2016 – My cars of the year

Mike Humble

Well 2016 was a hell of year wasn’t it?

Staying well away from politics and the Brexit carryings on, its been truly great news to discover us plucky Brits have welded, screwed and put together an amazing 1.6 million vehicles – and that doesn’t include the vans and commercials we also manufacture at Luton and Leyland respectively. Some rather flattering confidence has been shown by our foreign factory owners that Brexit makes no difference in their continuing investment in the plants, the vehicles and the many thousands of workers and suppliers who make the whole thing gel together.

This same year also saw our Ellesmere Port assembled Vauxhall Astra named European Car of The Year, a title I personally and wholeheartedly agree with. A few miles down the road in the West Midlands, Jaguar Land Rover continue to be on a roll with the XE, F-Pace and Discovery Sport flying out the showrooms like there is no tomorrow. Not only that but our exports to the world have never been higher – its not our nature to really boast about our success, but we really ought to. Considerable investment from Anglo-Japanese companies have also featured strongly this year too.

Honda nominated its UK Swindon facility as the global plant for the new Civic (already on sale in the US and due here early 2017) and Toyota increasing their capacity of the Deeside drivetrain plant in North Wales. As for Nissan – do we need say more? The Washington plant goes from strength to strength – its never been a busier time in the UK automotive industry. So a question needs to be asked – just why are we producing so many vehicles and exporting record numbers of cars, commercials, buses and trucks? The answer is a simple one – we are so very good at wheat we do in terms of design, research, engineering and above all… craftsmanship.

None of the aforementioned would have taken place if it wasn’t for the tens of thousands of men and women involved in manufacturing and component supply. In a nutshell… what we do is world class – and the numbers only speak for themselves. Anyway, I’m done for 2016 – thanks for your support over the past year, drive safely, cherish your loved ones and no doubt I’ll see you on the other side in 2017. Enjoy the cars of year below.

Merry Christmas & Happy new year


Mike & Jacky


The AutoBritannia Cars of 2016

BEST SMALL CAR: Nissan Note 1.2 n-tec

The Nissan Note n-tec 1.2 – Smart and sensible doesn’t have to be boring.


The Sunderland built Nissan Note may lack the street cred of vehicles like the Fiesta but it offers decent build quality, incredible clever use of every inch of interior space and a dash of character. The 3 cylinder engine has an enjoyable off-beat thrum to it and the car is a delight to scoot around a busy town or city centre.

Simply oodles of leg and head room with rear doors that open to almost 90 degrees mean anyone of any size can leap in to slip behind the wheel as driver or passenger. A nice level of equipment along with agreeable cost and a plethora of dealer buying options mean the Note is a simple yet sensible purchase… those dealers tend to be nice folk too.

ITS TOP ATTRIBUTE: Quite simply put – an enjoyable car in nearly all areas.


BEST MEDIUM / FAMILY CAR: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer SRi 1.6 200Ps 

The new Astra was voted 2016 European Car of The Year

The generation game: Astra Sports Tourer 200Ps and its older sister, the 16v GTE Mk2

Initially launched in 2015, the all new Astra range was expanded earlier in 2016 with the Sports Tourer. Offered with similar engine options to the hatch, I simply fell in love with the 200Ps 1.6 turbo petrol model. I reckon I’ve covered in excess of 1000 miles in the Sports Tourer over during this year – in the actual above car nonetheless!

Its clever, spacious and crammed full of technology that simply works – some of it life saving too, notably the OnStar system. Also there’s performance that punches above its weight more than Eubank ever could and so long as you drive responsibly, gives fuel economy that many smaller less powerful cars would be envious of.

It looks different enough to keep your interest, drives really well, represents genuine value for money and has a pleasing high quality feel to its build quality.

ITS TOP ATRIBUTE: Not just a really good Vauxhall… a damn good car full stop.




XF angle
Subtle restyle and new eco orientated driveline has made the pretty XF even better

The XF right from word go has been nothing short of a success for Jaguar Land Rover. The model on test featured the recently launched all JLR i4-D engine built at the new Wolverhampton engine facility. When mated to the clever computer controlled ZF 8 speed automatic gearbox the 163Ps engine really does shine.

Quite simply staggering fuel economy and Co2 output (my test car refused to give anything less than 60mpg) allied to decent performance means being green doesn’t have to make driving enjoyment all dull and grey.  A new restyled dash with dials from the XE have done wonders to freshen up the drivers view and quality is notably improved too.

Effortless to waft along the motorway and rather talented in the apexes mans the XF is Jack of all trades and master of most. Be it driver or passenger the XF is one of those cars that has all the main attributes an executive car requires – style, substance, refinement and image. Not as ruthlessly efficient as a 5 series… but hey –  that’s a good thing!

ITS TOP ATTRIBUTE: A class act for all ages and all people – just lovely.







One comment

  1. As John Gaunt used to say “if you’ve got kids – give them a kiss, give them a hug and dont forget to tell them that You love them”…..pass the sick bucket please! Great website Mike. Hope it never dissapears behind a pay wall!

    Hope to hear more from ‘little’ Jimmy Godwin and the late great Dr K in 2017

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