TopGear.com05 March 2012

Ampera wins 2012 Euro car of the year

Vauxhall's electric hatchback takes coveted crown on eve of Geneva motor show

Vauxhall Ampera

The Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt has won the 2012 European Car of the Year award. The final votes were counted at a ceremony kicking off the Geneva Motor Show.

It finished a clear 49 votes ahead of the second-placed Volkswagen Up, and five others which made up the seven-strong shortlist. Third placed was the Ford Focus - a good car but a bit conventional and not far enough ahead of class rivals - followed by the Range Rover Evoque; an excellent showing because SUVs have never done well in the past, and neither have upmarket cars.

The Fiat Panda lost out convincingly to its Up rival.

Trailing the VW came the Citroen DS5, a favourite here at TG but always a patchy car. The UK judges all gave it a kicking for its bony ride. The Toyota Yaris completed the shortlist in seventh place, and while the original won this very award in 2000, successive generations haven't moved on enough.

Top Gear correspondent Paul Horrell was one of 59 jurors from across Europe who voted on the award, opting for the Vauxhall Ampera and VW Up as top two, but had the Range Rover Evoque above the Ford Focus.

He said of the Vauxhall Ampera: "If people can get green electricity, they can drive green for their commute, but even when the combustion engine kicks in they can expect reasonable fuel economy on long journeys.

"Beyond that, it's a satisfying car, with the usual quiet responsiveness of electric drive, and it's notably smooth-riding while still being pleasant to steer."

The final tally:

Vauxhall Ampera: 330
Volkswagen Up: 281
Ford Focus: 256
Range Rover Evoque: 186
Fiat Panda: 156
Citroen DS5: 144
Toyota Yaris: 122

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