THE Volvo XC40 compact SUV has won one of Britain's top motoring honours, being voted the What Car? Car of the Year 2018 just four months after it went on sale.
The D4 diesel version of the XC40 beat all the other category winners to take Volvo's first ever overall win in the prestigious awards.
As well as securing Car of the Year title, the XC40 was named Family SUV of the Year - a new category for 2018.
What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: "The SUV segment is incredibly competitive, so it's testament to the brilliance of the XC40 that it stands out. With its mix of comfort and quality, safety and style, it excels in all the areas that are important to buyers.
"Of course, we were very aware that some people would still consider the XC40 a controversial choice due to the fact the best engine in the range is a diesel. However, our independent True MPG tests prove that this latest engine emits less NOx than plenty of petrols, while offering the low CO2 that made diesels so popular in the first place.
"Our judging panel refused to be swayed by the anti-diesel hysteria coming from politicians and some of the mainstream press and instead made their decision based purely on the merits of the cars. Our belief is that for many car buyers diesel remains the right economic and environmental choice - and for those that it doesn't suit, a petrol or electrified alternative is available.
"The fact is the Volvo XC40 is a stunning achievement and proves to car buyers everywhere that diesels are definitely not dead."
Volvo is the 19th car manufacturer to win an overall What Car? Car of the Year Award since the prize was fist awarded 40 years ago in 1978.
Jon Wakefield, managing director of Volvo Car UK, said: "Winning the overall Car of the Year Award is fantastic - not just for everyone here in the UK, but for Volvo as a global company. The XC40 perfectly showcases the bold new direction Volvo is taking, and brings our class-leading connectivity, semi-autonomous drive technology and innovative storage solutions to the premium family SUV market.
"We are immensely proud of the XC40, and for the experts at What Car? to award it their ultimate accolade is the perfect start to what will be a hugely significant year for Volvo."
The XC40 wasn't the only SUV launched in 2017 to make a big impression on the What Car? judges in the 40th anniversary awards.
Seat's latest offering, the Arona, took the Small SUV of the Year prize, while the Peugeot 5008 was named Large SUV of the Year.
Audi also had a successful night, scooping three awards: Executive Car of the Year with the A4, Coupe of the Year with the TT and Luxury SUV of the Year with the Q7
What Car? readers took the opportunity to voice their thoughts on the year ahead, voting Jaguar's first electric car, the I-PACE , the most exciting new car due to be launched in 2018.
A new True MPG Award was introduced this year and given to the Suzuki Ignis - the most efficient car the title has ever tested, with an average of 59.6mpg in real-world driving conditions.
Volvo took another trophy home, after its XC60 won the Safety Award, while Tesla was handed the Technology Award for blazing a trail in the automotive industry with its forward-thinking, innovative mind-set.
The full list of winners in this year's awards is:
Less than £9,500 - Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ2
£9,500 - £11,000 - Skoda Citigo 1.0 60 SE 5dr
More than Â£11,000 - Kia Picanto 1.25 ‘3'
WINNER - Kia Picanto 1.25 ‘3'
Less than £12,000 - Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe Ambiance
£12,000 - £20,000 - Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 FR
More than £20,000 - Mini 5-Door Hatchback 1.5T Cooper Chili Media XL
WINNER - SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 FR
Less than £18,000 - Seat Leon 1.2 TSI SE Dynamic Technology
£18,000-£22,000 - Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L
More than £22,000 - Audi A3 Sportback 1.5 TFSI 150 Sport
WINNER - Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L
Less than £16,000 - Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ4
£16,000 - £20,000 - Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 95 SE Technology
More than £20,000 - Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI 150
WINNER - Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 95 SE Technology
Less than £20,000 - Seat Ateca 1.0 TSI Ecomotive 115 S
£20,000 - £30,000 - Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150 SE L
More than £30,000 - Volvo XC40 D4 R Design
WINNER - Volvo XC40 D4 R Design
Less than £27,000 - Peugeot 5008 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure
£27,000-£35,000 - Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 2WD Sport Nav
More than £35,000 - Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro Sport
WINNER - Peugeot 5008 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure
Less than £60,000 - Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 272 quattro S Line
£60,000-£100,000 - Land Rover Discovery Td6 HSE Luxury
More than £100,000 - Bentley Bentayga V8 diesel
WINNER - Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro 272 S Line
Less than £20,000 - Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.4 140 Turbo Design
£20,000 - £27,000 - Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI 115 SE
More than £27,000 - Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec
WINNER - Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI 115 SE
Less than £18,000 - Skoda Fabia Estate 1.0 TSI 95 SE
£18,000 - £25,000 - Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology
More than £25,000 - BMW 5 Series Touring 520d SE
WINNER - Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology
Less than £20,000 - Ford Fiesta 1.0T Ecoboost 140 St-line 3dr
£20,000 - £30,000 - Hyundai i30N
More than £30,000 - Honda Civic Type R GT
WINNER - Honda Civic Type R GT
Less than £25,000 - Mazda MX-5 2.0 SE-L Nav
£25,000 - £35,000 - Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.5 TFSI Sport
More than £35,000 - Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI 190 Sport
WINNER - Mazda MX-5 2.0 SE-L Nav
Less than £30,000 - Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport
£30,000 - £50,000 - Audi A5 Coupé 3.0 TDI quattro Sport
More than £50,000 - Aston Martin DB11 V8
WINNER - Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport
SPORTS AND PERFORMANCE CAR
Less than £50,000 - Porsche Cayman 2.0 litre
£50,000 - £100,000 - Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
More than £100,000 - McLaren 540C
WINNER - Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Less than £20,000 - Renault Zoe Q90 Z.E. 40 Dynamique Nav
£20,000 - £40,000 - Nissan Leaf N-Connecta
More than £40,000 - Tesla Model S 75D
WINNER - Nissan Leaf N-Connecta
Less than £25,000 - Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium
£25,000 - £35,000 - Volkswagen Passat GTE Advance
More than £35,000 - Audi Q7 E-tron
WINNER - Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium
Less than £25,000 - Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology
£25,000 - £35,000 - Audi A4 2.0 TDI 190 Ultra Sport S Tronic
More than £35,000 - Kia Stinger GT-S
WINNER - Audi A4 2.0 TDI 190 Ultra Sport S Tronic
Less than £50,000 - BMW 5 Series 520d SE
£50,000 - £100,000 - Audi A8 50 TDI Long Wheelbase
More than £100,000 - Rolls-Royce Ghost EWB
WINNER - BMW 5 Series 520d SE
TRUE MPG AWARD
WINNER: Suzuki Ignis
COMMENDED: Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 2WD
COMMENDED: Toyota Yaris Hybrid
WINNER: Jaguar I-PACE
COMMENDED: Citroen C5 Aircross
COMMENDED: Audi E-Tron
WINNER: Volvo XC60
COMMENDED: Subaru XV
COMMENDED: Volkswagen T-Roc
COMMENDED: Mercedes-Benz S500
COMMENDED: Nissan Leaf two-way charging
CAR OF THE YEAR
Volvo XC40 D4 R Design