2020 has been a big year for everybody around the world – for better or for worse. Thankfully in Australia at least, the effects of COVID 19 have not been that drastic to the point where we’ve been able to start up and successfully run a brand new website. DiscoverAuto isn’t even a year old yet, but we’re mighty proud of our achievements thus far and a big thank you to you, our audience, for supporting us in our journey.

In 2020 alone, we tested over 110 brand new vehicles to the Australian market – a feat we consider to be pretty remarkable for a brand new website! To celebrate this, the DiscoverAuto team thought that we’d put a list together of our favourite cars we’ve tested in 2020.

Jake Williams:

  1. Skoda Kamiq

Without a doubt, the best car I tested this year was the Skoda Kamiq. A new entrant to the booming tiny SUV segment, the Kamiq is priced from a very competitive $27,990 (and that’s drive away, too!). What makes the Kamiq such a compelling buy? Admittedly it’s my opinion of these tiny SUVs – the vast majority of them bring nothing to the consumer compared with the hatchbacks on which they’re based. The kicker? They’re often priced much higher as well – not that pricing stops Aussies from buying them, unfortunately.

Yet DiscoverAuto discovered that the Kamiq is just $1,000 more than the Scala that it shares much with, and it has more standard equipment, a roomier interior and drives just as well. More to the point, it’s a tiny SUV that you can actually buy for its practicality with a pretty big boot and unlike a Mazda CX-3, people actually fit quite well in the rear seat. It’s an excellent car, and my favourite of 2020!

2. Kia Sorento

I hate to add yet another SUV to the list, but that’s the world we live in. The brand new Kia Sorento is a genuinely almost perfect car and it comes at a time where the South Korean giant appears unable to do anything wrong. The previous generation Sorento was a great car, and the new model adds a dose of identity with a seriously handsome exterior (in my opinion, at least).

But the new Sorento is also bloody safe thanks to a huge list of safety kit, it rides and steers quite well thanks to Australian tuning, it’s well equipped and yet it’s also pretty well priced as well. If you’re looking for a seven-seat SUV, this is the one to buy.

3. Genesis G80

We’re yet to publish the DiscoverAuto review of the new Genesis G80, but I was already a big fan of the smaller G70 and the new G80 is a big leap forward for the brand. Sure, it’s not cheap, but it is pretty good value for money. It’s absolutely loaded with standard equipment, it features a lovely new twin-turbo petrol V6 engine and did I mention that it also looks fantastic?

My only complaint about the G80, as you’ll read very soon, is that the ride quality is a bit too floaty – but if you don’t mind that though, this is a seriously impressive luxury sedan in an era where said category sales aren’t strong. My absolute favourite thing about the G80 though is that it’s got identity – this is not a BMW copy, rather the brand’s own take on what a luxury car should be and for that, I absolutely adore it.

Honourable mentions: Isuzu D-Max, Jeep Gladiator, Toyota Yaris

Michal Kieca:

  1. Skoda Karoq 110TSI

Skoda is on a bit of a roll these days, offering a level of consistency and excellence seldom seen amongst other brands. I would even go so far as saying that each model in the Czech brand’s lineup is easily worth being recommended. The 2021 Skoda Karoq really hit me with how brilliant it was in everyday life. The car quite simply always had your back. Whether around town, at the shops, or on the open road, the Karoq never ceased to surprise and delight. From its creamy smooth, frugal engine and gearbox, to its genius removable rear seats, the Karoq could really do no wrong.

In a sea of mundane SUVs, the Karoq proved to be a perfectly sized offering, hitting the bullseye in terms of what a mid-size SUV out to be. Factoring in its excellent warranty and servicing costs, it is hard to think of a better offering amongst all of the mainstream SUVs. Kudos to Skoda for also starting a family feud in the VW Group; we think that the Karoq and Kamiq are better than their VW counterparts! You know which ones…

2. Hyundai i30 N

2020 saw my love affair with the i30 N kick off. And boy oh boy, did I fall in love with this amazing driver’s car. As someone who loves hot hatches, my first experience with the i30 N hatchback proved to be utterly sublime. The Hyundai i30 N turned out to be better than it had any right to be.

Hyundai created a genuinely amazing hot hatch, one that didn’t merely copy a Volkswagen Golf GTI. The i30 N proved to be incredibly fun, yet ironically still completely comfortable (with dampers in Normal mode). Staggeringly competent and brilliant to drive, the i30 N will always be nothing but a cracker in my books. 

3. Hyundai Kona Electric

The Hyundai Kona Electric was the very first electric vehicle myself and the DiscoverAuto team had driven. And from my first second behind the wheel, I was sold. Every car I had driven to date suddenly felt like a dinosaur. My manual Ford Focus suddenly became a horse and cart. From its brutal, totally silent and instant power delivery, to the solid driving real life driving range, the Kona left me wanting to drive it all day. I had seen the future and became mesmerised. The Kona Electric was a watershed moment in my life, showing me that electric vehicles can appease motoring enthusiasts and the masses alike.

Yes, electric vehicles might still be expensive in 2020, but year by year battery technology in particular is growing in leaps and bounds. As internal combustion engines reach the end of their lifecycles and come to the end of the road, electric cars are still in their infancy. Think of electric vehicles as plasma TVs in 2005, paving the way to thinner and better LCD screens that we take for granted these days. 

Hyundai must be commended for importing the Kona Electric, along with the Ioniq Electric. The Korean brand has spearheaded the EV assault in Australia, offering genuine alternatives to conventional cars for the first time. I cannot wait for more and more EVs to arrive on our shores and for our governments to start bolstering EV adoption through incentives and improved charging infrastructure.

Honourable mentions: Kia Picanto

Steve Poyser:

  1. 1. Kia Stinger

Before you say “but, it’s a Kia” just remember that you can have a rear-wheel drive sports car, fully loaded with a seven-year warranty for just $67,000 on the road. This thing almost match a 5.0-litre V8 Ford Mustang sprint to 100km/h while offering way more equipment, space and engine than any similarly-price European rival. Best of all, it can be justified as a perfectly comfortable family car should you have to convince your significant other. The 2021 model sweetens the deal by throwing in a bi-modal exhaust as standard kit on V6 models and minor tweaks make the interior feel even more premium.

Like all cars, the Stinger is not without its flaws. The service intervals should be longer and it is thirsty, but those minor quibbles are easily overshadowed by its virtues. Of the DiscoverAuto team, I am the numpty who would buy a car with his heart rather than his head, but the Kia Stinger manages to appeal to both. It’s the pragmatic sports car for those who aren’t ready to give in to buying a SUV, and for that reason it’s my pick of 2020.

2. Peugeot 508

Second on my list is another anti-SUV family car – the Peugeot 508. Rather than letting the 508 die a quiet death in favour of pushing the SUV agenda, Peugeot has given its humble family car a new life with drop-dead gorgeous looks, a dramatic roofline, frameless doors and a stunning interior. It offers a left-field choice for buyers who might otherwise look at something like a Skoda Superb, Volkswagen Passat or even a Peugeot 3008 from its own stable. What many won’t realise is that both the fancy Fastback and svelte Sportswagon can actually tick as many boxes as a similarly-priced SUV and offers a nicer interior than most cars on this side $100K.

It also offers brisk performance thanks to a light kerb weight and a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, and it rides and handles better than any run-of-the-mill SUV. The Fastback is a little cosy in terms of rear headroom, so I would personally pick the Sportswagon as it addresses this and adds the bonus cool factor (and versatility) that comes with the wagon bodystyle. If you don’t need more than five seats and are looking to spend $50K-$60K on a SUV, do yourself a favour and have a look at the Peugeot 508 first – we at the DiscoverAuto team love it to bits.

3. Renault Megane RS 

You can’t make a list of your favourite cars without mention of the Swiss Army Knife of the automotive world – the hot hatch. The Renault Megane RS300 Trophy was one of my most highly–anticipated cars in 2020 as I currently drive the 2014 Renault Megane RS265. Coming from the highly-revered and slightly hard-edged three-door hatch, I was worried that the new five-door RS Megane with a downsized engine and an automatic transmission was trying too hard to ape the formula that the Volkswagen Golf GTI has so successfully perfected.

Taking the new Megane for a spin quickly put all of my qualms to rest. The new model feels more like an evolution behind the wheel than the on-paper revolution suggests. Yes, it’s lost some of the drama that comes with the coupé-like three-door body, but it looks and feels more civilised in every way. From the subtly-massaged wheel arches to the classy cabin, the Megane RS300 successfully adds a healthy dose of technology, safety and everyday liveability to its performance hatchback – making it a better car for more people.

Honourable mentions: Genesis G70, Peugeot 3008

Jordan Monardo:

  1. 2020 Genesis G80 3.5TT AWD

The DiscoverAuto review is yet to be published but the Genesis G80 was not only my favourite car I tested this year, but also the most improved. The previous-generation G80 had been on sale in one form or another since 2014 and had become a little long in the tooth, but the new model is a big step forward for the brand. It has a gorgeous interior, excellent quality and design as well as an equipment list that you could literally read for days – seriously, it’s that well equipped.

The exterior is a thing of beauty and the 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 is an absolute peach- it’s smooth and quiet while still giving the car pretty significant punch. Overall, although it may be out of reach for most people, the Genesis G80 is my car of the year by a long stretch.

2. 2020 Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI Adventure

The Volkswagen Touareg has been on sale in Australia since 2003 but the current model is been a vast improvement over its predecessors. We tested was the Touareg 190TDI Adventure, which is a special edition though since we tested it, a new model range – including a thumping diesel V8 – has arrived. The best part for me was the 190kW 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine, which is no longer available – it’s now got an even better 210kW. This engine is silky smooth, pretty quick and yet also efficient – it happily does around 6L/100km on highway runs, which is excellent for such a big car.

The interior was also one of the best quality interiors I had experienced all year with a minimal amount of hard plastics being used and a very calming beige/black colour combo with woodgrain accents on the dash. The air suspension also made the Touareg glide over bumps with ease and overall, it’s a pretty serene way to see the world.

3. 2020 Jeep Gladiator

The Jeep Gladiator is a car that I didn’t expect to like as much as I did – on paper it’s too expensive, too long and appears to be too cumbersome. But despite all of this, I was in love the minute I jumped behind the wheel. The Gladiator seems to shrink around you when you’re in it and the petrol V6 is a gem of an engine – while it is thirsty, it is smooth and effortless though we’re hoping FCA is able to engineer the US-spec V6 diesel for Australia.

I also loved all the small ‘Easter egg’ details that Jeep included, such as the small Gladiator logo on the shift knob, the Willy’s Jeep in the corner of the windscreen, the topographical floor mats, the removable rear seat speaker that can be used as a Bluetooth speaker and even the tool set under the rear seat. It also has a comfortable driving position, a big tray and a whole host of available accessories, and all of this makes the Jeep Gladiator one of DiscoverAuto top picks for 2020.

Honourable mentions: Renault Megane RS300 Trophy, Mazda BT-50/Isuzu D-Max, Peugeot 508 GT and the Mazda MX-5 GT RF.

From the DiscoverAuto team, we want to thank you again for supporting us in our tiny journey thus far. Whether you’re searching for a new car and have stumbled upon us, part of the greater DiscoverAuto community or one of our automotive partners, we thank you for supporting our site.

We have big plans for 2021 but until then, we hope you have a great holiday period. Please stay safe, wear a mask, socially distance and we’ll see you soon.

The DiscoverAuto team

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