JOE’s Top Five Cars tested in 2013 6 years ago

JOE’s Top Five Cars tested in 2013

JOE's Oisin Collins has been driving around in style in various different cars for the past year, so here's a look back at the top five motors JOE tested in 2013.

We’re not too sure whether 2013 was a good year for wine or not, but we can tell you that 2013 was a great year to be driving new cars. Over 50 new models were launched in Ireland across the various brands in 2013 and it has to be said that all the manufacturers (that we’ve had the pleasure of testing) have done a great job this year.

As a motoring journalist it’s hard to pick out one particular car that you absolutely loved, as it can change from day to day. Having said that, it can be easy to pick out one car that you absolutely hated from its headlights to its exhaust pipe. However, I can honestly say that this year there wasn’t a single car I tested that I found myself hating by the end of the week, for the simple reason that the manufacturers have done a sterling job – it's what they're paid to do, after all.

So without further ado, here are the top five cars that left a lasting impression. You can check out JOE’s full review of each car by clicking the underlined links.

Seat Leon FR - Car tested: SEAT Leon FR 2.0 TDI 150bhp – €27,325

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The Leon FR makes the list for being a seriously sporty motor without being too in your face. It’s affordable, spacious, comes with cool tech inside and there’s no denying it’s an absolute stunner. We're talking Barbara Palvin levels of hotness here, lads. The engine also makes a spine tingling noise when you put the foot down, so well done on this one, Seat. Hats off...

VW Golf 7th Generation – Car Tested: VW Golf 1.4 ACT TSI Highline – From €26,745

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The VW Golf was named World Car of the Year this year and it certainly wasn’t hard to see why. While VW didn't drastically change the Golf’s appearance, you can still tell that it's the latest generation and the handling was phenomenal. Especially with the driver assists activated. If you’re ever unsure of what new car to buy, buy yourself a Golf. You won't go wrong with one.

Citroen DS3 Cabrio - Car tested: Citroen DS3 Cabrio DSport 1.6L THP 155 6-speed manual - €26,745

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If you’re planning on buying a convertible in Ireland then make sure it’s the DS3 Cabrio. It’s a nice compact little motor to drive, easy on the fuel and while the back seat might be a bit of a squeeze you’ll still fit three adults back there. The roof is the car’s unique selling point, as it’s just the top of the roof that folds back and you can do so at speeds of up to 120km/h, so you won’t have to panic if it’s starts pissing rain on the M50 and the roof is down.

Lexus IS300h - Car tested: Lexus IS300h S-Design 2.5L (Petrol/Hybrid) S-Design – €38,780

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There’s no doubt in my mind that one of the best cars I tested over the course of the year was the Lexus IS300h. I had visions of it being a bit of an awl lad’s car to drive and that it might be more ‘style over substance’, but I was proved utterly wrong. The IS300h is beautiful to look at, amazing to drive and it really packs a punch in sports mode. If you handed me €40,000 in the morning I’d walk down to my nearest Lexus dealer and stick down a deposit… well not tomorrow morning, seeing as it’s Christmas, but you know what I mean.

Nissan Juke Nismo Car tested: Nissan Juke Nismo 1.6L Turbocharged Petrol 197hp – €29,875

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The single biggest surprise of the year for me was the Nissan Juke Nismo. I really wasn’t sure what to expect and I was a tad worried that the Nismo element might be a bit too much for the Juke. However, just like my assumptions of the Lexus IS300h, I was wrong. While it’s a big car (crossover if you want to get technical), it handles beautifully at high speeds, which I should know about seeing as I was driven around Mondello Park in it, and the looks really do grow on you. I liked the look of the Juke Nismo at the start, but I loved the look of it by the end. The Juke is different, but in a good way.

There were certainly a few cars that we’ve tested this year that were absolutely top notch and deserve an honourable mention, so here they are: Opel Adam (great little car for city driving), Toyota Rav4 (superb ride, great for the family), Mazda6 (great contender for its German rivals).

Sadly, not every car could make our list, but there’s always next year… Merry Christmas, folks, and have a Happy New Year.