Currently reading: The most popular car reviews of 2014
We dig through our data to reveal which new cars have generated the most interest this year

This year has seen a vast array of notable cars come and go, ranging from the diminutive Renault Twingo to the ferocious Ferrari 458 Speciale.

Just because a car's a real headline grabber doesn't mean that it will be one of the most popular online reviews of the year, however. For it to attain those heady heights requires enduring and wide-ranging appeal.

So, we've trawled through our traffic reports – encompassing both standard and high-performance derivatives – to find out just which cars made their way into the top 10 reviews list this year. Will a predictable champion take the top spot, or will it be something unexpected? Find out below.

10. Mercedes-Benz C-class

Just pipping the almighty McLaren P1 into 10th place is the latest version of the C-class. Its popularity with company car and private owners alike guaranteed it a place here, as many were keen to find out how the newest iteration of Mercedes' compact luxury saloon fared against the indomitable BMW 3-series.

9. Kia Sportage

A seven-year warranty, economical diesel engines, a spacious interior, stacks of kit and the option of four-wheel drive makes the Sportage an appealing option. It wasn't as good to drive as the Skoda Yeti or Nissan Qashqai but, overall, it was a great package for cost-conscious buyers.

8. Ford Kuga

The Ford Kuga has always stood out in the crossover class, thanks to its engaging and athletic handling. This, the second generation, might not be as roomy or as capable off road as some of its rivals, but it offered a blend of abilities that was hard to beat.

7. Porsche Macan

Many were aghast when Porsche announced its entry to the SUV market with the Cayenne. It was a huge success, though, and the company flourished. When a smaller SUV called the Macan was revealed, people were keen to see if it, too, would be just as successful – and the web traffic poured in. Porsche describes the Macan as "the sports car among compact SUVs". It's not wrong.

6. Ford Fiesta

Consistently the best-selling car in the UK, painless to live with and great to drive. Accolades don't get much higher than that. Even newer rivals, such as the Renault Clio and Peugeot 208, have failed to usurp it from the number one spot. That's not to say it excels everywhere, mind, but it's unquestionably an impressive overall package.

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5. Seat Leon

The third-generation Leon might be perceived by some as yet another Volkswagen Group MQB spin-off but – thanks to its sharp styling and more sporting character – it's a distinctive and entertaining offering. Consequently, it has proving a popular choice with those researching their next hatchback. Three-door, estate and high-performance Cupra versions further bolster its appeal.

4. Volkswagen Golf

Yes, the oft-appropriate answer to the long-standing question of "which car should I buy?" makes it into the number four spot. No surprise, really; the Golf is one of the best hatchbacks in the world. It's easy to drive, gratifying to own and – as a result – immensely popular.

3. Dacia Duster

The Duster, in effect, offers buyers a car like a Skoda Yeti for the price of a Ford Fiesta, generating a vast amount of interest and a spot in the top three most popular reviews of they year. It's a compact, practical, spacious and simple SUV. For the money, what's not to like?

2. Nissan Qashqai

One of Nissan's most important cars and unquestionably the ruler of the crossover class. Following the launch of the second-generation model earlier this year, readers flocked to the site to find out if it had managed to retain its crown. It had, thanks to its pleasing blend of efficiency, comfort, quality and dynamic capabilities.

1. Volkswagen Golf R

The 296bhp four-wheel-drive Golf R is a remarkable machine that blends the sophistication of the standard Golf with the flair and appeal of rivals like the Renault Mégane Renaultsport. It's fast, fun, a sensible everyday proposition and – perhaps more notably – affordable. As a result, its review was the most read this year. We deemed it a cult classic in the making and, judging by the interest it has received, that's destined to be the case.

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