TopGear Singapore Everyday Specials Awards : Honouring The Best Everyday Cars!
Over here at TopGear Singapore, we absolutely love our cars, be it supercars, super duper cars, or cars for the masses.
While many of you know us for bringing you the very best in supercars and epic drive stories, we also have love for vehicles which are, everyday-relatable. Finding the right car is important, so we set about compiling the best everyday cars, bringing you our very first edition of our TopGear Singapore Everyday Specials Awards.
We had a total of 48 entries, and among these, the Skoda Octavia Combi RS found favour with us, coming out tops. Find out more about that versatile Czech firecracker by clicking on this blue text.
It was a tough decision to find the best everyday cars, and over here, we honour our category winners for being the best cars in their respective classes.
And here they are!
King of the Urban Jungle
Suzuki is known for building interesting small cars, and we know that the very mention of the brand would probably bring the Swift Sport to mind. But Suzuki is also well known for building a small and capable SUV.
While most small SUVs are essentially car-like, Suzuki has stuck to tradition with the Jimny, with roots dating back in the 1970s; by building a modern interpretation of what is a true off-roader. The current Jimny pays homage to its first and second generation predecessors, with a body-on-frame build, and bringing to the table timeless-boxy and rugged styling; which in today’s world with cars trying to look sporty, the Jimny is really quite refreshing.
Its rugged exterior is mirrored by an interior, which is built to be many things, but most of all - robust and purposeful, modern-yet-analogue. Suzuki’s small car manufacturing know-how also comes into play in this cleverly-planned 2+2 seater. There are hard-wearing, easy to clean surfaces here for you, so that you can handle all sorts of precious cargo, in many shapes and forms with confidence.
At the heart of the Jimny, a robust natural-breathing 1.5 litre does a decent job of getting you around. It also prides itself as the only car in its class here to be equipped with a transfer gearbox. On normal days you can happily zip around the streets in 2wd mode; the moment more bite is required, this is where the cheerful Suzuki does its best work. It happily takes on the rugged countryside with ease. Its Hi-Lo 4wd modes ensure that you can get in and out with confidence, when things get boggy-sticky.
When the term hatchback is mentioned, the Volkswagen Golf is probably the first car which comes to mind. After-all, it has often been seen as THE benchmark to emulate.
The 8th generation Golf is now powered by a revised version of the proven EA211 engine. What is new is that it has a lighter crankshaft, Active Cylinder Technology, paired with Mild Hybrid assistance. In sort, the new Volkswagen Golf is more powerful, and more efficient.
There is no-doubt that the German hatchback is well-built from the ground up, and many of us also know that it is designed to handle twists and turns with ease. After all, a Golf is always developed with the iconic GTI in-mind!
But if you are a keen(er) driver, the R-Line version of the hatchback sits even lower, and is equipped with a two-stage sports suspension; all of this with the purpose to sharpen the handling… of an already sharp handling car.
On the inside, a fully-digitised dashboard together with an optimally-positioned infotainment screen greet the owner. Both Apple and Android mobile devices are supported (wirelessly on the R-Line), and to close your music streaming loop, a wireless mobile charging pad comes as standard equipment.
Just as importantly, the Golf is cleverly packaged, accommodating up-to five with ease, and it boasts 381 litres of flexible cargo space.
Mini Cooper S Countryman
Mini’s expertise in building small cars which handle well, is a proven formula that goes back decades. But when Mini went about to build an SUV, they ensured that Mini’s go kart-like handling DNA was built into the car; resulting in an SUV that has that sharp-direct handling, which you can enjoy turn by turn.
While it is chic-yet-rugged looking, the Mini Cooper S also has a sporty side… similar to its smaller siblings. It goes from nothing to 100km/h in 7.4 seconds, courtesy of a 2.0 turbocharged engine, which is paired with a quick-shifting 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
On the inside, the most Maximus Mini is huge on versatility, boasting a 450-litre boot, which can be expanded to 1390 litres. There is also an adjustable boot floor for greater storage flexibility.
But my favourite touch here, It also has its own deployable bench in the boot…. The possibilities are many; from a place to sit while you tie your laces, before going off on your bike; or how about an impromptu picnic… just because!
How is that for versatility with a dose of fun for you?
BMW’s premium hatchback is now a front-driven affair, meaning that you benefit from a better-packaged interior.
This may be BMW’s entry car, but the interior shows nothing of it being entry level. In-fact what you get on the inside matches its larger siblings in quality. The 116i’s engine delivers 109hp and 190Nm, which prices this a Category A COE friendly vehicle - in a time when COEs have become unfriendly.
We already know that the smallest BMW is well equipped, but do you know that It also has arguably the best infotainment system in its class? The Operating System 7 supports both Apple and Android devices, and like the 116i’s larger siblings, it is also voice activated. In-short, you are hardly missing out on features here.
Impress your friends too, by activating the car’s Reversing Assistant… I know you’d like to show off that cool party trick!
Big Everyman Sedans
KIA is known to many of us here as the maker of sensible family transport. So when the Stinger was first introduced, it was quite a refreshing change to what KIA traditionally offered.
The Stinger was developed with inputs from both Peter Schreyer (known for the Audi TT and Volkswagen New Beetle), and Albert Biermannn (the man behind the BMW M3 e46 and 1 Series M), to be the Korean brand’s halo car. What is different is that the Stinger is a rear-driven fastback… which means that it feels alive when you choose to pitch it through a twist, and then a turn… and then another.
The turbocharged 2.0 here produces a healthy 244hp and 353Nm, getting you to 100km/h in 6 seconds. If you have the appetite for more power, the Stinger is also available with a twin-turbocharged 3.3 litre V6. The latter gets the full works of features, which includes an adaptive suspension, a limited slip differential and uprated brakes.
To us, the Stinger is about two things - size, and affordable rear-driven driving fun.
The “The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection” Lexus mantra, is one which the Japanese luxury brand takes seriously.
When Lexus went on to revamp their IS Sedan, they felt they needed that their facelifted sedan had to be even stiffer. Lexus went on to employ laser screw welding and some 25 metres of adhesive when building the sedan’s chassis. Not only was its chassis stiffer, the Lexus IS returned with a wider track. Lexus had also fed in a revised suspension, employing the use of new swing valve shock absorbers. The resulting work meant that the IS truly won us over, turn-after-turn…
The IS may feel like an outright driver’s car, but as a hybrid, it is also easy on fuel consumption.
Seven in Comfort
If you are a family person, and perhaps… you would like to have your car… I mean cake and eat it, the KIA Sorento Hybrid might just be the SUV for you.
The KIA SUV is built from the ground-up to carry up to seven passengers, and on normal days, it functions like how an urban SUV should - spacious, and loaded with comfort and tech features.
And what do we know about a well-specced Korean car? It really is loaded with features that include ventilated electric front seats, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android auto, wireless mobile charging, a ventilated third row; and for the driver, Smart Cruise Control… the list goes on-and-on.
The 1.6 litre turbocharged hybrid drivetrain produces a total of 227hp and 350Nm, and earns itself a VES A2 rating. What is important here is that even for its size, the Sorento Hybrid does 5.5l/100km combined. Traffic jams are not going to leave a hole in your pocket, as that the electrification bit in the SUV significantly reduces start-stop fuel consumption.
Green N’ Active
MG has a clear focus on introducing electric vehicles. They re-entered Singapore, fielding three vehicles, two of them which are EVs. One of these is the MG ZS.
If you are keen to make it a point to drive greener, it is among the most affordable you can purchase today. One of the main reasons is because The MG ZS qualifies for a Category A COE, since it has 143hp.
The ZS’s interior is well put-together, featuring soft-touch surfaces, and an equally well-put-together cabin. Also, it has sufficient equipment to keep you happily entertained and connected, which includes an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The 72kWh long range battery ensures that the MG ZS EV has a range of 440km.
We had an entertaining time finding the right car for this category. Eventually, the MG 5 emerged as our winner here. It is the only everyday estate car here, which is also an EV. This means that the MG 5 is a greener alternative for hauling more. It has a 495-litre boot with an adjustable floor, just so that you have added flexibility.
The MG 5 feels solidly screwed-together from the ground up, and it drives impressively well too. It also has active safety and convenience built in, namely its Forward Collision System and Adaptive Cruise Control.
If you need more utility space than usual, or want extra room for your pups, you’d be glad to know that the MG 5 does all of that with ease.
The electrified MG estate has a practical range of around 400km between charges, meaning that you can go the distance, with confidence. And you know… we know… that the running cost for an EV is lower.
That's it for Volume 1 of TopGear Singapore Everyday Specials! We shall see you next year!