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Volkswagen on the up! as German manufacturers dominate car awards

German cars on top in 10 of the 16 categories awarded by What Car? magazine, as the VW up! takes top vehicle overall

German manufacturers have swept the board in a survey of the best and most reliable cars, which names Volkswagen’s “cheap and cheerful” up! model as the top vehicle overall.

Volkswagen also picked up two further gongs of the 16 awarded by What Car? magazine and website: the top prize in the small family car category for its Golf for the fourth year running; and the safety award for the up!’s emergency braking system.

The up! will not be seen on British roads until March, when it will retail from £7,995, but the company said it has taken about 700 orders since the beginning of October 2011. The four-seater with two doors will be followed by a five-door model in the summer.

What Car? editor-in-chief Chas Hallett said: “The Volkswagen up! is the best car we’ve seen this year because it combines refinement, quality, space and economy. It sets new standards for the £10,000 price bracket. It feels at home in town and copes admirably on the motorway – it is the right car for the time.”

German cars took 10 out of the 16 category awards as well as the overall prize. Audi picked up three awards – last year’s overall winnner, the A1, was named best supermini, the TT took the coupe title, and the TT Roadster won the open-top award.

Two awards were given to BMW – the X3 clinched the SUV award and the latest 3-series earned the executive car crown. Meanwhile, Mercedes Benz’s S-Class S350 CDI Bluetec won the luxury car gong, with an eye-watering list price of £60,005, which What Car? said should be a more realistic £55,948.

What Car? readers and website users named the Jaguar C-X16 the most exciting car for 2012. It will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March and will be on sale by the end of 2012 with a price tag expected to be in the region of £50,000.

Elsewhere, the Ford Mondeo won the awards for top family car and top estate car, and for the third year running the Renault Megane Renaultsport was awarded Hot Hatch of the year, with What Car? saying it is a more exhilarating drive than any equivalent.

Performance car of the year went to Porsche for the 911 Carrera S PDK, while the MPV award was won by the Seat Alhambra, which seats seven adults in comfort and has a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.

In recognition of its green features, Kia was presented with the ultra-low carbon award for reducing the CO2 outputs of its vehicles without resorting to expensive hybrid technology.

December 2011 figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed car sales fell 4.4% to their lowest level since 1994 as a strong 2011 for manufacturers failed to be reflected in showrooms across the UK. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds