The Hyundai i20 took the top spot at the 2016 NIIB Finance Northern Ireland Car of the Year Awards held at Cultra Manor, part of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum on the outskirts of Belfast.
Speaking at the awards, Jim McCauley, Chairman of the Ulster Motoring Writers Association commented that, “The i20 has immediate appeal in terms of its sophisticated styling and high quality interior. And the admiration continues as you take to the road with its stable and secure handling and an excellent choice of engines.
“The initial fear was that Hyundai had priced themselves out of the market with this car, considering the contrasting interior finish, soft touch materials and the high level of standard specification in SE trim, including safety elements. But the final surprise was the very competitive price for an overall quality package that represents excellent value for money, underwritten by a 5-year warranty.”
The awards are sponsored by NIIB Finance, part of the Bank of Ireland. NIIB’s Regional Manager James Dempster presented the awards saying, “With NIIB Finance being the leading independent funding provider to the Northern Ireland motor market I am delighted to have teamed up with the Ulster Motoring Writers Association, delivering the 2016 NIIB Northern Ireland Car of the Year Awards.
Being the local name in lending remains and has always been important to NIIB, complementing our existing GB challenger brand, Northridge Finance. To me, as the No1 independent lender these awards reinforce our commitment to the Northern Ireland motor trade, their customers and the wider economy.”
A Hyundai spokesman said: “We are delighted to receive this award from the Ulster Motoring Writers’ Association. The i20 has been and continues to be a very important car for the Hyundai brand. It is a strong competitor in the popular B-segment and since the launch of the New Generation i20 in January 2015, we have sold nearly 12,000 units across the UK. It is also our 3rd biggest seller in Northern Ireland behind the ix35 and i10.”
Other category winners at the awards ceremony included the Mazda2 (Small Car category), Seat Leon (Family Car), Suzuki Vitara (Lifestyle SUV), Audi RS3 (Sports Performance) and the Mazda6 Tourer won the Executive Car of the Year.
With a unique insight into the overall sales picture in Northern Ireland, NIIB Finance complemented the voting of the Ulster Motoring Writers Association with their nomination for the Northern Ireland Fleet Car of the Year 2016. This went to the Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI SE.
Presenting the award, the Regional Manager of NIIB Finance, James Dempster, highlighted the many features that took it to the top position including CO2 emissions, BIK rating, interior space, MPG, reliability record and strong residual value. The trophy was collected on Skoda’s behalf by Northern Ireland based Gary Fulton, senior sales manager.