Year.
The Renault Zoe has long dominated the cheaper end of the electric car market, but the new Peugeot e-208 is even better, with a higher quality interior, more rear head room and extra safety kit. There's no compromise on boot space compared with petrol versions of the 208, either, and you can expect to do almost 200 miles between charges.
Porsche's first electric car, the Taycan, sets the benchmark for handling and interior quality. A brilliant piece of engineering, if only for the privileged few who can afford it.
Tesla Model 3
Few cars received as much hype before their launch as the Model 3, and even fewer can match what it offers in reality. Tesla's most affordable car yet is great to drive, packed full of tech, fast (ridiculously so in Performance guise) and surprisingly practical. It’s not only a great electric car but one of the best executive cars you can buy, too.
Now let's look at Sports cars:
You may not have heard of Alpine, but you'll certainly enjoy the way its dinky sports car can put a smile on your face, even at sensible speeds.
Audi TT roadster
The TT Roadster is fantastic to drive and, so long as you don’t need more than two seats, surprisingly easy to live with. Its controls are light yet precise, its fully electric roof can be raised or lowered quickly and it has one of the classiest interiors around.
With a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine, a hunkered-down driving position and slinky looks, McLaren followed the supercar recipe to the letter in creating the 570S. And the result is outstanding: it's incredibly fast, entertaining at any speed and even has a surprisingly large boot.
Porsche 718 Boxster
For the money, the Porsche Boxster is truly sublime. It looks fantastic, but what’s underneath, including the fabulously strong engine and bespoke suspension, equips it to dynamically outgun cheaper – and more expensive – rivals alike.
Porsche 718 Cayman
Porsche fans may have been nervous when the Cayman adopted a turbocharged petrol engine, but they needn't have worried, because this is still one of the most fun sports cars to drive, with agile handling and raucous power. It has a classy interior, too.
The 911 badge is one of the oldest, yet Porsche's most iconic model remains one of the very best sports cars on sale. It's fantastic to drive, usable every day and has a beautifully furnished interior.
Now let's look at Sports SUVs:
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
If you want to surge past the traffic, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a superb choice, thanks to a 503bhp 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine that revs keenly and emits a truly soulful soundtrack. However, it’s not simply a boisterous toy like the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 or Range Rover Sport SVR. Instead, the Stelvio feels light and responsive, thanks to steering that’s super-quick without making the car seem overly nervous.
We recommend the mid-range S version of Porsche's smallest SUV rather than the range-topping Turbo, because it's still ferociously fast – dispatching the 0-62mph sprint in 5.1sec – yet also able to keep running costs reasonably sensible. And like all Macan's it pulls off the trick of mixing thrilling, confidence-inspiring handling with a ride that's compliant enough for everyday use.
Volkswagen T-Roc R
With nearly 300bhp and four-wheel drive as standard, the Volkswagen T-Roc R promises hot-hatch thrills in a more practical package. But here's the crucial thing: it actually delivers on that promise. It blends the regular T-Roc’s practicality with sharp handling and bombastic performance. So, the only thing that disappoints is the cheap-feeling interior.
Now let's look at Performance cars:
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio might not sound as brutish as a Mercedes-AMG C63 AMG, nor be as capable through corners as a BMW M4, but it's more rewarding than both – and surely that's the whole point of a car like this?
Yes, we prefer the Giula, but we wouldn't try to talk you out of choosing the C63 instead. It has muscle car brutishness, courtesy of a thundering V8 engine, but it's no drag-racing, one-trick pony that's effective only in a straight line. It steers well and has a delightful chassis balance.
Now let's look at Coupés:
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
What makes the DBS so special is that Aston Martin has harnessed the car's immense power in a chassis that makes you the master of it, rather than its slave. It means that, believe it or not, this 715bhp car is one that you can genuinely enjoy not just on a track but also the public road.
Audi TT Coupé
If anything, the TT Coupé is even better than the Roadster. Yes, you miss out on the wind-in-the-hair experience, but it's sharper to drive, thanks to the extra body stiffness that comes with a fixed roof.
Now let's look at Convertibles:
Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
From its monstrously powerful yet exceptionally smooth range of engines to its luxurious and spacious interior, the S-Class Cabriolet is unrivalled when it comes to effortless drop-top motoring.
Now let's look at MPVs:
Okay, it's the same as the Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life underneath, but the Berlingo’s keener pricing, better level of standard equipment and slightly plusher feel make it an even better buy. Add in its hugely spacious interior and soft ride, and few cars are as relaxing, especially for the money.
Just because you're wearing your sensible trousers when buying a new MPV, it doesn’t mean you have to slum it. Opt for a Volkswagen Touran and you’ll find the same level of plushness that you’d get in a Golf, but with far greater practicality. All five of its rear seats feature Isofix child seat mounting points and enough space for adults. And the Touran even drives well.
Now let's look at Estate cars:
BMW 5 Series Touring
The latest 5 Series Touring is BMW at the top of its game. This is a hugely appealing luxury estate car because it's comfortable, quiet and enjoyable to drive, with an interior that's as classy as it is practical. Plus, standard self-levelling suspension helps it cope with the heftiest of loads.
Skoda Superb estate
Having extolled the practicality of the regular Superb already, you'd be safe in thinking that this more spacious estate version is, if anything, even better. Well, you're absolutely right. In increasing the amount of storage space, Skoda has made an already great car truly outstanding.
Now let's look at Pick-ups:
The Amarok is the most car-like pick-up truck to drive, and considering the commercial nature of this type of car, that's a big compliment. Indeed, the Amarok offers a decent load-bay and a strong range of engines, thus pleasing drivers who want to use it as a working car, but it's spacious, well built interior means it will please families, too.