For the December issue of Which? magazine, our researchers nominated and voted for their products of the year – whittling down 3,500 products to just 50 based on performance, innovation or value.
Having tested a huge range of products, from those made for the home and garden to the latest tech, cars and many categories in between – our top 10 contains a diverse selection of products from a tiny speaker to an extraordinarily cheap smartphone to a reusable coffee cup.
However it was an electric vehicle (EV) that won our staff vote and was crowned top of Which?’s products of the year review for 2019.
We concluded that the Hyundai Kona Electric is an excellent EV which makes one of the strongest cases yet for people to make the switch to emissions-free driving.
Our independent tests found that where the Kona Electric really impresses is in its driving range. While some mainstream opponents Which? tested managed only 124 miles on a full charge, the Kona Electric managed 233 miles. To drive any further on a single charge you’d have to sink vastly more into a Tesla, of which the cheapest – the Model 3 – is around £7,000 more. For this you’ll get just 31 more miles, based on Which?’s expert tests.
Researchers found that not only does the Kona EV’s electric drivetrain have the potential for vastly reducing both running costs and has zero exhaust emissions, it also improves the driving experience, being far smoother, quieter and more refined than Hyundai’s petrol alternative.
Electric cars are tested to the same rigorous standards as all new vehicles we review. Combining the new industry standard WLTC test cycle and our own unique motorway driving cycle, we’re able to accurately determine just how far an electric car will get you on a single charge.
Before each EV test, the car is charged to full capacity and, just like other vehicles, the air conditioning is set to 20 degrees and daytime running lights (or low beams) are on throughout the cycle.
What’s more, the transformation to a zero-emissions car hasn’t affected practicality, with the Kona EV packing the same maximum 1,070-litre load space as the petrol version.
For Which?’s guide to the best electric cars, visit here.
Our overall top 10 was dominated by products which showcased innovation, environmental credentials or bargain value.
Coming in second place was a miniscule speaker that packs a big punch. The Sony SRS-XB01 is smaller than 10cm in width, height and depth, but we found it achieved a beautifully clear and driven sound from a tiny apple-sized Bluetooth speaker – and at a bargain price as well. Its secret is an innovative hidden passive radiator that effectively enhances bass frequencies.
Completing the top three was the Ikea Malfors mattress. Despite a bargain basement price tag and simple foam design, it provides better support for people’s spines than many other mattresses, including luxurious handmade mattresses costing 10 times more.
It performed well in our rigorous tests that include running a barrel over a mattress thousand of times to simulate 10 years of use and it was found to be breathable, long-lasting and excellent at preventing the transfer of movement from one side of the bed to the other.
Another environmentally-friendly pick at number six in the list was the rCUP Leakproof Travel Cup – the world’s first reusable cup to be made from recycled paper cups. It impressed our testers and has an excellent lock mechanism to prevent leaking, while retaining heat well.
But it was the Kona Electric which impressed the most and came in at number one. It isn’t just an excellent and affordable EV, it’s an excellent car full stop. That’s what makes it both a game-changer and our pick as the product of 2019.
Which?’s electric car charging guide.
About the author
Harry has been editor of Which? magazine since 2018 and before that was Which? Money editor. Which? is a consumer champion that works to make things better for consumers. Which?’s advice helps them make informed decisions and its campaigns make people’s lives fairer, simpler and safer.
Harry is a three-time winner of the BSME Editor of the Year award in the Specialist and Business & Finance categories.