Our latest round of car tests has uncovered two new Don’t Buy cars. Keep reading to see how this newest batch of vehicles from big-name manufacturers fared.
All five cars featured here are five-door models. Kia is represented by the Picanto and Rio hatchbacks. There are also two takes on larger family cars, in the form of the Toyota C-HR and Renault Grand Scénic.
For the environmentally conscious looking for more room, there is the full-size Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV. It claims incredibly low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. But is it really a sensible choice, and does it maintain Volvo’s reputation for safety?
Only models with excellent safety credentials, great fuel economy and drive, convenience and low emissions get the coveted Which? Best Buy status. Find out whether any of the latest models made the grade through the links below, and discover the two Don’t Buy cars.
Looking to head straight to our recommendations? Head over to our top cars to buy in 2018.
The Picanto comes in a broad choice of trim levels and is available with a healthy amount of sophisticated tech. Bluetooth connectivity and a reversing camera are found on high-spec models.
Despite being the same size on the outside as the previous model, the new Picanto has got more passenger and luggage space inside.
As with all Kia models, it also comes with a highly tempting industry-leading seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
However, this Kia is a Don’t Buy. This is because certain versions of the Kia Picanto only have a three-star Euro NCAP safety rating. If you get the cheapest standard model, you won’t get the important safety features that boost its safety rating to the full five stars. These include autonomous emergency braking, which significantly decreases your chances of an accident on the road.
If you buy your Kia Picanto second-hand, it could be difficult for you to know whether the model you’re buying lacks this optional safety pack. Safety is our top priority at Which?, so can we recommend the Kia Picanto? Find out in our Kia Picanto review.
Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid
The Volvo XC90 T8 is the plug-in hybrid version of its popular XC90 full-size SUV. The T8 has both a 314bhp petrol engine and a 81bhp electric motor, and yet still manages to fit in the third row of seats that make the XC90 a convenient and spacious seven-seater.
This Volvo is versatile, allowing you to run on electric motor alone – which could be useful for short commutes. It has a claimed range of up to 24 miles, but can be slowly topped up when driving at higher speed, such as on the motorway.
You can also leave it in hybrid mode and let the car choose the most efficient way of using both the electric and petrol motors, which might be the convenient option and make the battery last for longer between changes from the mains.
But is it really possible to make an environmentally friendly SUV? And is it really sensible to lug around a petrol engine while driving in all-electric mode?
Find out whether the Volvo XC90 really is a strong eco-option in our Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid review.
An unusual family car for those looking for something different, the Toyota C-HR is a striking-looking SUV that aims to put to bed the notion that Toyota’s cars look boring.
The C-HR stands for ‘Coupé High Rider’. It’s not really a coupé nor genuinely high-riding, but another distinctive take in the increasingly burgeoning crossover-SUV segment, coming in a size and price between the Nissan Juke and Nissan Qashqai.
It’s offered in hybrid and conventional petrol forms, with an impressive five-year/100,000-mile warranty. The Toyota C-HR is a compact SUV rivalling the similarly funky-looking Nissan Juke, and is aimed at style-conscious buyers.
Toyota offers an impressive range of tech even in the basic level, including adaptive cruise control, DAB digital radio, dual-zone climate control and lots of safety gear.
All trim levels also come standard with alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen and reversing camera. It also comes with Toyota’s ‘Safety Sense’ package, which includes lane-assist and autonomous emergency braking.
But does the focus on style compromise it in other areas, and can it maintain Toyota’s reputation for utterly dependable cars?
Find out whether the Toyota C-HR blows the competition out of the water in our Toyota C-HR review.
Renault Grand Scénic
Targeting those looking for the ultimate in family-car convenience, the Renault Grand Scenic is a more of a traditional family car. It’s a large MPV, rather than another SUV – the latter of which are currently in vogue.
The seven-seat version of the fourth-generation Renault Scénic, the Grand Scénic is a versatile MPV with strong family values at heart. There’s plenty of space for luggage and passengers, provided the little ones take up the rearmost seats. It also comes with Renault’s four-year warranty.
It is it fun to drive, and will the fuel economy ease your parenting finances?
We’ll ensure you can decide whether the Renault Grand Scénic is a sensible purchase for your family, or not, in our expert Grand Scénic review.
Now in its fourth generation, the Kia Rio five-door hatchback is larger than before, with a longer wheelbase but also with a sportier, lower roof-line.
There are three trim grades, with even entry models reasonably well equipped. All cars get air conditioning, front electric windows, heated door mirrors and a 3.8-inch display screen, not to mention Bluetooth, automatic lights and LED daytime running lights.
Unfortunately, the Kia Rio fails to make the grade and is a Don’t Buy. Like its sister the Kia Picanto, it only gets a three-star Euro NCAP rating. An optional safety pack is not included in all models, meaning there is no autonomous emergency braking. See the full results of our extensive testing in our Kia Rio review.