Motor Writer Drive of the Year 2011

It has been a great year for Motor Writer. The sheer variety of vehicles driven has been amazing, from the paradigm-shifting Nissan LEAF to the all-desirable Range Rover Evoque.  So how easy was it to pick just one car?

The safety features in the Volvo V70 might have clinched it – but they were too intrusive.  The range of the LEAF isn’t currently practical unless you live in a city with a proper charging infrastructure (I don’t).  While great, I didn’t find the Evoque magical.  Fiat’s 500C Twin Air (favourite of my family) was fun but didn’t handle well-enough.  Audi’s A7 coupé left me cold and its little sister the A1 (although excellent) is too expensive.  Ford’s new Focus is a fabulous drive and the 130 PS 1.6 diesel is a peach – but the styling isn’t as easy on the eye as the model it replaces.

The winner of Motor Writer Drive of the Year for 2011? Suzuki’s Swift DDiS.  It brings back the sheer driving pleasure we enjoyed three decades ago but is thoroughly modern.  With the little 1.3 diesel engine, the Swift managed 86.4 mpg in the MPG Marathon (second position overall and first in the class for percentage improvement over the official combined fuel consumption figure).  Clearly, Motor Writer didn’t manage anywhere near this because frankly, the car is just too much fun.  Everything feels just right – the handling, steering and gear change all contribute to making this little car a sheer delight.  Its looks are distinctive, stance is purposeful and styling is contemporary.

Click here to see the original Motor Writer road test.

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