The shortlist has been released for the Car of the Year 2018, and European manufacturers dominate the nominations, taking 6 of the 7 prized spots.
The international award is adjudicated by a panel of senior motoring journalists from across Europe. Its aim is to award the most outstanding new car to go on sale in the 12 months prior to the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018, where the winner will be announced.
The seven cars selected this year are the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi A8, BMW 5 Series, Citroen C3 Aircross, Kia Stinger, Seat Ibiza and Volvo XC40, demonstrating a wide variety of cars that attracted the attention of the jury of 60 members from 23 countries.
The Stelvio, for example, is a large SUV, whereas Kia’s Stinger is their affordable mid-sized sport luxury car. Elsewhere, Citroen’s new funky small SUV the Aircross is up for consideration, alongside perennial heavy-hitters from Audi and BMW. Elsewhere, Volvo’s crossover (the XC40) is placed alongside Seat’s bestselling car, the Ibiza supermini.
Despite the variety of classes, this is a single prize. There are no category awards in the Car of the Year competition. Criteria that is used in the selection process includes design, comfort, safety, economy, handling, performance, functionality, environmental requirements, driver satisfaction, and price.
The testing process for inclusion in the shortlist is rigorous. The list of seven were narrowed down from an initial longlist of 37 new models that have been launched to the European market this year. All these models were brought to Denmark for a week-long test event back in October.
Now that the journalists – including Ireland’s sole representative Michael McAleer from The Irish Times – have whittled it down to seven, a new series of tests will be held to help determine the winner. These events will include a two-day judging session at the world-renowned Mortefontaine car testing and research centre in France, where the contenders can be put through their paces on the custom-made driving tracks.
The competition is organised by the following seven motoring publications: Auto (Italy), Autocar (UK), Autopista (Spain), Autovisie (The Netherlands), L’Automobile Magazine (France), Stern (Germany), Vi BilÄgare (Sweden).
The first winner was the Rover 2000, which picked up the award in 1964. Last year’s winner was the Peugeot 3008, which recently won the Continental Irish Car of the Year. The next recipient of the trophy will be announced on 5 March 2018.