For the third year running the Civic Type-R has triumphed in the Hot Hatchback category in What Car?’s Car of the Year Award.

This year’s win for the 2004 model Type-R is every bit as emphatic as previous years’ victories – and it is complemented by the Civic 5dr 1.6 SE gaining Highly Recommended status in the Small Family Car category.

As if this was not enough, the new Accord i-CTDi Sport and its Tourer stablemate both gained Highly Recommended endorsements in the Family Car and Estate Car categories – with the CR-V 2.0 i-VTEC SE Highly Recommended (along with the £36,000 BMW X5 and £51,000 Range Rover!) in the 4x4 class.

What Car’s editor Rob Aherne said: "It goes without saying that the judging process was long and arduous. There are now more than 2850 different car models on sale in Britain, so whittling them down to 18 award winners is not the work of a moment."

Aherne described the Civic Type-R as the consummate hot hatch of the early 21st century, adding: "It is powerful, quick and sharp, but as roomy and versatile as any other 3 door Civic, and it comes with airbags and anti-lock brakes to ensure that drivers are protected by more than their own sense of self preservation."

What Car? tests some 250 different cars each year. The testing involves nearly a million miles of driving and thousands of hours of assessment. Its test team includes experts on finance, safety, security, ergonomics and legal matters as well as practicality, performance, ride and handling.

The What Car? Car of the Year awards are published in the March 2004 issue, which goes on sale on 27 January.

Published : 26/01/04 Author : Melanie Carter

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