This year was full of new cars and challenging challenges. The next one will hopefully be even more interesting, not only in terms of premieres, but also in terms of the development of the European market.

With the end of the year, people tend to evaluate the past year, and it is no different in our editorial office. As everyone explores different cars, whether in articles or tests, the collective is filled with new knowledge with electric cars, testosterone-filled sports cars, off-roaders, luxury carriages, smart cars for ordinary people and boring clothing that is perhaps only fit for work.

So it’s not about which car was the best, but which one left a deeper impression on me. In addition, it does no harm to take a break from objectively writing news and tests and let personal feelings speak.

We still have a chance to have fun

The Ford Bronco brought me the most fun, fun and driving pleasure this year. The car completely won me over with its immediacy and rebellion. Off-road with a power of 335 hp and top equipment for the terrain, with which you can wade, jump here and there and overcome very difficult terrain. In addition, there is a strong catalog of accessories directly from Ford. Great marketing move. Bronco is a spit in the face of today’s era, which under the false cover of ecology and safety, rapes us into “responsible motoring” with constant monitoring and chatter while driving. There are Euro-elves here too, but they don’t make themselves known that much.

Hennessey modified the Bronco Raptor for almost half the price of a new car.  But he removed the biggest pain in the car

True, with a price tag of 1,849,900 CZK, the Ford Bronco is not for everyone, and it will probably be bought by someone who doesn’t really care about money. And I wouldn’t give it a 10/10 in the test either, it’s not the best car in the world, but it gives you a sense of freedom and the ability to wake up the “low impulses”. Just go crazy.

From a German to a Spaniard

The new Opel Astra, whose Sports Tourer version arrived this year, was also a pleasant surprise. Despite the fact that it is a sibling of the Peugeot 308, it is definitely not just a copy in a different coat. Opel made sure the Astra had its own driving DNA. He made extensive changes to the chassis and steering, resulting in a station wagon that is seriously enjoyable to drive. In the top version of the GSe, you can even drive a little more nimbly and feel something in the steering wheel. This initiative must be commended.

We know all the news from Opel for 2024. Many premieres await us, an electric station wagon will also arrive in the Czech Republic

On the other hand, if it were my money, the Cupra Leon Sportstourer VZ with the 2-liter TSI would definitely still be on the list. It is CZK 10,000 cheaper, has 20 more horsepower (245 hp) and, because it does not carry plug-in hybrid crutches, it is 210 kg lighter. It may seem like I’m comparing apples and pears, but both cars have a lot to offer the driver and are for similar money. The heart would vote for Leon, but realistically, Opel would probably win. I am one of the lucky ones who has a garden and an electrified garage. To be honest, an electric range of around 60 km will be fine for driving around the city, taking the kids to the doctor and visiting grandma. At the same time, a year or two ago, the Cupra would have won outright.

Surprises in photos and on the road

I was really looking forward to the Ioniq 6, especially the design based on the 2020 Prophecy concept is extremely cool and embodies the idea of ​​an aerodynamic streamliner. Thanks to this, it has a range of over 600 kilometers and will delight you with a choice of three power levels and the option of two or all-wheel drive. In terms of technology, it is above average advanced, whether we are talking about the 800V architecture with fast charging or driving assistants. I usually find electric cars tasteless, like tallow pudding, but I really enjoyed the Ioniq 6 and enjoyed spending time in it. A large part of this was due to the visually pleasing interior. It looks boring with dark upholstery.

Beautiful on the outside, beautiful on the inside…

The fifth generation Prius brought a huge and comprehensive revolution. Technically, it belongs to the top, not to mention with a 26-year-old pedigree. But while the drive, and above all the design, leaves the crowd in awe, the interior sends a significant part of the enthusiasm to the dill for me, which is mainly due to the dashboard made of hard, and not exactly attractive, plastics. Above all, around the raised instrument panel, which is always in your eyes.

It looks like a Ferrari, but it's a hybrid Toyota.  The larger RAV4 sibling does not skimp on performance

It was the first car in which I had the privilege of tasting the “intoxicating sense of security” that comes from the speed warning, which is mandatory for cars manufactured from 2024. It beeps to remind you every time you exceed the limit by about 3 km/h. Which is exactly the range where a normal person usually moves, because at the speedometer’s 55 km/h you are still within the limit, or at least the tolerance. So the security guard screams practically all the time and is by far the biggest pain in the ass I’ve seen in a car in many years.

What with this? Yes, it can be turned off, but again it’s a few clicks into the infotainment and yes, it reactivates after every start. So instead of increasing safety, the driver is either subjected to constant annoying whistling or eyes glued to the speedometer instead of watching the surroundings. Alternatively, you can constantly switch the speed limiter, but this again does not add attention.

The moving future of electric cars

It follows from the comments under the articles that many readers do not have a positive attitude towards electric cars. My impression is that it stems mainly from the artificially created pressure to promote them, and not from them being bad cars. Paradoxically, the end of this year dealt them a heavy blow, when governments gradually ended subsidy programs and incentives for their acquisition.

Survey: More than a third of customers in Western Europe want to switch to electric cars

Prague will cancel free parking for them, and Germany suspended a generous subsidy of CZK 170,000 at the beginning of December due to a cut budget for next year. The contribution will be subsidized by the car companies for some time, but this is not a good way to cheapen them, on which their survival depends. Let’s not forget that the best-selling electric car in Europe this year is the Tesla Model 3, and Chinese brands can go with the price significantly lower. European electric cars have a serious problem and it will be interesting to see how they deal with it in the coming year.

Speed ​​exclusivity?

The last paragraph also belongs to them, although it is rather a raised topic for discussion, so take it with a grain of salt. Electric cars often took away the intoxicating sound of the engine, which is part of the driving pleasure (the soundtrack from the speakers is really not a sufficient substitute), but they also took away the exclusivity of performance. We used to buy sports cars because they were beautiful to look at, but also because they could go from 0 to 100 km/h in 4 seconds and they were worth the money.

Now you can buy a Kia EV6 GT for less than 1.8 million, with 585 horsepower, acceleration to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and a maximum speed of 260 km/h. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N will offer even 650 horsepower for the same price and will reach 100 km/h one tenth of a second faster. And then we have China’s MG4 EV XPower. Although it is not sold on the Czech market, you can buy it in Britain from CZK 1,042,000. At the same time, it offers 435 horsepower with 600 Nm of creative torque, and it goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. So why buy a supersport when any hatchback with half the price can stand next to it?