Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists of the FirstCar Awards!
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Driving Instructor of the Year
Sponsored by Marmalade Network
THE WINNER: NAYESH RADIA
All of Nayesh Radia's clients are treated as individuals, and understanding their particular needs and experiences shapes his lesson plans and instruction. Nayesh shows an exceptional commitment to road safety, delivering training for cyclists as well as drivers and actively lobbying the Transport Minister on topics he feels passionately about. Many glowing testimonials show his clients' appreciation of Nayesh's patient and positive approach to teaching. www.saferoading.com
Highly Commended Award: Angela Presland, Belt Up Driving School
Regional Driving School of the Year
Sponsored by Driving Test Success
THE WINNER: DIVERSE ROAD SAFETY CIC
As a social enterprise, Diverse Road Safety takes pride in going the extra mile for its clients. In addition to its general training, Diverse Road Safety specialises in helping people with special needs learn to drive in a safe and supportive environment. Diverse Road Safety works closely with a number of charities, hospitals and disability groups, and also helps learner drivers find appropriate adaptations to make driving possible. www.diverseroadsafety.org.uk
Highly Commended Award: Let's Instruct Driving School
National Driving School of the Year
Sponsored by Citroën
THE WINNER: RED DRIVING SCHOOL
RED has embraced modern technology in its teaching methods through online and mobile platforms. What's more, RED Driving School allows learner drivers to post reviews directly to its Facebook page, and has a 'no-quibble' refund policy. A strong commitment to road safety is backed by a supportive approach to its learner drivers and career development for its instructors. www.reddrivingschool.com
Highly Commended Awards: AA Driving School and Bill Plant Driving School
Driving Instructor Car of the Year
Sponsored by Intelligent Instructor
THE WINNER: CITROËN C3
The C3 is a car that instructors will enjoy driving and their pupils will be excited to learn in. Not only is it a characterful and stylish car, it has a long list of safety equipment as standard. Useful innovations like the built-in personal safety camera help the C3 stand out in a competitive field.
Highly Commended Awards: Ford Fiesta, Mazda 3, Volkswagen Polo
In-Car Product of the Year
THE WINNER: NEXTBASE 612GW DASH CAM
The Nextbase 612GW dash cam films in 4K resolution, providing drivers and insurance companies with crystal clear footage of any incident on the road. Using the Click & Go Powered Magnetic GPS Mount, the Nextbase 612GW is quick and easy to install and fully wireless. The wide-angle lens and polarising filter to remove glare help provide detailed footage in all weathers, and wi-fi connectivity makes downloading and sharing footage hassle-free. www.nextbase.co.uk
Highly Commended Awards: Apple iPhone ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, BriteAngle Warning Triangle, Solon Security Signal Blocker
Best Safety Technology
Sponsored by ingenie
THE WINNER: TOYOTA SAFETY SENSE
Toyota Safety Sense is a great example of big-car safety features filtering down to smaller vehicles. Available on 11 out of 15 versions of the Aygo city car, this suite of safety technologies includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, which operates at speeds of up to 49mph. It also features Lane Departure Alert, to warn the driver if they are drifting out of lane without indicating, and Pre-Crash Brake Assist, which delivers full braking force as soon as the pedal is pressed in an emergency.
Toyota Safety Sense is also available to Yaris buyers, and contributed to that car's five-star Euro NCAP rating.
We're pleased to make Toyota Safety Sense the winner of our Best Safety Technology award, and congratulate Toyota on its efforts to make high-tech safety features affordable to new drivers. www.toyota.co.uk
Highly Commended Awards: Ford MyKey and OnStar – automatic Crash Response and 24/7 Emergency Call Service.
Green Car of the Year
THE WINNER: RENAULT ZOE
With zero tailpipe emissions, the Renault Zoe makes an ideal first car for environmentally conscious drivers. Compared with most plug-in electric vehicles, the Zoe is surprisingly affordable to buy new, and there are now plenty of used examples to choose from. What's more, the Zoe is easy to drive, has performed extremely well in Euro NCAP safety tests, and the range is a lot further than most new drivers will need to travel each day. www.renault.co.uk
Highly Commended Awards: Skoda Citigo GreenTech and Toyota Yaris Hybrid
Safe Car of the Year
Sponsored by Driving Test Success
THE WINNER: VOLKSWAGEN POLO
The Volkswagen Polo brings big-car safety standards to the supermini market. It has earned a five-star rating from the safety experts at Euro NCAP, achieving the highest score for any car in its class. We're delighted that so much safety equipment and driver assistance technologies are included as standard, including City Emergency Braking (Volkswagen's autonomous emergency braking system) which is standard fit across all Polo models. Good all-round visibility also helps make the Polo an extremely safe choice for new drivers. www.volkswagen.co.uk
Highly Commended Awards: Nissan Micra and Seat Ibiza
Used Car of the Year
Sponsored by Warranty Direct
THE WINNER: FORD FIESTA (08-17)
There's no better used buy for new drivers than the Ford Fiesta (08-17). Independent data from Warranty Direct shows just how reliable the car is, and how affordably it can be put right if something does go wrong. It's also very safe, picking up a five-star rating from Euro NCAP in 2012. The Fiesta is also easy to drive and affordable to buy and run. What more could you want from a first car? www.ford.co.uk
Highly Commended Awards: Citroën C1 (05-14), Kia Picanto (11-17) and Volkswagon Polo (09-17)
Car of the Year
Sponsored by Warranty Direct
THE WINNER: NISSAN MICRA
FirstCar is pleased and delighted to name the Nissan Micra our inaugural Car of the Year. The Nissan beat off some stiff competition with a combination of low running costs, excellent safety standards, and ample scope for drivers to personalise their car.
Insurance is a big expense for new drivers, but entry-level models are in insurance group one, keeping premiums as low as possible. The Micra is affordable to fuel and tax, too, with several versions emitting less than 100g/km of CO2.
Safety tech fitted as standard includes autonomous emergency braking – technology we believe can make a huge difference to the number of collisions involving new drivers – and the car has a five-star rating from Euro NCAP.
We know from our readers that young drivers appreciate the opportunity to really put their own stamp on their first car. Nissan offers the Micra with more than 100 different personalistion combinations, so new drivers can really express their taste and individuality.
What's more, the Micra is easy and fun to drive, making it a great choice for anyone starting their driving career. www.nissan.co.uk
Highly Commended Awards: Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Up