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
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
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
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!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.