The motoring industry has had a most turbulent year, arguably the rockiest ever since three- and four-wheeled transport of the kind just about recognisable as motor cars first appeared on dusty roads in the 19th-century.
The sticky issue of sustainability remains uppermost in the minds of all mainstream manufacturers, and they know there’s work ahead if they’re to continue producing products people will want to buy.
Change is most definitely in the air – smart and efficient technology geared towards moving individuals about has been a key element at motor shows in 2019, rather than just the personal mobility offered by shiny new models at similar events in the not-too-distant past.
What all this means though is that manufacturers have been doing everything they can to introduce the best products possible on to the market in a bid to keep themselves competitive, which is good news for those of us looking for something new to get about in.
Which new models have come out top this year though?
We’ve driven some of 2019’s choicest rides, and these are our favourites, ranked from cheapest to positively eye-watering. Don't forget to vote for the one you like best here:
1. Toyota Rav4 Adventure
This is the fifth generation of Toyota's nippy little SUV pioneer, and it's up there with the best of its ancestors. The 2020 version looks a little more masculine before, but worry not: driving the Adventure is like hanging on to the collar of an affectionate, giant dog who is proving particularly responsive to your directional commands. There's a reason why these are popular. Inexpensive motoring at its best and lots of fun at the same time. Read the full review here.
2. John Cooper Works Mini Clubman
You feel like you're tearing around with the wild abandon of a bee who's just landed on a saucer and had a slurp of coffee when you're behind the wheel of the Clubman. You're here, you're there, you're all around the square. You could almost toss a coin between the Clubman and Countryman as to its inclusion here, but the one we chose just about nudges it. There's an electric Mini in the pipeline too and it doesn't take Nostradamus to predict that's likely to be a pretty good laugh as well. Read the full review here.
3. Mercedes A45 S
Along with its sibling the CLA 45 S, this is a car specifically designed to pick the youngsters up from school and collect a few bags from the supermarket after allegedly responsible adults have spent time roaring round a racetrack in it (should they choose to do so). Mercedes achieved its goal in spades. The A45 S is great both around town and on longer journeys, as well as being a barbarian if you need it to be. Fine design from the German marque, and all from a minuscule four-cylinder, two-litre engine. Read the full review here.
4. Ram 1500 Unlimited
They remain popular, these pick-up trucks, despite the fact that no one aside from the drivers of Japanese work vehicles and their ilk ever seem to use the rear-storage capacity. Despite its size, the Ram 1500 is a joy to zip around in, but it really gets its place here due to the amount of fancy kit you get for the price. US manufacturers were once noted for being slapdash when it came to finishing, but they've improved significantly in recent years, and the 1500 reflects this to a T. Read the full review here.
5. Nissan Patrol 5.6-litre LE
Yes, we've picked the one with the big engine. The UAE's favourite SUV didn't disappoint when its 2020 version had its world unveiling in the Emirates earlier this year in what can only be described as a blaze of publicity. The new model is being marketed under the slogan 'Conquer Everywhere', and, as far as we can tell, you can do just that. It has a lightness of touch that is unusual in a big vehicle and, with the various upgrades, this year's model different enough to warrant your attention. Read the full review here.
6. Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Another magnificent piece of engineering, which is not something you'd have said about many of Alfa Romeo's past offerings, hence, perhaps, its inclusion here. The interior may not match certain competitors in its class, but the driving satisfaction is superior. It accelerates, brakes and handles better than almost all its rivals, and the engine delivers a ticklingly agreeable V8 baritone rumble. Fast, then, and all wrapped up in a stylish yet practical four-door saloon body. Read the full review here.
7. Jaguar F-Pace SVR
You don't often get SUVs that feel like sports cars, but the F-Pace SVR does exactly that. The standard version was always a decent option, but this top-of-the-line model with its extra power really hits the high – or, more pertinently when it comes to engine noise, low – notes. The SVR has the acceleration, speed and outward appeal of many sporty vehicles half its size, yet it still has the practicality of any vast kit shifter. The SUV suddenly got alluring. When did that happen? Read the full review here.
8. Porsche 992
The new 911, code-named the 992 for reasons best known to Porsche alone, carries a little more power than previous incarnations. Even with the extra grunt, though, it still has precise steering and agility you find from much smaller vehicles. It also has the kind of poise that allows for undramatic roof-down cruising at high speeds (in its soft-top version, of course). From everyday usability to focused track performance, space efficiency, quality and comfort, the 992 ticks all the boxes. Read the full review here.
9. BMW X7 xDrive 50i
It's not a cheap vehicle, the top-of-the-range X7, but as soon as you get inside and experience that sense of calm, you'll know why it's here. For a weighty car – it's 2.3 tonnes, with so much spare muscle – it's got a 4.4-litre V8 engine, the X7 is remarkable in the way it keeps the rigours of the outside world at bay. Apparently, it's the biggest car BMW has ever produced, and one of the brashest, but you won't be aware of any of this when you're encapsulated in its tranquil inner sanctum. Read the full review here.
10. Lamborghini Huracan Evo
The Evo is the pinnacle of the various supercars that have been released this year. It's big, flashy, and fast, but capable of prompting maniacal giggles from whoever is behind the wheel should they get it in a track environment. No surprise that the Evo has been designed for this very purpose. Suffice to say, if you're wearing a loose-fitting hat, don't stand behind the Evo when someone is revving the 5.2-litre V10 engine as your prized panama is likely to disappear into the stratosphere. Read the full review here.
11. Rolls-Royce Black Badge Cullinan
Granted, this is out of the price range of most of us, but you can't deny what Rolls-Royce has achieved here – a 4x4 capable of taking on extreme terrain, yet, on standard tarmac, one which whisks those lucky enough to be ensconced within its fancy cabin on a magic carpet of smoothness. It may not turn as many heads as its brethren, but that's maybe only because most people outside haven't had the chance to check out that majestic soaring rug experience themselves. Read the full review here.
12. Pininfarina Battista
Performance-wise, what the Battista will do is startling. Put your foot down and you'll reach 100kph from a standing start in 1.9 seconds, and, if you can keep your boot in place, the vehicle will keep going until it hits 350kph. Of course, all this comes with a hefty price tag – just look at that figure and wince. That said, the Battista is a motoring magnum opus and could be an indication of what electric vehicles might offer us in the near future. For less cash, though, hopefully. Read the full review here.