The rally-bred Toyota Yaris has won the overall 2021 UK Car of the Year Award, bucking the recent trend that has seen electric vehicles – the Tesla Model 3 and Jaguar i-Pace – taking the two previous overall prizes.
The Yaris narrowly beat the Ford Puma, Land Rover Defender and Volkswagen ID.3 to take the top spot in the competition decided by a panel of 29 of the UK’s leading motoring journalists, including Company Car Today Editor Paul Barker, Contributing Editor Tristan Young and contributors Nat Barnes, David Motton and Al Suttie. The regular Yaris hatch also took the supermini category.
“Raw, aggressive, rapid – the Yaris GR is the hot hatch done properly. Get these thrills while you can,” said Suttie, also a UK Car of the Year Awards director.
“Our sincere thanks go to the UK Car of the Year judges for giving this prestigious award to GR Yaris. This unique car perfectly expresses Toyota’s focus on the pure joys of driving and how we are drawing directly on our motorsport activities to create ever-better cars for the road,” said Toyota GB managing director Agustin Martin. “The unprecedented reception for GR Yaris – and for the all-new Yaris range more widely – is transforming the perception of our brand as a maker of desirable cars that are genuinely fun to drive.”
“Such was the strength in depth of the 12 cars in the overall category, that with just four votes remaining, five cars were still in the running,” said Car of the Year Awards director John Challen. “This fact shows that vehicle manufacturers are creating truly impressive, desirable and focused products for their customers.”
Skoda’s new Octavia collected both the family car and estate car segments, while the Honda e was the best city car, and Ford took the small and medium crossover prizes with the Puma and Kuga respectively. Other awards included the Defender taking best large crossover, and the ID.3 winning best small hatch.