What Car?

What Car? is a long running United Kingdom monthly automobile magazine and website, currently edited by Steve Huntingford and published by Haymarket Consumer Media.

What Car?
What Car? magazine July 2001.jpg
What Car? magazine cover, April 2017
EditorSteve Huntingford
Former editorsJim Holder; Chas Hallett; Steve Fowler; Rob Aherne; Mark Payton; Richard Feast
CategoriesCar buyer's guide
Circulation55,459 (Jan–Dec 2017)[1]
PublisherHaymarket Consumer Media
First issue1973 (1973)
CompanyHaymarket Media Group
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inTwickenham, London, England

First published in 1973, What Car? is intended primarily as a magazine for car buyers rather than dedicated enthusiasts. In addition to first drives and group tests of the latest models, it contains an extensive buyer's guide section to help consumers choose the right car for their needs and provides tips on how to get discounts on cars.

In 1978, the magazine held its first Car of the Year Awards, giving advice on the best models to buy, and this has since been an annual – and eagerly awaited – feature. In 1996, the website www.whatcar.com was launched. More recently, What Car? launched another print edition in 2006, published in India every two months, which subsequently became a monthly publication.

What Car? was featured in the 2018 movie Early Man, though under the name What Chariot?.

Car of the YearEdit

Every year in January, What Car? hosts an awards ceremony, where it names the best cars in each sector of the car market, and an overall Car of the Year, with the Renault 20 receiving the inaugural award in 1978. In 1985, the Volkswagen Golf, in its second generation, became the first model to receive the award twice, having previously won it for the facelifted first generation car in 1981.

As of July 2019, Volkswagen is the most successful brand in the history of the awards, having taken the top prize a total of six times. Members of the Volkswagen Group, such as Audi, SEAT and Škoda, have won it a further six times between them.

True MPGEdit

In April 2012, What Car? launched a new service called 'True MPG', which it claims gives consumers an idea of what they can really expect from a car if they drive it gently and stick to speed limits, but don't resort to any unrealistically slow acceleration or special hypermiling techniques. These True MPG figures are published alongside the official government fuel economy data, that car manufacturers are legally obliged to include in brochures.[20]

What Car? Approved UsedEdit

In June 2012, What Car? launched an online car buying service called 'What Car Approved Used', which it claimed provides "peace of mind" to car buyers, by endorsing the "10 Points of Difference" promoted by the National Franchised Dealers Association.[21][22]

The agreement came to a close in July 2015, and What Car? began to carry listings from other sources, dropping the 'Approved Used' branding.

New Car Buyer MarketplaceEdit

In October 2016, What Car? launched a new online car buying service called 'New Car Buyer Marketplace'. Built into the existing whatcar.com website, it lets readers buy discounted cars from dealers in their area who have signed up to a What Car? code of content.

Users can add options, change trim and alter finance preferences to get a ‘live' price which dealers are committed to. What Car?'s 'Target Price' – a long-established recommendation of the most the magazine's mystery shoppers think someone should pay for a particular model – is displayed alongside the dealer price so users can check whether a deal represents good value.[23]


  1. ^ "Product Page - What Car?". ABC. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  2. ^ "BBC News: The Company File: Rover wins car of the year". BBC News. 23 February 1999. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  3. ^ "What Car? names Seat Ibiza Car of the Year 2003". The Telegraph. 16 January 2003. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  4. ^ "2006 COTY: BMW 3 Series". What Car?. 20 January 2006. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  5. ^ "2007 COTY: Vauxhall Corsa". What Car?. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  6. ^ "2008 COTY: Jaguar XF". What Car?. 17 January 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  7. ^ "2009 COTY: Ford Fiesta". What Car?. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  8. ^ "2010 COTY: Peugeot 3008". What Car?. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  9. ^ "2011 COTY: Audi A1". What Car?. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  10. ^ "2012 COTY: Volkswagen Up". What Car?. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  11. ^ "2013 COTY: Audi A3". What Car?. 9 January 2013. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  12. ^ "2014 COTY: Nissan Qashqai". What Car?. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  13. ^ "2015 COTY: Skoda Fabia". What Car?. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  14. ^ "2016 COTY: Audi A4". What Car?. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  15. ^ "2017 COTY: BMW 5 Series". What Car?. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  16. ^ "What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2018 – the winners". What Car?. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  17. ^ "What Car? Car of the Year 2019 – the winners revealed". What Car?. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Car of the Year 2019: overall winner". What Car?. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Ford Puma wins What Car? Car of the Year 2020". What Car?. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  20. ^ "What Car? launches True MPG service". Motor Trader. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  21. ^ "NFDA and trusted dealers to promote benefits of franchise aftersales". 17 June 2012.
  22. ^ "What Car? Approved Used launched". What Car. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  23. ^ "What Car? launches online New Car Buyer Marketplace". AM Online. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.

External linksEdit