Top Ten of 2012

It’s been a busy year at Front Seat Driver, with the site evolving as we learn exactly what it is that drives people to read these pages.

I like to think it’s the reviews that get through to what a car feels like rather than simply listing the specifications and good and bad points, but the new Top Ten pages have proved popular while there’s some interesting and amusing results when I look at the years stats.

While I look forward to seeing you all here in 2013, here are the Top Ten most popular pages by number of readers for 2012…

1. Driven: Toyota Yaris Hybrid Road Test

Proving there’s demand for a small petrol-hybrid car rather than pure electric, it was the review of Toyota’s impressive Yaris Hybrid that stole the top spot.

2. Driven: Toyota GT86 Road Test

Not far behind the Yaris was the opposite extreme from Toyota, and old-school sports car. I went to Barcelona to try it out and wasn’t disappointed.

3. Top Ten: Most economical petrol cars

Toyota may have got six cars in the top ten (if you include the Lexus CT 200h), but it was the impressive Vauxhall Ampera / Chevrolet Volt twins that scooped to top sport. You can’t win everything, Toyota…

4. Revealed: Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II

Unexpectedly, it’s the exclusive reveal of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II that takes fourth place. As part of a select gathering at Goodwood, we managed to take and then share the first picture of the car. Take that, Autocar!

5. Driven: Mazda CX-5 Road Test

Mazda’s reinvention started here, with the excellent CX-5. Just ever so slightly too expensive, the inevitable softening of demand could lead to discounts that will get you in the best crossover vehicle on the market right now.

6. Driven: Lexus GS 450h Road Test

Cruising down the autobahn at 155 mph with the engine barely ticking over was when the new GS made a lot of sense. Supremely capable, it’s a shame few buyers will consider it against the usual suspects from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

7. Dacia Duster’s ‘shockingly affordable’ prices announced

Dacia was always going to come up with something special but few expected a Nissan Qashqai sized SUV to be priced up at less than £9,000. In poverty-spec white with black bumpers, it even manages to look cool.

8. Bangernomics Fleet Update: Vauxhall Omega 3.0 Elite

I’m not really sure how this crept in to the Top Ten, but it managed it. The Omega was proof that you can run a luxury car for the same price as a few nights out. Let’s not mention the fact the car died a few months later…

9. Chauffeured: Rolls-Royce Ghost Road Test

I wasn’t allowed behind the wheel for this test, instead experiencing the VIP lifestyle that most buyers would choose. Being chauffeured directly to Rolls-Royce’s hospitality at the Goodwood Festival of Speed just added to the experience.

10. Great Wall Motors open first European facility

The final spot goes to Great Wall, the first Chinese manufacturer to start selling cars here. With a European plant opening, there’ll be more following the Wingle pick-up truck such as the Haval SUV and Voleex city car. Hopefully they’ll also pick up a dictionary.

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Phil is a motoring writer for print and web, failed racing driver, car hoarder and banger rally competitor. Nominated for the Headline Auto Rising Star award and a MGMW member, Phil freelances for outlets as diverse as Diesel Car magazine, and Cambridge Magazine, amongst many others. He also maintains a fleet of unloved motors, but spends most of his time driving an old Corvette.