Hot Hatch of the Year: Toyota GR Yaris
“The gutsy GR Yaris is our Hot Hatch of the Year. It harks back to an era when rallying ruled the world and spawned superb road cars. Two decades on, that template is still just as relevant.”
The car we're most looking forward to driving in 2021: BMW M3
“Forget about the Bugs Bunny face of the new BMW M3 for a minute. What’s got us really chomping at the bit is what it’s going to be like to drive. And it should be worth waiting for—not just because you can’t look at the front of the car from behind the steering wheel, but also because the G80 generation of Munich’s iconic sports car throws a lot more into the mix.”
City Car of the Year: Honda e
“In many households, big journeys aren’t the small car’s job. It’s impossible to do more than 100 miles in and around a city in a day, and the Honda is the happiest and best tool to do them.”
Super-SUV of the Year: Aston Martin DBX
“What’s so great about the DBX is that it feels like an Aston Martin. Charming and distinct from the competition. An expert interpretation of Aston’s DNA as a big, posh, performance SUV that might actually make the company some money. It deserves to do well.”
Luxury Car of the Year: Rolls-Royce Ghost
“Rolls-Royce’s commitment is to an elevated driving experience and exceptional engineering, rather than old-fashioned conspicuous consumption. And although 2020 has shaken the foundations, Rolls-Royce remains resolute.”
Game Changer of the Year: Volkswagen ID.3
“The ID.3 is the first representative of a staggeringly ambitious attempt to do the right thing.
“By 2022, the VW Group will have invested £27 billion (gulp) on the ID.3 and related cars on what’s called the MEB platform and the factories to build it.”
Chris Harris’ Car of the Year/Performance Car of the Year: Porsche 911 Turbo S
“It’s been a strange year, let’s hope 2021 is a bit less bumpy. Stay safe, enjoy your driving, and if you have the money go, and buy a 992 Turbo S...and four or five different driving licences.”
Freddie Flintoff’s Car of the Year: Jaguar XJ220
“My Car of the Year is the XJ220—a car I dreamt about when I was a kid, and one I finally got to drive this summer. I remember in the late ’80s, when I was about 12, the car coming out and seeing pictures of it, and everyone talking about this Jaguar that was half a million pounds.”
Paddy McGuinness’ Car of the Year: Mr. Nippy
“This year, I’ve been lucky enough to drive some amazing stuff for Top Gear, including the Tesla Model 3, which I loved. But there’s only one that changes the game completely when it comes to electric cars. Everything about it, the size of it, the performance, the handling, the looks you get on the road, and its all-round capabilities. It’s just an absolutely mind-blowing, amazing car to drive. And that car is Mr. Nippy.”
Noise of the Year: Ferrari 812 GTS
“Both side windows and the rear glass are ritualistically lowered. Heater off. Radio muted. V12, no filter.
“This time, I can’t hear my own swear words over the row that explodes against the concrete.
“If I close my eyes in a quiet place, I can still hear those precious seconds of fury. The LEDs streaking across the steering wheel, zapping from red to blue at the optimum moment to swap gears. The sensational traction, as the overworked rear tires at last find some purchase on a rare dry stretch of road. And the solid wall of noise that ricochets off the sides of the tunnel, bouncing straight back into that breezy cockpit. It’s the sort of transcendent, air-ripping shriek I still fall asleep grinning about. Or if it keeps you up at night, I can only apologize.”
Eco-Warrior of the Year: Ferrari SF90
“Who would have thought 2020 would see us honoring a front-wheel-drive, plug-in hybrid Ferrari? Time was, if you wanted to save the planet, you had the option of a beige Prius or cycling. Of course, some cynics might question how committed you are to the environment when you’re behind the wheel of one of Maranello’s finest—for most SF90 buyers, carbon offsetting has something to do with active aero.”
Manufacturer of the Year: Ford
“Ford isn’t stamping out the EVs and crossovers that legislation and the buying public demands with a cookie cutter; it’s making cars we’ll actually want in the process. Using the names us nerds love—on cars we might not—shows it’s taking a punt in the process. Throughout all this, the humble Fiesta and Focus continue to lead their classes with ease, improved yet further by hybrid tech. Someone had a good 2020.”
Track Weapon of the Year: Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series
“This may be a Black Series with a purpose, a role in life other than roasting its back tires, but in the way it roars and bellows around a circuit and gives you the belief to let it roar and bellow even more with every lap driven, this latest Black Series stays true to its badge. It’s a badass track car.”
Retro Hero of the Year: Volvo P1800 Cyan
“In my book, the mark of truly great food is taking the simplest of ingredients and making them sing. I ate grilled lettuce covered in a mystery sauce at a South African restaurant the other day, and let me tell you it was transcendental. This is a carbon-fiber, two-seat coupe with a four-cylinder turbo in its freakishly clean engine bay. The specs are nothing special, but the overall taste is. Factor in the back story, the audacity of the idea, the 1,000s of man hours to build it, the OCD fit and finish, the depth of character that continues to reveal itself the more you drive, and the love that spills out of it, and you’re left with something very special indeed.”
Unstoppable Force of the Year: Land Rover Defender
“There’s just one problem: If Land Rover has itself already framed the Defender as the toughest and most extreme, how are we here at Top Gear, pioneers of the extravagantly pointless exercise, ever going to turn that particular volume right up to 11? The answer comes via the fine chaps at Baldwin Crane Services and some heavy duty straps. Because we’re going to show that Defenders really can hang tough.”
TG Hero of the Year: Lewis Hamilton
“Leading a race is one thing, so is winning a Formula 1 driver’s title. But there are few figures in any sport who become a leader off the track, a truly influential voice. Statistically, Lewis Hamilton already sits at the very top of motor racing greatness, but during 2020, he has really found his voice.”
Car of the Year: Land Rover Defender
“This, friends, is consumer testing, Top Gear-style.
“But actually, this is also a double celebration. Because, as well as ably demonstrating that the Defender is capable of gloriously excessive capability, this exercise also confirms that the Defender is worthy of the big prize for the most impressive vehicle to emerge in the past 12 months. The new Land Rover Defender is Top Gear magazine’s overall Car of the Year.”
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.