The Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2018 will be taking place for the 15th year in a couple of weeks in association with EE. There are 18 categories this year, with best soundbar joining and the camera category merging.
Each of the 18 categories has six nominations, all of which have been reviewed by us in full at some point in the last 12 months. As usual, we have been detailing the nominations for each category through a series of features over the last few weeks.
This is the last of those features, focusing on the nominations for best car, what we love about them and why they have been shortlisted. Only one can be crowned king of the road, but which will get your vote?
Hugely appealing to drive, the key to the Audi Q8's overall appeal is its flexibility and level of equipment. The S Line specification offers the best value for money - and we'd argue that it still gets you the full Q8 experience at nearly £20,000 less than the top-end Vorsprung. Naturally, that model's superior equipment level does place it a cut above.
As with the other top-line Audis, we're very impressed with the virtual cockpit tech, but believe the touchscreen setup could be distracting for some, and we'd like just a few more manual controls (although it isn't that trendy to say so). The Q8 is a worthy machine to supplant the Q7 at the top of Audi's SUV list. Not only is it so much more exciting than its slightly longer brother, it poses questions for Range Rover to which it won't necessarily have all the answers.
The BMW i8 has charms and tricks which make you forgive its foibles and ignore logical reasoning. If you're up for only pure EV kicks, it'll never beat a Tesla. If you're after a pure sports car, a 911 is better. But an i8 blends both, wraps it up in a wild-style package and after just a few minutes driving one it's impossible not be smitten.
The BMW i8 is different. It's strange, it's special. It has that unique ability to make you feel good about life and yourself and put a smile on your face. And despite not topping any charts for performance or range, it still boasts appealing and useful numbers in its ability to run on just its battery, and also go quickly when you want. Four years on from its launch, the i8 has still got it. It still feels futuristic.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Overall, the Hyundai Kona Electric's sensible price, savvy spec, accessible tech, easy drive and decent range make it the everyman's electric vehicle. In a world where the Nissan Leaf has been dominating, the Hyundai's larger-scale crossover design and more striking looks appeal. Sure, the Kona Electric can't match the Jaguar i-Pace for premium quality, but that's why the Hyundai is such a good fit: it's accessible for the many, not the few.
A better-yet range and a little extra polishing of in-car tech and finish would see the Kona Electric as a near-perfect family crossover - and not just for those seeking an electric vehicle specifically, but anyone looking for a stylish and capable crossover. It's very impressive indeed.
The i-Pace is the first product from an established premium player in this space. And it's a triumph. A joy to drive, an arresting and appealing design, all while employing logical, helpful technology. It does this without resorting to show-off doors, or jaw-dropping huge screens. It feels well engineered and cleverly thought through – designed by people who really understand cars, but who are taking a new, ground-up approach.
Unlike the BMW i cars, the i-Pace's design is accessible too, and as a mid-sized SUV it doesn't force you to adopt a compromised space package for the cause. Instead, it feels like an aspirational car for regular people. And that, among other things, is what makes it a true Jaguar. It's not techy for tech's sake. Or elitist. Tesla, BMW, Audi et al should be very worried indeed, because Jaguar has pulled off the coup of the year with the i-Pace. Right now, this is the EV we would choose to buy before any other.
Nissan Leaf (2018)
The new Nissan Leaf very much takes the lessons learnt from the old Leaf and results in a car that's practical, comfortable, and a lot of fun to drive. There's greater appeal in the design, greater range and lots of technology in this electric car, so if never feels like you're missing out - in fact, it feels very much the rival of any other hatchback you might be considering.
For us the new Nissan Leaf is something of a triumph. It's a hatchback with few compromises, it drives well, it's comfortable and there's plenty to keep you connected, entertained and safe on the roads. The new Nissan Leaf shouldn't just appeal to those looking for an electric car, but anyone looking for a new compact hatchback.
The XC40 is striking looking for sure – in a good way. And it still feels Swedish with it – let's face it, the flag on the edge of the bonnet won't let you forget that. It's also a lovely place to climb into at the end of a long day, when it's cold outside. Its size works just fine for a family of four, as despite its 4.4 metre length it feels even more spacious inside.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that it's refined and oh-so-good to drive. It's the most dynamic Volvo we've ever driven (and we've driven them all). The Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Mercedes GLA are all ageing, leaving this Volvo to better all of those cars with no ifs or buts. So if you're after the freshest and most sophisticated car in its market, the Volvo XC40 is the compact SUV of the moment.
Voting in the 15th annual EE Pocket-lint Awards is now open so you can let us know which one of these great devices you think should win the Best Car award for this year and give us your verdict on all, or some, of the other tech across the 17 categories.
Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 13 November in association with EE. Voting closes on 2 November.