A look back on the best of 2013 road tests

Mercedes CLS SportbrakeMercedes CLS Sportbrake
Mercedes CLS Sportbrake
LOOKING back on the 60 plus cars I have road tested during 2013 I found it difficult to say which was the best but it has been possible to say which I most enjoyed and these range from a Mercedes-Benz to a Chevrolet and a Skoda writes Bryan Longworth.

I tested the Chevrolet Trax which is a small SUV available with two or four wheel drive built in South Korea and which is very closely related to the Vauxhall Mokka being a stylish and likeable small SUV for all seasons - Chevrolet claim to have invented the SUV sports utility vehicle 78 years ago.

I mention this first because I was shocked to learn last week that Chevrolet who are part of the General Motors empire and who took over Daewoo several years ago are to withdraw from the UK and other European markets in 2015 because of poor sales figures which will leave their dealers looking for another franchise.

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One of the most stylish and elegant cars I drove was the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake which combined load carrying with a top quality interior superb driving qualities and a perfect example of the new look for cars from the German premium manufacturer with its rival the Jaguar XF Sportbrake also being a memorable drive.

Skoda’s Yeti is a favourite of mine and has proved to be a massive success for the Czech company with the two wheel drive model shod with Continental winter tyres proving that it is virtually as good in snow as the 4x4 model.

It is a perfect example of how VW has turned Skoda from a company producing “joke” cars after the previous communist regime nearly ruined the company to one making some of the best in the world in their various market sectors.

The current crop of electric cars are far too expensive with inadequate mileage ranges of around 100 miles or less to create an impact in the UK and until long range batteries are invented the future is with hybrid petrol or diesel cars linked with electric propulsion such as the Honda Insight which impressed me along with the numerous hybrid cars from Toyota particularly the Auris.

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The Korean car maker Kia has transformed their range of models thanks to their chief designer Peter Schreyer who was formerly with Audi which are now very stylish and top quality with the new Proceed and Ceed especially being good examples of just how far Kia has progressed in the last few years.

Japanese manufacturer Suzuki is also enjoying excellent UK sales which is not surprising because they produce really good quality small cars especially the SX4 which I liked very much.

From Italy Fiat has emerged from a period of lack lustre models to some very desirable small cars such as the iconic 500 which is now a cult car rivalling the Mini along with the 500 Trekking which I have just been testing and is another example of an all weather car without the need of four wheel drive

Finally a car that I really enjoyed was the V40 from Volvo which is the first car in the world to feature a pedestrian airbag with excellent instrumentation and which should do well against premier hatchbacks from their German rivals in particular.

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As I said earlier it is quite difficult stating what is the best car I have driven in the past year or any year but it is much easier to say which is the worst car I have ever driven and without any doubt whatsoever it was the Russian built Moskvich which was withdrawn from tbe UK market over 30 years ago because it was deemed unsafe but amazingly there are still four running around somewhere in the UK!