The Golf had to beat off three similar-sized cars on this year's shortlist. The Volvo V40 came reasonably close; the Mercedes A-class was a way behind, and the Hyundai i30 trailed further.
The Golf's win was no particular surprise to anyone, because it's such an comprehensively superb execution of a kind of car that has done well in CotY before. Maybe also the judges wanted a mainstream choice after the past two year's winners, the Chevy Volt/Vauxhall Ampera, and the Nissan Leaf.
The announcement was done in a Eurovision styleeee, in the Geneva show halls, the first official event of the show. Every judge's points were read out in sequence, so no-one knew beforehand which car had won.
As the points rolled in, there were some visibly peeved executives from companies that didn't win. Which just goes to show the importance they put on the prize.
Overall points from 58 judges and 22 countries went like this:
Golf 414; Toyobaru 202; Volvo V40 189; Ford B-Max 148; Mercedes A-class 138; Clio 128; Peugeot 208 120; Hyundai i30 111.
Top Gear's Paul Horrell is a juror. He's got a history of voting differently from the rest of them, but this year he largely agreed. His votes went like this: Golf 10 points; BRZ/GT86 4 points; Volvo V40 4 points; A-class, B-Max and Clio all 2 points, Hyundai i30 0 points.
His official judgment read like this:
"I've given points for the amazing scope of VW's new platform set, but mostly I'm recognising that the Golf itself is near-faultless. Its suspension refinement, engines, cabin quality and lasting design mean that two of the hatchbacks here, the Mercedes and Hyundai, just feel like patchy Golf impersonators. Most A-class versions have noisy diesels and ill-matched chassis calibrations. The i30 lacks good petrol engines.
"The Volvo drives well and is more individual, thanks to a lovely 'Scandinavian' interior with great ergonomics, and its safety innovations.
"I like the Peugeot's compactness and lively steering, but not its busy ride. The Clio feels more grown-up. But neither is a clear supermini leader, so can't be Car of the Year. The B-Max's doors are clever, but like all mini-MPVs it's expensive for its size: why not buy a Focus?
"The GT86/BRZ? Hmm... we motoring writers love it, but it won't be influential because there are few people like us out in the real world."
A worthy winner, Internet?