While we’re becoming increasingly focused on technology and safety in our cars, we can’t forget about the essential need for them to be great to drive.
While driving enjoyment might not be at the top of your priorities when it comes to your next new car, you’re probably going to spend most of the time in the driver’s seat, and we think it’s important that your next car is great to drive.
We’ve compiled six of the best across all different classes — some of which are performance cars, and others more conventional models — all of which are highly rated, both by us and by other publications.
BMW 3 Series Touring
BMW has long ruled the roost when it comes to offering superb drivers’ cars, as you’d hope with the brand’s tagline ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’. While BMW’s sports models might seem the obvious contenders at being great to drive, it’s actually BMW’s smallest estate models that’s one of the most impressive.
The 3 Series Touring — even when equipped with the 320d diesel engine — feels just as good to drive as the excellent saloon version it’s based on. The model is agile, punchy, incredibly refined and exceptionally comfortable, too. Few cars can manage to be all four of those things, which is why the 3 Series Touring is worthy of a five-star rating.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifolgio
Think SUVs have to be boring to drive? Well, the regular Alfa Romeo Stelvio quickly proves that theory wrong. Alfa then decided to turn things up to 10 and the result was the sublime Stelvio Quadrifoglio — easily one of the best SUVs to drive, if not the best.
Its 503bhp twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 allows for a 0-60mph of just 3.6 seconds, while it would keep accelerating to a claimed 176bhp. Coupled with agility matching some of the best saloon cars and a thrilling exhaust note, this is another truly superb car to drive.
Ford Fiesta ST
It might be one of the cheapest hot hatches on sale today — with a starting price of £20,700 — but the Fiesta ST is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling cars to drive on sale today.
While it might be one down on the last car’s four cylinders, the 197bhp 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is still able to serve up some superb performance, and the whole car is exceptionally well-judged behind the wheel. It’s no wonder this little hatch has picked up a whole host of awards, and is truly deserving of all its accolades.
When it comes to being the best car to drive, it’s often a sporty experience behind the wheel that scores. But some segments have little need for that, and large SUVs are one of those sectors. Instead its outstanding refinement and comfort that is more important.
That’s exactly where Audi’s seven-seat Q7 comes up trumps, with this SUV offering unrivalled comfort — helped by adaptive air suspension (now fitted as standard), which helps to iron out all the bumps in the road and deliver one of the most relaxing driving experiences you’ll find anywhere. Should you require more sportiness, you can also opt for the powerful Audi SQ7, too, while also features four-wheel steering to enhance agility.
The Skoda Scala is like the Audi Q7 in the sense that it’s not the most thrilling family hatchback to drive, but instead it’s a solid all-rounder. It also offers great value for money and practicality.
When it comes to ease of driving, few cars can impress quite like the Scala can for its light inputs, making town driving a doddle. The ride is also very good for a model of this size — helping the Scala to solidify excellent scores in all our road tests.
Hyundai i30 Fastback N
Few could have predicted just how good Hyundai’s first sporty ‘N’ models would be when the i30 N hot hatch debuted towards the end of 2017. In fact, it’s now regarded as one of the best hot hatches available today — high praise given some of the other offerings out there.
We’ve chosen the more distinctive and stylish i30 Fastback N here, which only comes in ‘N Performance’ trim — adding a host of sporty tech and a power boost to 271bhp. It’s exceptionally grippy and unbelievably sharp to drive, meaning it deserves all the high praise it regularly receives.