Both the French and the English have a decent share of the hatch market. Peugeot, Citroen, and the Citroen sibling, DS, all have notable models in the category with decent sales – both historically and in the present day with the likes of the 308, C4 and DS4. Renault have also enjoyed decent sales with the Megane and Clio whilst the new Renault 5 looks truly stunning (more on that to come).
Vauxhall champion the English effort with the historically well-selling Corsa and Astra while the MINI (yes we’re classing them as English) 3 and 5 door hatch are both well-selling models.
Given the Corsa and MINI are both in the top 10 best selling cars of 2022 list, there’s an argument to give England a one-nil lead, but the depth of the French manufacturers means this opening category is going to ‘les blues’.
France 1 – 0 England - France take the lead…
The French effort is again championed by the popular Renault – Citroen – Peugeot triple axis but the depth of true quality saloons isn’t quite as strong in the hatch category. There’s the 508 and DS9 that both look the part whist the Renault Arkana is worth a mention, but nothing overly exciting to really get you out of your chair.
Jaguar (yes we’re still classing them as English, too) come to the fore here with the XE and XF. Both well built saloons that are easy on the eye and great to drive but after that we’re lacking depth. Given the quality Jaguar offering we’re going to give this one to the English.
France 1 – 1 England - England draw level
5. 4x4 / SUV
We’re going to start with England’s offering here because there’s absolutely tonnes to choose from and this is a bit of a slam dunk. Yes, some of these venture into the luxury category that we’ll get to later, but there are scores of models from Land Rover, Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin that outdo anything the French have to offer.
France 1 – 2 England
The Jaguar I-PACE and MINI Electric are both great purpose-built electric cars that arguably swing this one England’s way.
The biggest form of competition comes from the all-new Renault 5 Electric, which is a real show-stopper. The Renault 5 is widely considered to be a bit of a cult classic, largely thanks to the GT Turbo model which went on to become one of the most iconic hot-hatches of all time and the new model has been styled superbly. However, given it’s still in concept form and won’t be for sale until 2024, it’s nomination can’t be put forward and so England take a 2 point lead.
France 1 – 3 England - Who do you think will win the the ‘Classic’ category, see on the next slide…
France have some strong nominations here with the fantastic Citroen 2CV, Renault 5 GT Turbo and Peugeot 205 GTi. The Venturi 400 GT also deserves an honourable mention even if it looked like the designer had copied Ferrari’s homework from the F40.
But again the English entries are formidable and arguably world-beating. The Jaguar E-type is, in this writers mind, the most attractive car ever built with the DB5 running it close. After that it’s simply how much time do you have – the original MINI, Land Rover Defender, McLaren F1, Jaguar XJ220, Lotus Espirit and who can forget the Morris Minor.
France 1 – 4 England - France need some emergency subs!
The French have little depth here but what they do have is quite astonishing through Bugatti. When the Veyron was first revealed it was truly staggering and hyper-cars had clearly gone to a new level. Since then they haven’t stopped, the Cheyron was next off the production line and the latest model, the Mistral, is the fastest roadster in the world.
It will also be interesting to see what Renault offshoot – Alpine – does in this space over the next few years.
Sports cars are something that English car markers have always excelled in. A whole host of McLaren and Aston Martin models could be put forward as star nominations while at the slightly more attainable end, Lotus have created some crackers with the like of the Elise.
We’ll give this one to the French to show we’re not overly biased.
France 2 – 4 England - Final Score
Last but not least is the luxury category and once more this is a bit of a non-contest. English luxury cars are the most famous on the planet with Bentley, Aston, Land Rover and Rolls-Royce all creating cars that celebrities and the mega-rich simply have to own.
Although the French have Bugatti as mentioned above, there really isn’t much to shout about after that.
France 2 – 5 England
Agree with our write up or do you think the French should take the spoils? Let us know in the comments below.