The Mercedes-Benz E220d AMG is the number one car for the chauffeur and private hire industry, as judged by readers of Professional Driver magazine. The E-Class also won the Executive Car of the Year category in the Awards, announced last night (November 23).
Mark Bursa, editor of Professional Driver Magazine, said: “The new E220d is such a versatile vehicle. It’s roomy and comfortable, and good enough for chauffeuring work, yet economical enough to use for private hire work such as airport runs. It incorporates a lot of safety technology and its interior finish is up to S-Class standard. And ignore the hysteria about diesel – this is an economical and clean car with very low emissions of CO2, NOx and particulates.”
The Professional Driver Awards are among the most rigorous in the automotive industry. There are seven categories in total, and a one-day judging event is held in August. The Professional Driver Car of the Year is chosen from the seven category winners, and the awards are announced at the Professional Driver Awards dinner in November.
The Professional Driver Car of the Year category winners are as follows:
Chauffeur Car of the Year
BMW 740Le xDrive Exclusive
Executive Car of the Year
Mercedes-Benz E220d AMG Line
Green Car of the Year
Hyundai Ioniq Electric Premium SE
Private Hire Car of the Year
Ford Mondeo Vignale 2.0TDCi
MPV of the Year
Mercedes-Benz V250d AMG Line Extra Long
Luxury SUV of the Year
Volvo XC60 D5 Inscription
Estate Car of the Year
BMW 530d Touring xDrive M Sport
Professional Driver magazine, launched in 2009, is the monthly publication for the UK private hire, chauffeur and taxi industry.
The Professional Driver Car of the Year Awards are now in their eighth year. Every shortlisted car is delivered to the venue for a full day’s evaluation by more than 100 judges, comprising invited heads of leading chauffeur and private hire firms, experienced chauffeurs, as well as carefully chosen motoring editors and journalists.
This year, more than 60 vehicles were available for the judges to test on the day, giving them a rare chance to evaluate competing products back-to-back, in real-world conditions.
Cars are tested on a circular road route, taking in urban roads and motorway-standard dual-carriageways. Then the cars are given a full walk-round – judges and examine systems such as the sat-nav as well as the vital boot space – we even provide test luggage for comparison purposes.
The judges are asked to drive as many of the cars as possible, and have to ride in the back of the cars – so they experience the cars from the customer’s point of view. Then each judge completes a two-page questionnaire, allocating points out of 10 for various features of the cars.
At the end of the day, the scores are totalled for each car and divided by the number of test drives to which that car was subjected, giving an overall average score. Finally, the Professional Driver team factors in whole-life running costs, using data provided by Fleet Audits.
“This thorough and comprehensive process means we’re as certain as we can be that we’ve got a fair result – and we know how and why the results have been achieved,” said Professional Driver editor Mark Bursa.