Our review of the Dacia Duster tops the charts on Autocar for 2015
27 December 2015

The versatile, rugged and cheap Dacia Duster is Autocar’s most popular review of 2015. Read on to find out what else joined it in the top 10. 

1 - Dacia Duster

Taking the top spot in 2015 for the most read review is the implausibly cheap Dacia Duster, which seems too good to be true. The fact that this small SUV is cheaper than a Ford Fiesta and a Smart Fortwo while its top-spec Laureate edition still undercuts an entry-level Skoda Yeti is mind-boggling.

Don’t expect the Duster to be lavishly appointed, because a starting price of £9495 gets you an Access-trimmed model with steel wheels and no radio. The mid-spec Ambiance gets a CD player, radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity while the range-topping Laureate equips the car with air conditioning, an on-board computer, heated electric mirrors, cruise control and 16in alloys.

But the Duster isn't out to compete against luxurious Range Rovers. Instead, it majors on low-cost motoring, so with that in mind find out if the Dacia SUV can achieve its chief aim.

2 - Volkswagen Golf R

The hottest Volkswagen Golf currently on sale is second on our most-read list, as this all-wheel drive R version has redefined the hot hatch sector.

The 296bhp Golf, descendant of two generations of R32 Golfs, is capable of reaching 62mph in 5.1sec, or 4.9sec if you opt for the dual-clutch automatic gearbox, before going on to reach its electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

But the Golf R is not just a turbocharged track-derived car, it is also well appointed, with Alcantara and leather seats, climate control, Bluetooth, cruise control and bi-xenon lights coming as standard.

Read on to see how our review team got to grips with the class leader of the hot hatch sector. 

3 - Ford Ecosport

Completing the top three most-read reviews of 2015 is the Ford EcoSport, which was the Blue Oval's attempt to breach the small SUV/crossover sector.

The 4x4 arena was not a new one for Ford, especially when it comes to importing such vehicles into the European market, as was the case with the Explorer in 1998. The Ecosport is an all-new car in the UK market, but was Ford’s second-generation model, as it was developed off the Fiesta platform originally for the Brazilian market.

The Brazilian-designed and Indian-built small SUV comes with three engine choices, including in a 123bhp 1.0 Ecoboost version, and two trim levels – Titantium and Titanium X.

See what we make of Ford’s first attempt at the crossover for the UK market.

4 - Vauxhall Mokka

Sticking with small crossovers, the Vauxhall Mokka is the next most-read review of this year, with it playing a pivotal role in helping revamp the Griffin-badged manufacturer’s range.

The Mokka entered an already competitive sector, which is headed by the Skoda Yeti, Renault Captur and Nissan Juke, with Vauxhall stating that its primary aim was to get private owners spending their own money, rather than taking market share.

To do so is a big gamble, but this small crossover has numerous factors in its favour, including both two and four-wheel drive options, good levels of equipment and a choice of two petrol and one diesel engine, as well as sharp styling.

We test the Mokka thoroughly to see if this small crossover can improve the perception of the Vauxhall brand. 

5 - Mercedes-AMG G63 6x6

Mercedes-AMG’s mad creation is next on the list. It was clearly not enough for Mercedes-AMG to keep the G-Wagen on the road simply by churning out iterations of it in more luxurious and ludicrously powered forms, as the review on its 6x6 version shows.

Six-wheel-drive off-roaders aren't exactly a common sight, but this double cab pick-up started off from humble beginnings as a G320 CDI modified for the Austrialian army. AMG thought it would make a good starting point for creating a model for Mercedes' most affluent clientele.

This lavishly appointed model features a 536bhp twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 under the bonnet while passengers are treated to the same leather-clad interior found in the ordinary G63. Find out what the G63 6x6 is like to live with as we take on the dunes in Dubai.

6 - BMW X1

The second generation BMW X1 is the Munich-based company’s attempt to bring a fresher look to its entry-level crossover. The new X1 has quite a task on its hands as it is expected to produce similar results as its cumbersome, awkward-looking predecessor, which notched up 730,000 sales worldwide in its six years of production.

The new X1 has been built on the same BMW UKL compact platform as the Mini and the BMW 2 Series MPV, with BMW also equipping it with the latest range of three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

It seems as if BMW has righted many of the wrongs that plagued the previous X1, despite its popularity, but read our full verdict on the BMW X1 to see if impresses in all areas. 

7 - Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S was PayPal founder Elon Musk's way of proving that green motoring doesn’t mean sacrificing luxury.

The Tesla Model S became the first luxury electric car on the market, with the Palo Alto company positioning itself to take market share from BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar.

The facts speaks volumes, with the Tesla showing that its pace and range capabilities are good enough to compete with its conventionally powered rivals. We find out whether this electric saloon has the panache, quality and character to match the others.

8 - Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade was another addition to an already congested crossover hatchback market in 2015, with this quirky model showing collaboration between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ American and European designers.

The Renegade is Jeep’s first new model in almost a decade and is promised to be different to other models from the brand as it aims for some of the market share dominated by the Mini Countryman, Renault Captur and the Vauxhall Mokka.

This all-new car uses the Fiat 500X platform, although it breaks from contemporary crossover hatchback norms with its tall boxy shape, which hails back to the Willy’s Jeep. This isn’t the only historical reference on the Renegade as its rear doors, lights and front grille all pay homage to the iconic military vehicle.

Read how reviewers get on ascertaining how different the Renegade is from its Jeep predecessors.

9 - Mercedes-Benz GLA

The Mercedes-Benz GLA is the Stuttgart-based manufacturer’s attempt to find additional niches as the German premium brands all look to diversify their smaller car portfolios.

This small SUV is Mercedes way of utilising the versatile A-Class platform that has spawned not only the hatchback Benz but also the CLA variants. The GLA shares its engines with other variants and, where applicable, the same torque-on-demand all-wheel drive system.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLA gets put through its paces by our review team, find out how it gets on.

10 - Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

The king of hypercars and the first road-going vehicle to breach 1000bhp will always live long in the memory of motor enthusiasts.

The full review of the Veyron was originally done back in 2012, and the interest in this hypercar has failed to wane even three years on. However, the current VW dieselgate crisis has brought Bugatti back to the fore as a brand that may ultimately suffer in the Volkswagen Group's cost-cutting exercise.

The model tested here is the Veyron Super Sport, which is fitted with the same turbocharged 8.0-litre W16 engine as the original but comes with 1183bhp and 922lb ft, allowing it to devour 0-62mph in 2.7sec and monster on to 253mph.

The Veyron Super Sport a feat of mechanical engineering, read on to see what other amazing statistics this Bugatti will unearth as our road testers let it off its leash.

Read more Autocar reviews here.

Our Verdict

Dacia Duster

The Dacia Duster is a no-nonsense machine that wears its bargain price tag like a badge of honour. And we can’t help liking it for that.

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Comments
1

28 December 2015
I find it interesting that the most viewed articles are reviews of cars that people can afford and really would buy with their own money as opposed to supercars and other top end vehicles that we all love to drool over. I think here the aspects that many modern cars journalists seem to spend far too much time discussing and promoting, but that have little impact on the real user such as 0-60mph and gForce etc take second (if not far lower down the list) to comfort, space, boot size, easy to reach controls, blind spots, smooth gear change, economy, head space, car size, weight (power-to-weight ratio), internal storage, cost of options that should be standard etc.

It's good to see reviews of regular cars and more detailing of aspects that effect real car buyers taking precedence over whether the McLaren P1 is a shade faster or slower than the LaFerrari. BTW, it's not to say that I don't love the McLaren, La Ferrari etc...

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