• Swedish SUV generates 227% increase in review traffic since winning What Car? Car of the Year Award on January 23
  • Britain’s biggest consumer motoring brand reports 88% year-on-year increase in review page visitors and average 29% increase for COTY category award winners
  • SUV sector still dominates consumer interest, producing all top 10 reviews

The number of potential car buyers searching for Volvo’s new XC40 online directly after the car won the What Car? Car of the Year Award was comparable to the launch of the car in September last year.

The Swedish SUV won the industry’s most prestigious consumer prize at the What Car? Awards on January 23, where it was also named the best family SUV.

Overall, traffic to What Car?’s review pages for January 2018 was up a massive 88% compared with the same month last year, with unique page views up 71%.

But, during the final week of January, traffic to the XC40’s review page on What Car? itself leapt by a whopping 227%, with review traffic for the other category winners from the Awards up by an average of nearly a third (29%).

In general, the ever-growing SUV sector into which the XC40 falls continues to dominate consumer interest in new cars. The top 10 most searched for car reviews on What Car? during January were all SUVs, led by the Volkswagen T-Roc, Skoda Karoq and Seat’s pair of SUV models – the Arona and Ateca.

Top 10 most searched for car reviews on What Car?

PositionModelReview traffic in Jan ‘18
1Volkswagen T-Roc74k
2Skoda Karoq72k
3Seat Arona53k
4Seat Ateca53k
5Nissan Qashqai48k
6Volvo XC4045k
7Audi Q236k
8Skoda Kodiaq32k
9Suzuki Vitara31k
10BMW X129k


What Car? editor, Steve Huntingford, said: “While the Volvo XC40 is mid-table in the top 10, since it scooped the Car of the Year award on January 23 it has been our most-read review by a country mile.

“It just goes to show the power of winning the What Car? Car of the Year Award, and not just the value it carries for the manufacturer, but also the opportunity it presents for the dealer network.

“The award is a great opportunity for dealers to capitalise on this wave of interest in the XC40.” Overall in January, four of the five most searched for car brands on What Car? come from the VW Group, with VW, Audi and Skoda leading the way, BMW in fourth and Seat fifth.

PSA’s luxury brand DS was the biggest winner year-on-year, with interest on the site increasing by 183% on the same point last year. At the other end of the scale, another prestige brand, Infiniti, had the biggest decrease in interest over the same period, down 43%.

Interest in electric cars got a boost last month from Nissan’s new Leaf, which was the most popular car review uploaded in the first month of 2018. Reviews for the Volkswagen Up GTI and DS7 Crossback completed the top three.

The most popular first drive stories on the site were the Up GTI, VW Polo GTI and Subaru XV.

Further analysis of What Car?’s Car of the Year data can be found in the latest edition of What Car? Insight, which takes a monthly look the brand’s online data, and features an interview with a prominent figure in the car industry.

Related Articles