Elves were all too busy, which is understandable, and Minions were apparently washing their hair, which is a little harder to believe, but we were determined to get some juicy Carrot stats online before Christmas Day – so our hard-working, Christmas jumper-wearing team got cracking. Our mission was to identify the top five models of car insured by Carrot. Without further ado, here are the most popular cars our telematics policyholders drive, counting down from five to the top spot. Perhaps you own one already or maybe one of them features on your Christmas wish list this year. Read on to find out.
5. Renault Clio
Some of you may be old enough to remember the kind of famous ‘Nicole? Papa?’ TV adverts for this cute little French car, starring Estelle Skornik. Launched in 1990, the Clio is now in its fourth generation and will probably be around forever. A comfortable car with five door versions and a wide choice of economical engines, it’s easy to see why the Clio has always sold as well as £1 Justin Bieber tickets would do. If you’re thinking of buying one in the New Year, watch out for electrical issues, making sure all the features work. Check for any signs of leaks, ask for proof that the bonnet catch and accelerator recalls have been done if necessary, and test drive it to see if the brakes and suspension seem to work okay. Base-spec’ Clios aren’t particularly sporty and they’re not that spacious inside, but many owners love the overall feel of the car. Sport and Renaultsport versions will cost more to insure and as with any car, buy the newest one you can.
4. Peugeot 206
The fourth most popular car we cover here at Carrot is another cheeky little French number, sold between 1998 and 2006. The Peugeot 206 is generally more engaging to drive than the Clio, with decent steering and handling, plus a smooth, sporty gear change. Diesel models are really economical and they’re fairly safe thanks to a four-star EURO NCAP rating. French cars are charming, no doubt about it, but like with the Clio, the Peugeot 206 isn’t free from electrical and mechanical problems. Peugeot introduced a ‘CC’ convertible version with a natty metal roof that folds electrically, and an estate-like ‘SW’ version was also made. GTi versions are especially fun to drive but beware used ones that may have been driven by a boy or girl racer. If you’ve got a 206 in mind for 2016, take your time in picking a good one and you’ll probably love it.
3. VW Polo
Now it’s the turn of Germany, in the form of Volkswagen’s sensible Polo, which has a good, solid image associated with it. Most of you drive Polo IIIs upto Polo Vs, spanning from 1994 to 2009, but VW actually introduced it in 1975. A good range of petrol and diesel engines is available and the 2001 version onwards saw the car go further upmarket. Larger than the original Golf, the Polo proves quite spacious for most owners. Some people find VW Polo dashboards a bit boring and they’re not the cheapest small cars to buy second hand, but are generally relatively reliable (as one of Carrot’s team can confirm!) and fun to drive. They surprisingly seem to enjoy munching through front tyres, so check their condition if you test drive one. As with all these superminis, they’re best bought with manual gearboxes, which tend to be more robust than the automatics.
2. Ford Fiesta
Silver and Gold places on our Top Five Models podium are occupied with British cars, starting with the Ford Fiesta. For many years, it’s been the best-selling car in the UK and often in Europe, people unable to get enough of them. With fairly attractive looks, a decent amount of space inside and handling that people often say is the best in the class, you can understand why. You need to pay a bit more for a higher trim in order to get some nice goodies, toys and comforts for yourself, otherwise they can feel a bit basic. If you take one for a spin, make sure it feels as it should do and check its service history for any mechanical and electrical problems. Unless you drive a lot, a petrol one should be fine and prove a bit cheaper to run.
1. Vauxhall Corsa
Wow, the Corsa’s the same age as me, launched in 1982, although most of us are more familiar with the Corsa B from 1993 onwards. This obviously very popular car is still on sale as the Corsa E, which is very nice to drive indeed, and packed full of modern technology. The Corsa B’s main issue was front suspension, the Corsa C was prone to failed steering racks and rear wheel bearings, and the Corsa D’s 1.3-litre diesel engine had a few DPF (a filter for keeping emissions down) issues. Generally, though, it’s a relatively reliable car whichever generation you pick. The Corsa is well built, comfy enough, practical unless you’ve got very young kids (and therefore pushchairs) or cart a lot of stuff around in general, and they’re economical to run and own. Three-door versions look a bit sportier and while there are only two diesel engine sizes to choose from, there are five petrol options.
If you’re one of our telematics insurance customers who enjoys fantastic rewards or treats for driving one of these five models safely, we’d love to hear from you on Twitter or Facebook. Have a great Christmas and New Year, everyone, and stay tuned to The Root throughout 2016.