With some of the latest SUVs and hatchbacks launching with features previously reserved for premium cars, upmarket brands are having to up their game. Some are certainly worth the money - our latest tests reveal multiple Best Buys - but there are some disappointments as well. Find out the full results through the links below.
Premium brands can cover a huge price range - the BMW 1 Series hatchback starts from £24,430 while Audi's all-electric e-tron comes in at a whopping £72,327.
Our rigorous lab and road tests cut through brand biases to find out which models really live up to their badge. We leave no stone unturned - whether it's a great drive, reliability, practicality, fuel efficiency, emissions, safety and more, our comprehensive reviews have you covered.
It aims to deliver the expected BMW drive appeal, as well as refinement with an easy-to-use infotainment system and subtle improvements over its predecessor, including a larger and cleaner cabin layout.
We've just tested its 190hp 320d diesel engine. This is likely to prove popular with buyers due to its upgraded performance potential, with BMW claiming this doesn't significantly affect fuel economy. Our lab tests find out if this is true.
However this does mean lightweight bucket seats, which give prominence to the drive above the driver's comfort.
In rarefied supercar tradition, the engine is mounted in the middle of the car, between the seats and boot. This should give it optimal balance for cornering.
The E-Pace aims to appeal to keen drivers with an agile and entertaining drive, despite its SUV design (SUVs are heavier and have a higher centre of gravity than traditional hatchbacks).
Leather upholstery, LED headlights, alloy wheels, sat nav and Apple Carplay/Android Auto come as standard. There are six trim levels to choose from to add even more features.
Most petrol and diesel engines come with four-wheel-drive and automatic transmission.
The Toyota Corolla Hybrid is a classic example of a mainstream brand clipping at the heels of premium rivals, with many upmarket features as standard. This includes heated front seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlamps, a reversing camera and a 7-inch touchscreen.
Plus it looks built for the future with 's hybrid powertrain, alongside a new larger 2.0-litre hybrid engine option in response to demand from Toyota hybrid owners wanting more power and responsiveness from their cars.
Despite only being slightly larger in capacity than the 122hp 1.8-litre unit, which is also available in the Corolla, the 2.0-litre engine option is 62hp more powerful, generating 184hp. This rivals offerings from more premium brands and, despite the power increase, the 2.0-litre enjoys staying within the same tax band for CO2 emissions as the 1.8-litre.
The e-tron's well decked-out as standard with two centre touchscreens, leather upholstery and a 'Virtual Cockpit' digital instrument display. Plus all-wheel-drive and adaptive air suspension.
Audi claims you can recharge 80% of the battery in 5.5 hours at home with an AC cable, and can do the same in 30 minutes with DC fast charging en route.
Like the rival and , it's a showcase of the brand's latest technology. BMW uses a lot of carbon fibre to reduce its weight for agile driving, as well as air suspension as standard for supreme comfort.
2019 saw the 7 Series enjoy a mid-life update following its original launch in 2015. BMW's useful reversing assistant has been added, which automatically backs up the car for 50 metres following the exact path it's just been driven - handy when you're backing up to give way on a tricky country road.
But the most striking changes are outside. The front end is now dominated by a huge grille that's 40% larger than the pre-facelift model, aimed at appealing to the Chinese market which favours the divisively showy new styling.