Top 14 best cars of 2019
Knowing what car to buy can often be difficult, there are so many on the market it’s hard to know what the best cars of 2019 are, and more importantly, what will fit your needs.
Many models offer similar practicality and can even look the same across different brands. What used to be an easy choice has now become a hair-splitting decision.
We’ve gone through every category of car and picked what we think are the top two best cars of 2019 for each, from crossovers and SUVs to sports cars, there’s something for everyone here in our round up of the best cars for 2019.
Our best cars of 2019 include:
- Hyundai i10
- Kia Picanto
- Volkswagen Golf
- Ford Focus
- Alfa Romeo Giulia
- Volvo S60
- Peugeot 3008
- Volvo XC40
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Vauxhall Combo Life
- Ford S-Max
- Abarth 124 Spider
- Porsche Cayman
Best city cars of 2019
A city car is an ideal town runabout, cheap to maintain, tax, fuel and insure they make the perfect second car in the family.
1. Hyundai i10
If you’re after a city car on a budget, look no further than Hyundai’s i10. This dinky little Korean hatchback ticks all the right boxes when it comes to small town runabouts.
Available in five-door only form, prices start at just £9,325, and that includes the fantastic 5-year unlimited warranty with roadside assistance.
There are five trim levels to pick from, ‘S’, ‘SE’, ‘Play’, ‘Premium’ and ‘Premium SE’.
Standard kit is on the sparse side in the cheapest model, ideally, look to buy the mid-range ‘PLAY’ or above to gain the little luxuries that have become necessities these days – Apple CarPlay or Android Auto being one of them.
You can pick from two different petrol engines, either a 1.0 litre with 66 BHP or a 1.2 with 85 BHP. The latter can be had in either a manual or automatic, something rare in the small city car segment.
Rear seat space is more suited to children, adults will struggle, while boot space measures in at 252 litres – one of the largest in the city car segment, and plenty big enough for the weekly shop.
Price: Starting from £9,325
- Automatic option
- 5-year warranty
- Basic lower-spec models
- No autonomous safety features
2. Kia Picanto
Another Korean entrant in the city car class, Kia’s Picanto offers fresher looks and a longer warranty than Hyundai can muster.
Kia’s Picanto is available in either three or five-door form and has a seven-year 100,000-mile warranty. Prices start at £10,045.
There are three petrol engines to choose from, a 1.0 litre with 66 BHP, 1.25 litre producing 83 BHP and a 1.0-litre turbo T-GDi model – the most powerful making 99 BHP. The 1.25 litre can be specced as either a manual or automatic.
Kia offers a healthy range of trim levels starting with the most basic ‘1’ model, then moving to ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘GT-Line’, ‘GT-Line S’ and ‘Titanium Edition’. Both ‘1’ and ‘2’ can be a little bit basic, aim for the newer ‘Titanium Edition’ as it adds a reversing camera and a 7” touchscreen.
There’s also a ruggedised ‘X-Line’ version which gives some off-roading looks and healthy kit levels. You can upgrade to the ‘X-Line S’ to add all the toys you could ever wish for, but it comes at a premium – £14,545.
Again, rear-seat legroom is minimal for adults, but kids will do just fine. Boot space measures in at 255 litres, even bigger than the Hyundai i10.
Price: Starting from £10,045
- Fresh, modern looks
- Automatic available
- Choice of three engines
- No forward collision assist
- Engines a little noisy
Best hatchback cars of 2019
C-Segment hatchbacks as they’re known are a great middle ground between a smaller hatch like a Polo or a Clio and a large saloon car. Most offer the same practicality as a saloon in terms of boot space, just less rear seat legroom, which is fine for kids or occasional passengers.
1. Volkswagen Golf
Heading up our top hatchback is the Volkswagen Golf, naturally. A bastion of build quality, reliability and affordability, it has placed high for many years.
This latest edition is no exception, dubbed the mark 8 it builds on the foundations of the Mk7.5 facelift, but with a much-lifted interior throughout.
Now available in five-door only form little is known about the trim line up, we do however know what engines will be powering this new Golf.
An entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI engine will have 89 BHP, with a 109 BHP model also in the offing. Then there’s a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 129 and 148 BHP.
A single 114 BHP, 2.0 litre diesel, will be available in either manual or automatic.
A selection of 48V mild-hybrid eTSI engines couple a 48V battery and starter motor directly to a seven-speed DSG gearbox, power produced is 109, 129 and 148 BHP. The mild-hybrid setup should reduce fuel consumption by 10%.
Volkswagen will also produce a 201 BHP eHybrid plug-in version along with a TGI natural gas model, neither will be coming to UK shores though.
Lastly, the most powerful model, for now, a 241 BHP GTE plug-in hybrid combines a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine with a 13 kWh battery, that’s 50% more than the last-gen GTE.
Inside is where the most significant change has happened, a large 10-inch infotainment screen is now standard and is paired with a 10.25” digital cockpit, this displays all your dials.
Inside is an eSIM which enables over the air software updates, streaming, traffic info and even Amazon Alexa.
Boot capacity on the old model was 380 litres, the Mk8 should be around the same.
- Unrivalled tech
- Wide engine choice
- Looks the same as the last generation
2. Ford Focus
Ford fielded their latest hatchback offering earlier last year, ahead of VW and the upcoming new Golf, but that doesn’t mean they’ve fallen behind.
Now in its fourth generation, the Focus starts from £18,545, with the range-topping ‘Vignale’ costing £26,145. There’s also the hot hatch ‘ST’ version costing £29,495.
There are nine trim levels to choose from in total, including the new ‘Active’ and ‘Active X’ models. These offer off-road looks with some soft-roading abilities enabling some tame weekend adventuring.
You can pick between a 1.0 litre EcoBoost with 123 BHP or a 1.5 litre that makes 148 BHP. Two diesel options are also available, a 1.5-litre EcoBlue with 118 BHP and a 2.0 litre model with 148 horses. Any of the engines can be manual or automatic.
Rear seat space is more than comfortable for two adults on a long journey, Ford has really excelled with the legroom in the new Focus. At the very back boot space measures in at 375 litres, which is just 5 less than the outgoing VW Golf.
Price: Starting at £18,545
- Good looks
- Lots of interior space
- Healthy engine choice
- Range-topping models are expensive
- Average engine performance
Best saloon cars of 2019
Saloon cars are a dying breed, crossovers seem to be killing them off in ever greater numbers, yet they still serve a purpose and are the alternative choice for a businessman who needs to move his family around at weekends.
1. Alfa Romeo Giulia
Possibly a bit of an odd choice for best sedan, but the Giulia can rival the BMW 3 Series when it comes to driving dynamics.
You have to take the Alfa with a pinch of salt, it’s maybe not quite there in terms of its infotainment or dash materials compared to BMW’s offering, but you have to look past that.
There are four engine choices, two 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engines with either 200 or 280 BHP, followed by two 2.2 litre diesels that produce either 160 or 190 BHP. All are 8-speed automatics, there aren’t any manuals here.
As with the 3 Series, the Giulia is rear-wheel drive, there’s no option of all-wheel drive here as there are with BMW’s X-Drive offerings.
Five trim levels cover all the bases, but specific engines are tied to each model. So the most potent 280 HP version can only be selected with the ‘Veloce’ or ‘Veloce TI’ model, this can raise prices rather a lot.
Prices start at £33,595 for the ‘Super’ trim fitted with the 160 BHP diesel engine, at the top of the range the ‘Veloce TI’ with the 2.0 litre 280 BHP petrol engine costs £45,995.
Handling is top-notch, the Giulia is a car for those that like to drive, just make sure you go for the most powerful petrol model if you want to zoom it down a B-road now and then.
Those rear doors are pretty small, and the back of the Giulia is also on the cramped side. Children will fit fine, but an adult on a long journey would end up rather uncomfortable.
Boot space measures in at 480 litres which is the same as its BMW and Mercedes rivals.
Price: Starts at £33,595
- Unique saloon looks
- You won’t see many on the roads
- Wide engine choice
- Interior feels a little dated
- Trim levels linked to engine
2. Volvo S60
Volvo have finally updated their baby saloon, the S60. This latest iteration takes the fight right to BMW and Mercedes, build quality is top-notch with prices matching the German marques offerings.
Starting at £38,285 the S60 is available in three different trims, ‘R-Design’, ‘Inscription’ and ‘Polestar Engineered’. There are just two engines to pick from, a T5 with 250 HP or a T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid which is all-wheel drive and has 390 HP.
Trim levels are linked to engine choice, so be careful what you choose.
Although the S60 has a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, the 250 HP feels more sluggish than the Alfa Romeo and the BMW 330i. Mostly this is down to the second or so of lag in the eight-speed automatic gearbox.
If you want performance the plug-in hybrid is the way to go, it will hit 60 from stationary in under five seconds, but you can use the EV range for commuting as there’s a healthy 22 miles to play with. Using both the petrol and electric powerplant, combined range is a massive 550 miles.
A firm ride doesn’t help the S60’s dynamic abilities as it leans and dislikes rapid changes in direction. It’s no Giulia. Engine noise is also well insulated, but road noise can be quite prominent on the motorway.
Rear seat space is on par with the Giulia, a six-footer will be brushing their hair on the ceiling. Boot capacity comes in at 442 litres, which is more than the Audi A3 and BMW 3 Series.
Price: Starting from £38,285
- Stylish design
- Great interior
- Limited engine choice
- Handling isn’t sporty
Best crossover cars of 2019
Ah, the arch nemesis to the saloon car. Crossovers offer a higher driving position which makes drivers and passengers feel safer than in a low down saloon car. Size wise they’re roughly the same, but crossovers have become the family wagons of the moment.
1. Peugeot 3008
Peugeot has been on to a winner with the 3008 since its launch, far outselling their original estimates. With prices starting at just £25,865, you can see why.
There are five trim levels on offer, ‘Active’, ‘Allure’, ‘GT Line’, ‘GT Line Premium’ and range-topping ‘GT’ which starts at £37,835.
Three engines are available, a 130 BHP 1.2-litre petrol with either a manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox, a 1.5 litre and a 2.0-litre diesel with 130 or 180 BHP respectively.
There’s also a new hybrid engine which can be specced in two or four-wheel drive, pure EV range is 40 miles for the four-wheel-drive version, 25 for the two-wheel.
Inside is where the 3008 really shines, the cockpit looks like nothing else on the SUV market. Modern with a practical twist, the ‘piano’ keys allow you to switch quickly between the different infotainment options, while the small steering wheel makes the crossover feel light and nimble.
Rear seat leg and headroom is good for two or even three adults at a push, while boot space measures 520 litres, which bests the Nissan Qashqai by nearly 90 litres.
Price: Starting from £25,865
- Modern external looks
- Plenty of trim levels
- Limited engine choice
- Upper trim levels expensive
2. Volvo XC40
Slightly smaller than a typical family-sized crossover, the XC40 is another winner from Volvo. Its smooth Swedish lines are like no other crossover out there.
In fact, it’s won a slew of awards, 2019 What Car Car Of The Year, 2018 Autocar Game Changer and European Car Of The Year 2018.
Six trim levels start at £28,965 for the ‘Momentum’, ‘Momentum Pro’ an upgrade at £30,515, £30,815 for ‘R-Design’ or £32,715 for ‘R-Design Pro’, ‘Inscription’ starts at £31,165 and ‘Inscription Pro’ tops the range at £32,715.
In total there are three petrol engines, a T3 petrol with 163 BHP, a T4 with 190 BHP and a T5 with 247 horses. A T5 Twin Engine has 260 BHP and is the most powerful, combining the frugality of an EV with the performance of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
Diesel’s include a 150 BHP D3 and 190 BHP D4. There’s a breakdown of automatic, manual, front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive across the board, making the XC40 incredibly granular.
Rear seat space is less than you’ll find in a family-sized crossover, but it’s still more than the Range Rover Evoque which is impressive considering the XC40’s size. Three adults can sit across the rear in relative comfort.
Boot space is an impressive 460 litres, which is more than the Audi Q3, but a little less than the BMW X1 which boasts 505 litres.
Price: Starting from £28,965
- Stylish looks
- High build quality throughout
- Lots of engine & drivetrain choice
- Pure EV version on the way
- Expensive compared to the competition
- Many trim levels can be confusing
Best 4×4 cars of 2019
4×4’s offer the piece of mind that when the going gets tough you can still get to where you want to go, and be safe doing so. Whether that’s rain, sleet, mud or snow, a 4×4 offers far more grip in all weather conditions.
1. Land Rover Discovery Sport
Land Rovers Discovery Sport was always a bit of let down, it carried across some of the shaky handling that had marred the Freelander, it also didn’t have that touch of luxury you expect when you buy into the Land Rover brand.
That’s all changed with this new model, even though it looks similar to the outgoing one, it is in fact totally new.
Prices start at £31,575 for the entry-level model, there are seven trims to pick from in total, ranging from ‘S’, ‘SE’, ‘HSE’ then there are the higher level R-Dynamic versions, which are also labelled ‘S’, ‘SE’ and ‘HSE’.
R-Dynamic prices start from £41,075 and reach £47,525, while the regular versions range from the entry-level price to £46,025.
In total there are five engines to pick from, the D150 and D180 are the same engine just tuned to different power outputs – the number denotes the amount of horses on offer. There’s also a more powerful D240 model, the most potent diesel offering.
Two petrol’s finish off the range, either with 200 or 250 HP. Some are only available with certain trim levels, so you’ll have to pick and choose if you want a specific engine. The same goes for two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.
Rear seat legroom is huge if you slide the rear bench all the way to the back. There’s another row of seats in all but the lower-powered D150 models, this row is pretty cramped with head and legroom being tight.
Boot space is a vast 829 litres, which grows to 981 if you slide the middle row forward.
Price: Starting from £31,575
- Vastly improved ride quality
- Premium interior
- Looks very similar to the old model
- D150 engines are lacklustre
2. Skoda Kodiaq
Skoda’s long-awaited move into the large SUV segment was worth the wait, with the Kodiaq winning a ton of awards since it went on sale in 2017.
As with the Discovery Sport, you can pick between five and seven seat options, there’s around a £900 price difference in doing so with prices starting at £26,140 for the ‘SE’ starting model.
There are seven trims to pick from ‘SE’, ‘SE L’, ‘Edition’, ‘Scout’, ‘Sportline’, ‘L&K’ and range-topping ‘VRS’ for £44,000.
Engine choice varies on the model you pick, the higher up the range, the less choice you have. A 1.5-litre TSI petrol with 148 BHP is the starting point, but a 2.0-litre petrol is also available with 188 BHP.
There are two 2.0 litre diesels with the same amount of power on offer, these can also be had in manual or automatic with two-wheel drive and 4×4 as an option.
The 2.0-litre diesel engines are the best as they combine smoothness with enough power and torque to make the Kodiaq feel nimble. Pick carefully, and the big Skoda can be incredibly good value, just avoid the top of the range models as they become too pricey.
Boot space measures in at 835 litres in five seat configuration, while if all seven seats are up you’ll get 270 litres.
Price: Starting from £26,140
- Affordable seven-seater
- Great interior fit and finish
- Granular options and spec
- Engine choice limited to trim
- Kia Sorento offers more practicality
Best MPV cars of 2019
MPV’s are the go-to vehicle if you have a lot of family members you need to lug around. Most offer the ability to carry seven, although the rearmost seats are often cramped and uncomfy. They make great cars for five with enough room for all your luggage.
1. Vauxhall Combo Life
Van based people carriers have been around for a good few years now, Vauxhall’s Combo Life offering is probably one of the best on the market today.
Yes, it looks like the Combo van it’s based on, there’s no escaping that. But with prices beginning at £21,340 it’s hard to argue with the value for money on offer.
Seven seater models start at £23,040, and there are six trim levels to pick from, not all are seven seater, but the difference in price between five and seven seat models is around £500.
Range-topping ‘Elite XL’ costs £39,430 but has literally everything you could ever wish for on it.
Engine choice is limited, there are just two 1.2 litre three-cylinder petrol models, with either 108 BHP or 128 BHP, and two 1.5 litre diesel’s with either 98 BHP or 128 BHP. Gearboxes include a five or six-speed manual with an eight-speed ‘auto also available on specific models.
Trim level is linked to what engine and gearbox you can pick, with the top-spec ‘Elite’ allowing far greater choice.
The Combo Life is incredibly comfy to drive, it soaks up lumps and bumps with ease, and while the three-cylinder engines may sound small they get you up to speed without issue.
There are tons of helpful optional extras available, from opening rear tailgate glass to a three-pin mains socket if you so require. You can also add a head-up display and trick off-road modes that use the Combo’s ABS system to help you in mud or sand.
Space is in abundance in the Combo life, with even the very back row giving superb headroom thanks to the Vauxhall’s height.
That means boot space is also a healthy 850 litres with five seats, but fold those down, and you get up to 2,700 litres – returning the Combo life to its van roots.
Price: Starting from £21,340
- Incredibly cheap
- Decent build quality
- Lots of optional extras
- Looks like a van
- Limited colours
2. Ford S-Max
Fords S-Max is like the Galaxy in a catsuit, it pitches lower, sportier looks with almost the same practicality as its bigger brother.
Prices are rather high to start with, but all offer seven seat practicality, something larger families dearly need. £30,500 will get you an entry-level ‘Zetec’ model, then there’s ‘Titanium’, ‘ST-Line’ and range-topping ‘Vignale’ is £40,660.
There’s just the one engine to pick from, a 2.0-litre diesel with 187 BHP coupled with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Interestingly the S-Max can be optioned with all-wheel drive, which is ideal for country and winter driving.
As with all seven seaters, the third row is a little cramped, but the two rear rows can slide forward to balance out the legroom for all. If you regularly need to transport seven the Galaxy is probably a better bet.
In five-seat form the S-Max has a sizeable 700-litre boot, this expands to 2,000 litres with both sets of seats either removed or folded flat. With all seven seats in place, the boot space shrinks to 285 litres.
Price: Starting from £30,500
- Better looking than the Galaxy
- All-wheel drive option is nice to have
- A little less roomy than a Galaxy
- High starting price
Best sports cars of 2019
If you want to go fast, attract attention and love driving, sports cars are for you. You’ll find them both in coupe, or convertible form, from high end Porsche’s to the likes of Mazda, there’s a sports car for nearly every budget.
1. Abarth 124 Spider
When it comes to sports cars, you might think the Mazda MX-5 should make it to this list, but the Italians have taken the Japanese cabrio and improved it no end.
Yes, the Abarth Spider is a re-bodied Mazda MX-5, but the tweaks to the engine, suspension and exhaust make it the car that the MX-5 should have been all along.
Sadly, as of April 2019 FCA – Fiat and Abarth’s parent company, have put a hold on UK imports of both Spider models, so you’ll either have to find a second hand one, or a rare dealership model that hasn’t yet been sold.
A 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine gives the Abarth Spider a far more potent 168 BHP, match that with the ‘Record Monza’ exhaust system and you’re greeted with pops and bangs whenever you change up or down a gear.
There are Bilstein dampers at each corner and a rear differential to help get that power down in the corners. There’s also the option of both a manual and automatic gearbox.
It might be the left-field choice, but the Abarth 124 Spider stands out from the crowd and picks up on all the elements Mazda forgot to address with the MX-5.
Price: Used, starting from £16,000
- Striking looks
- Great soundtrack
- Punchy engine
- Not currently for sale new
- No hardtop version
2. Porsche Cayman
If you’re after the sweetest, most perfectly balanced sportscar on sale at the moment then end your search now. The Porsche Cayman is a precision instrument like no other.
Prices start at £44,790 for the entry-level model, with the more powerful Cayman ‘S’ costing £54,000. There’s a more driver-focussed ‘T’ model at £52k and the ‘GTS’ which can hit 62 MPH from stationary in 4.9 seconds is £61,000.
Porsche have also just released a race-inspired GT4 version, it features several chassis tweaks many taken from the 911 GT3 model. A larger 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine makes 414 BHP, the GT4 costs a cool £75,348.
But you don’t need to fork out that much to experience the beautiful balance and poise of the Cayman. The entry-level model with its modest 296 BHP is easily enough power for everyday use.
It may be the baby Porsche and even cheaper than the Boxster, but it’s the best handling sports coupe on the market hands down.
Price: Starting from £44,790
- Superb handling
- Great balance
- The entry-level model is the purest
- Everything is optional
- Prices climb incredibly quickly
There we have it, our top cars for 2019 cover everything from small city cars to sports coupes and all that’s in between. We’ve managed to fit a range of budgets, but even so, you’ll be able to find all these models on the used market as well, where you could save yourself thousands.
None of these best cars of 2019 take your fancy?
Don’t worry, we have a ton of other guides that delve into each niche to pick the top 10 of each, take a look for yourself.