Ford’s Puma model was praised by the judging panel for being fun to drive, cleverly packaged, well priced and economical due to its mild-hybrid technology. The victory is the sixth time Ford has scooped the top award but their first in over a decade after beating off strong competition from popular models such as the Skoda Kamiq and Tesla Model 3.
Earlier in the night the Ford Puma also topped the small SUV category in a double win for the machine.
WhatCar? editor Steve Huntingford said: “As a small SUV, the Ford Puma competes in one of the fastest-growing sectors of the car market.
“Crucially, it also excels in all the areas that are important to buyers, according to our research. Thanks to its sharp handling, gutsy engine and clever mild-hybrid technology, it offers a mix of fun and frugality not previously seen among its competitors.
“Plus, it’s as practical as it is stylish. In short, the Ford Puma is truly outstanding.”
The car achieved a score of 94 percent in the adult occupant safety test en-route to a five-star score in its Euro NCAP safety exam.
Inside, all Pumas come with rear parking sensors while rear-view cameras are also available as an extra.
The vehicle comes with a stylish interior design topped off with a built-in eight-inch touchscreen system offering sat-nav and DAB radio.
Collecting the award at last night’s glitzy ceremony in Central London was Roelant de Waard, vice president of Ford Europe marketing, Sales and Service.
He said: “We’re all excited to see the return of the Puma name on a stylish and dynamic crossover that reflects today’s customer aspirations.
“Puma blends practicality with performance and fuel-efficiency from its choice of 1.0-litre, 125PS or 155PS hybrid options.
“To receive such high praise from industry experts like What Car? kicks off the year to a great start.
The Puma saw a return to the Car of the Year award for a traditional vehicle after last year’s win for the electric Kia e-Niro.
The vehicle was nominated for the best small electric car award but was beaten to the prize by the Renault Zoe.
It was a strong night for BMW who picked up a series of awards for their 3 and 5-Series models.
The 3-Series topped the bill for best plug-in hybrid model and best executive car categories as the 5-Series secured the award for Best Luxury Car despite coming in as the cheapest nominee in the category.
In another major win for the German manufacturer, their 3-Series also picked up Thatcham’s Research safety award after strong Euro NCAP results.
Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifolglio won the Performance Car of the Year Award for the third year running as Alpine’s A110 Pure beat off competition from Porsche to win Best Sports Car.
Peugeot’s 5008 also became a three-time winner as it topped the Best Large SUV Category once again.