We made some predictions about two key government policy areas. We reckoned Bristol’s plan to ban diesel cars would fail, and it was subsequently rejected by the UK government. The city’s council is currently reviewing a new plan.
Elsewhere, we anticipated a government-led review of the safety of smart motorways. That thankfully came to pass, and a series of new safety measures have been recommended as a result.
We also predicted that PSA Group boss Carlos Tavares would work his magic on Alfa Romeo following his firm’s merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Given that the FCA-PSA merger – to form the weirdly named Stellantis – won’t go through until early next year, we will have to give it until the end of 2021 to see if that comes true.
In January, we eagerly awaited our first proper taste of the new Land Rover Defender, and it was as much hope as prediction when we tipped it to be “epic off road and good on it”.
Well, in the past 12 months, we’ve battled through Namibia in it and tried various versions here in the UK. Our road testers’ verdicts? Noting that, both on and off road “at no time has it been found wanting”, we called it “one of the most broadly capable cars in the world”.
We also tipped Aston Martin’s DBX to be a huge success, not least because it needed to be. The British marque had a truly tumultuous year, with billionaire Lawrence Stroll leading a consortium that bought it. The DBX played its part, too, with the full 2020 production run finding buyers. It’s also very good: we awarded it a hugely rare 4.5 stars.
We had similarly high hopes for the Ford Mustang Mach-E, but we’re still waiting for a proper test. We also predicted there would be a rush of electric hot hatches and the unveiling of a truly affordable sports EV. We’re still waiting for both, but there is an encouraging number of small, sporty electric hatchbacks that should be ripe for performance variants soon.