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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 12:01 GMT
Car of the year is simple run-around
Seat Ibiza
First What Car? Car of the Year award for Seat
The Seat Ibiza - a simple run-around - has beaten luxury rivals to be named "Car of the Year 2003".

It's a great day for car buyers when so little money buys so much car

Rob Aherne, What Car?

Motoring magazine What Car? praised the car, which costs just under £8,500, for its sporting looks and youthful appeal.

The car was also commended for fuel efficiency, the low cost to insure and four-star rating in crash tests.

In winning this year's award it beat off competition from Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and Audi.

Safe Renaults

Seat cars are already the market leader in Spain, but the Volkswagen-owned company has increased UK sales by more than 30% in the past two years.

Award winners
Best Budget Car: Hyundai Getz 1.1 GSi 5dr
Best Supermini: Seat Ibiza 1.2 12v 5
Best Small Hatch: Toyota Corolla 1.6 VVTi T3 5dr
Best Family Car: Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 LS 5dr
Best Estate Car: Mazda 6 2.0S Diesel (119bhp)
Best MPV Vauxhall: Zafira 1.6 16v Design
Best Hot Hatch: Honda Civic Type-R
Best Convertible: Volkswagen Beetle 1.6 Convertible
Best Coupé: Audi TT Quattro 1.8T (225)
Best Performance Car: BMW M3 Coupé
Best Roadster: Vauxhall VX220
Best Supercar: Porsche 911
Best 4x4: Volvo XC90 D5 S Geartronic
Best Compact: Executive Audi A4 1.9 TDi (130) SE
Best Executive Car: Mercedes-Benz E270 CDi Classic auto
Best Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz S320 CDi
Safety Award: Renault
Security Award: Lexus
Car of the Year Seat Ibiza 1.2 12v 5dr

Its Ibiza 1.2 12v 5-door beat competition from the Honda Civic, Porsche 911 Turbo, Toyota Corolla and the Vauxhall Zafira, to take the prize.

What Car? editor Rob Aherne said: "It's a great day for car buyers when so little money buys so much car.

"The Ibiza may be cheap to buy, fuel and insure, but spending so little no longer means cutting corners."

The Ibiza was one of seven new category winners chosen by the judging panel this year.

Others include the latest Vauxhall Vectra (Family Car), the new Mercedes E-class (Executive Car), the Hyundai Getz (Budget Car), Volvo's XC90 (4x4), the Volkswagen Beetle (Convertible) and the Mazda 6 in the Estate category.

Renault won the Safety award for having three cars that earned a maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests.

Lexus once again won the award for most secure car, and it won the Security award after three models got 100% scores in the magazine's annual theft-protection tests.

See also:

02 Sep 02 | Business
30 Apr 02 | Moneybox
11 Feb 01 | Business
05 Feb 02 | Business
05 Sep 02 | Business
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