The Ford Puma has been crowned the What Car? Car of the Year 2020, with the model praised by judges for “being fun to drive, cleverly packaged and well priced”.

The first Ford to use the Puma name in almost 20 years, the model also won the Small SUV category, seeing off competition from models including the Audi Q2 and Skoda Kamiq.

Announced at What Car?’s 43rd annual awards ceremony in London, What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “As a small SUV, the Ford Puma competes in one of the fastest-growing sectors of the car market. Crucially, it also excels in all the areas that are important to buyers, according to our research.

“Thanks to its sharp handling, gutsy engine and clever mild hybrid technology, it offers a mix of fun and frugality not previously seen among its competitors. Plus, it’s as practical as it is stylish. In short, the Ford Puma is truly outstanding.”

Roelant de Waard, vice president, Ford of Europe Marketing, Sales & Service, said: “It’s a great honour for the Ford Puma to be named as What Car?’s Car of the Year for 2020. We’re all excited to see the return of the Puma name on a stylish and dynamic small SUV that reflects today’s customer aspirations.”

Three new categories were introduced for 2020, reflecting the growing demand for electric vehicles and SUVs: Small Electric Car, Large Electric Car and Coupe SUV. These titles were awarded to the Renault Zoe, Tesla Model 3 and Range Rover Velar respectively.

Elsewhere, BMW’s 3 Series won Best Executive Car, Best Plug-In Hybrid and the Safety Award, while the bigger 5 Series was named Best Luxury Car.

The Skoda Scala was named as Best Family Car and the Skoda Superb the Best Estate. Audi won the Best Luxury SUV award with the Q7, and Best Coupe with the TT. The prized Reader Award, voted for by the public, went to the new Land Rover Defender. The brand saw further success with the Range Rover Evoque awarded Best Family SUV.