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New Mini Is 2014's Car Of The Year

By raccars Published

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The 2014 Auto Express Car of the Year awards ceremony took place this month in London, at the Grand Connaught Rooms in the West End. The Mini took the top spot this year at the prestigious awards.

Although owned by the very German BMW since its 2001 rebirth, the recently released third generation Mini is a thoroughly British affair, with engines made in Birmingham's Hams Hall, body panels in Swindon, while the car is put together in Oxford. Overall, 6,000 staff are involved in the production of the car, which is sold in 110 markets globally. Along with the overall first prize, the Mini also won in the Best Premium Small Car category.

Judges praised the Mini's funky appearance, high quality fit and finish and engaging drive, but also the fresh array of comfort and safety features and added sophistication that characterise the latest version of the car, which costs from £12,000-£26,000. It was noted that the compact, sporty Mini is now as comfortable and refined to drive on the motorway as high end executive saloons.

Among the gadgets usually found on more expensive cars, the Mini comes with a head up windscreen display, adaptive cruise control and forward collision alert.

The Car of the Year awards recognised a number of other British built automotive endeavours, with the Best Coupe prize going to the Jaguar F-Type, the McLaren 650S winning Best Performance Car and the Nissan Qashqai named the Best Crossover and receiving an award for safety innovations. This is all good news for Britain's auto industry, which is posting an exuberant recovery from the last few years of financial turmoil. The Nissan Qashqai, for example, may be from a Japanese parent company but is produced in Sunderland, where the Nissan factory builds more cars on an annual basis than the entire Italian car industry combined.

The Seat Leon, last year's overall winner, also did well for Spain with three prizes, for Best Estate Car, Best Compact Family Car and Best Hot Hatch. Porsche's new Macan took the Best Compact Sports Utility Vehicle spot and Best Roadster went to the Boxster.

The Ford Transit took the honours for Van of the Year and in the Design Award category, Auto Express readers voted for Volvo. The BMW i3 was Green Car of the Year and a Special Award was given to the Tesla Model S.

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