Awards 2012 : The best of the best

Despite a gloomy economic outlook for 2012, these are exciting times for car enthusiasts, with the best cars at your fingertips for surprisingly little money.

Enjoy the best new, used and classic cars – as well as an amazing online experience in the New Year!

AROnline reader new car of the year

You voted the Evoque as your favourite new British car going into 2012. And rightly so.
You voted the Evoque as your favourite new British car going into 2012. And rightly so.

We’ve already revealed the Range Rover Evoque as your choice for 2012. What was encouraging for Longbridge was that the MG6 finished second ahead of some stunning alternatives… including the British-as-pie-and-chips McLaren MP4-12C. You guys clearly know what you like…

Classic car of the year

Birthday boy BMC 1100 is our classic car of the year
Birthday boy BMC 1100 is our classic car of the year

The predictable choice for 2012 should be the MGB, but we don’t think that Abingdon’s ubiquitous sports car will need much, if any, help from us. So, instead, we’ll plump for another MG… but also Austin, Morris, Wolseley, Riley and Vanden Plas – the BMC 1100/1300. This car was a UK best-seller for 10 years following its launch 50 years ago in 1962. And rightly so – being handsome, useful and a hoot to drive. These cars need far more recognition and we hope that, in their birthday year, they’ll get just that.

Used car of the year

Our used car of the year, 2012
Our used car of the year, 2012

UK used car values moved interestingly in 2011, and as rising fuel prices and shrinking disposable incomes will place increasing focus on small, economical cars in 2012. And that means that perfectly usable mid-sized saloons are languishing absolutely nowhere – and for that reason it’s hard to ignore the Rover 75/MG ZT 1.8-litre as a perfectly rational used car choice given current values. We know what you’re thinking – dodgy head gaskets, troublesome clutches and iffy reliability. But you’d be dead wrong for such negativity.

Yes, an abused and neglected 75 is a sad and sorry thing, but for very little money, you can pick up a great example, and there’s all the know-how you’ll ever need out there to get it running as it should – reliably – if things go wrong. Also, and amazingly for a car that will probably be registered in the 21st century, DIY is a reasonable proposition. And finally – 35-40mpg is a real possibility – and in true luxury (Rover form), or with beautiful handling (as an MG). Go on, you know it makes sense – and for well under a grand…


Website, forum or community of the year

Aside from AROnline, which was reborn better than ever in 2011, the best car sites going into 2012 remain Jalopnik, Autoblog, China Car Times and Team-BHP. Honourable mention should go to the MacDroitwich forum, which despite being created to discredit this site, is an interesting place where you can see some of the funniest, weirdest and strangest people poking the rest of the Internet with a sharp and rusty stick. Smaller forums as a whole are dying a slow and uncomfortable death, as users move towards social networking and commenting, but this one refuses to die.

Winner, though, is Sniff Petrol, which for more than 10 years has delivered top quality automotive satire and humour. And going into 2012, its creator Richard Porter continues to tend and feed it as well as ever. All we need now is for MG Motor UK to employ his services to create some memorable MG6 adverts. Come on Birmingham, make it happen!

Keith Adams


  1. Well at least people can speak about the MSG6 without fear of a banning, thread lock and tidy up occurring all for less that £12

  2. @Jonos1984 On a post on the website’s forum I noticed that MSG6 had been typed in instead of MG6every time. Is this intentional or is it an autocorrect issue? May search MSG6 on Google and see what exactly it is. On the subject of MG, I think it will take a lot to make any Chinese MG a success next year, and I certainly hope there is not so much news of horribly clichéd secrets and dreadfully low sales accompanying the MG6 diesel and the MG3, or should I say MSG3.

  3. MacDroitwich simply recognises the Chinese heritage of the old MG brand and wishes to show this by naming it after one of the chief ingredients of a Chinese take away, MSG. Also the MSG3 is the MSGFLEA

  4. Shame that didn’t get a mention, but totally understand as it now seems to be veering toward being an ANTI-enthusiasts’ site. The amount of abuse (and there is one particular member who is good at this, and threatening posts) I got for complaining about the Mini destruction on TG was unbelievable. To actually champion the destruction of a car the site is supposed to be ‘entusiastic’ about just smacked of blatant hypocrisy. At least McDroitwich seems to be honest about its agenda.

  5. @Paul

    I cannot in any conscience award a pay website (that also runs sponsorship) a reader award. Forums are created by readers, so why does a site owner then profit from their input?

  6. Get in there Keef. Might I add that any site which sensors it’s content due to pressure from a private company shouldn’t be eligible for an award

  7. To be fair, you can find out how to fit Lexus lights to a “bubble” and get a bit of a discount off a Hyundai on .org. And all for just 12 quid in the Rev’s collection plate.

    However i think somebody ought to tidy this comment and lock it.

  8. Well the customer service is great. I mean how many people would have loved to treat Childs like the C**T that he is and they done it for us for FREE

  9. We got a version of the 1100/1300 here in the States called the “Austin America.” I also worked for a guy back in the day that had the MG sport sedan version, so a few of those made it over here as well.

    Sadly these interesting cars did not hold up well under American driving conditions and are virtually unknown here today. The automatic transmission in particular, for those so equipped, generally did not even last the warranty period.

    Even for those cars whose drivetrains held up, terminal rust took them down in short order. It has been many years since I’ve seen one on the road here.

  10. @ Keith

    I totally agree, and my comment was meant to be praise for not including it.

    I cancelled my ‘supporter’ subscription (didn’t see why I needed to pay just to get to display an avatar…) and unsuccessfully tried to cancel my registration as it now holds no further useful purpose for me. It seems to be populated by thugs, bullies, and trolls who gang up on and abuse anyone who does not share their neanderthal DNA. We have had a couple on here in the past year but they seem to have drifted away as no-one takes them on or rises to the bait.

  11. I like* the latest stance on .cult, whereby it’s an enthusiasts site and therefore you can’t have a negative opinion about the MSG6, MG or SAIC. You MUST OBEY REVEREND CHILDS, ARCHDEACON DIESEL LICKER AND THE HOLY UTTERINGS OF THE CHURCH OF LONGBRIDGE LEST YOU BE CAST ASSUNDER FROM THE JOYOUS CONGREGATION.

  12. Jonathan Carling – Comment 5

    Couldn’t agree more!

    My 53 plate 1.8 Club SE has been totally reliable after initial head gasket troubles. Only a couple of weeks ago when it was in for service the mechanic remarked what good overall condition it was in.

    Treated her to a thorough wash and wax this morning – looks magnificent. A truely beautiful car for very modest money.

  13. I am sure if there was an open vote, Aronline would win the best site – there is nothing like it on the web. This is the daddy.


  14. I have used Rimmer Bros this year, I needed a cam sprocket with no counterweight for a LR 3.9 V8 (serpentine belt engine and also has a cam shaft retainer plate, unlike the preceeding 3.9 engine), the first supplier sent me a similar yet incorrect part with counterweight. None the less Rimmers were able to open the box on the shelf, confirm it was the correct variation, then helped me make the best use of my international freight charges over the phone. all in all I was very very happy with their customer focus: thanks alex

  15. Will defiantly be looking into a pre facelift 75 in the new year, will be calling on all you guys for guidance 😀

  16. I second the vote for Rimming Bros. Their P&P may be a little on the salty side, but they are genuinely helpful and knowledgeable people who carry a massive stock of bits. Such a business needs our support and custom I feel…

  17. Mike Humble, 22

    Mike, as I’ve already noted, we have the same 75 model – the 1.8 Club SE. Our cars are of similar age and even the same colour!

    I’ve looked after my car well but not made the tweaks you have – torpedo badges etc.

    I have now enjoyed a total of 18,500 Rover 75 miles. Of these miles, 13,000 have been post new head gasket and totally trouble free. Hope your car proves equally reliable – no reason to believe it won’t.

  18. No, thinking about it, it’s more like 14,000 miles since the head gasket was sorted. It was last Christmas when it blew in dramatic fashion. A certain Peter Jones of Birkenhead performed a heroic rescue and had my car ready for collection all within Christmas week!!

  19. @ David

    You bloody gobshite, youv’e said it now. Make sure you sling a gallon of water into the boot!

    If mine goes pop `an all, I`’ll track you down and clip your ear!


  20. @MayfairPlayer “Sniff petrol stopped being funny back in 2006”

    Yeah – but at least the Rover 75 is still hilarious 🙂

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