Car testing at Which? combines over 2,000 miles of driving and prolonged periods of time in our testing lab for each car that comes through our doors.
Our experts subject the cars to freezing temperatures and precision measurements, so we know exactly how well each new car stacks up against the opposition.
This thorough Which? Car test has been used for the last five years and, to mark the anniversary, we bring you the top cars for each of the last five years, and those that proved not so accomplished.
Best and worst cars: 2006-2010
Best car: Audi TT 2.0T FSI Coupe
The 2006 Audi TT wasn’t just a big improvement over its predecessor – it moved the TT to the top of the coupé/convertible category. The handling was the biggest improvement, and although bigger, more powerful engines are available, the 2.0FSI stood out for the compromise between performance and running costs.
Worst car: Kia Sedona 2.9 CRDi
A four-star Euro NCAP crash rating put potential customers off this family MPV.
Best car: Honda Jazz 1.4 Sport
This was the last year of the first generation Honda Jazz, and it still stood out as the star car to our testers for the year 2007. Unique folding rears seats made it ideal for transporting bulky objects. It still scores highly now for reliability and owner satisfaction in the Which? Car Survey.
Worst car: Chevrolet Matiz 0.8
Steady progress from the 800cc engine was expected, but the Chevrolet Matiz surprised us with poor high-speed road manners and poor safety equipment and crash protection.
Best car: Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI 170 GTD DSG
The sixth generation of the Volkswagen Golf was more of an evolution of the Mk5, taking a superb base and making small improvements to refine the overall package. When we first tested it at the end of 2008, we found it fast, quiet, comfortable and well equipped. We even liked the DSG semi-automatic gearbox.
Worst car: Chevrolet Aveo 1.2
The Chevrolet Aveo was introduced to challenge in a competitive supermini market, and failed. Sluggish performance, sloppy road manners and a budget interior killed its chances.
Best car: Mazda 3 2.0 Sport I-Stop
The Mk1 Mazda 3 was a Which? Car favourite, but the second coming was even better. Direct and positive steering, safe handling, good acceleration and a slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox bolstered performance. Stop-start helped make it economical, too. The 2.0 Sport I-Stop isn’t the quickest, but equates to great value.
Worst car: Suzuki Alto/Nissan Pixo
Poor three-start Euro NCAP crash ratings didn’t help this Indian-built supermini. Many argued both Suzuki and Nissan didn’t need it in their ranges either, as both had accomplished cars in the category.
Best car: Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI 122
The 1.4 122bhp TSI turbo charged engine was new for 2010. An average mpg figure of 44.8mpg means it’s economic as well as good fun to drive, and its refined looks utter sophistication rather than shouting sport car style.
Worst car: Fiat Panda 1.2 Dynamic
The Panda seemed to have fallen behind competition badly in 2010, with so-so safety and a lot of noise. The slow 1.2 engine did little to help matters either.
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