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Taking Stock of 2015's Best Cars

Taking Stock of 2015's Best Cars As we settle in the second half of 2015, which new cars are really worth taking a depreciation hit for? There's rarely been a better mix of niche models and mass-market efforts, of retro design and ultra-modern technology and of budget brands and luxury on the market. However, it's the premium sector that's really interesting this year. The gap between some of the mid-market names and their more expensive counterparts is narrowing - take Ford, for example, whose Vignale sub-brand is designed to steal trade from more expensive brands. How are the premium brands ensuring they stay on top? With premium brands more accessible than ever before, which new prestige car deals are really worth the extra money?

Mini Cooper

While the original Mini was the epitome of back-to-basics budget motoring in the sixties, the modern Mini is a far more luxurious beast. The best model in the third-generation range is the Mini Cooper, bringing style, performance and high technology to the small-car market. The engines are willing but frugal, and the Mini John Cooper works edition can hold its own against the best hot hatches on the market. The new five-door version is a further improvement, as is the smartened-up cabin and the personalisation options which are sure to attract a trendy and modern demographic. Despite its new-found sophistication, the Mini retains that glorious sense of fun that made it such an icon.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

BMW's new compact MPV sees the German firm depart from its traditional rear-wheel-drive format, creating impressive handling and performance with front-wheel drive. As well as the five-seat original, BMW has already added a seven-seat Grand Tourer to the range, and both models do an excellent job of combining luxury with practicality and performance with economy. Some thought has gone into the cabin layout to ensure families can make the car suit their lifestyle rather than the other way round. This car shows BMW studying carefully what the car-buying public needs and responding accordingly.

Porsche Macan

Another example of a premium brand acting according to market forces, the smart Macan is one of the cleverest small SUVs around. It has all the looks and performance promised by its prestigious badge without compromising on family-friendly practicality. Diesel models are surprisingly economical, but nothing else about the Macan feels cheap. It oozes quality and exudes sophisticated driving pleasure. Those who lamented Porsche entering the SUV market with the Cayenne must be eating their words by now - whoever would have predicted that a sports coupe specialist could be so good at making SUVs?

Jaguar F-Type

This stunning coupe blew the competition out of the water upon its release and continues to provoke gasps of amazement. It's quite simply stunning, both to look at and to drive. It's aggressive but silky smooth, eager but elegant and could make even the daftest person look cool. Many cars have been put forward as the 'spiritual successor to the E-Type', but this one really is.

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