The finalists for the 2019 Car of the Year award have been selected. The winner will be announced on the eve of the Geneva Show in March.
These seven cars have been selected by 60 jurors from across Europe, who simply name their top seven cars launched this year. Top Gear’s Paul Horrell is one of the jurors.
Car of the Year is the oldest and most widely-known of all car awards. After a second round of driving and voting, the award goes to a single car, with no sub-classes. Last year’s winner was the Volvo XC40.
It’s an interesting group of finalists this time, with the Alpine and electric Jaguar I-Pace making an appearance.
The last time a sports car won, it was the Porsche 928 in 1978, so although the Alpine is much-loved, many jurors might consider it a bit minority-interest.
The Jaguar could be in with more of a chance, as previous winners include the Mk2 Prius, the Leaf and the Ampera, with the Tesla Model S and BMW i3 also doing well in their respective year.
Other shortlisters are more conventional. Three mid-size hatches, a family crossover and a bigger hatch.
The jurors are all free to make a very personal judgment based on what they think is important about a car. Obviously questions of price vary by individual country, and so do dynamics. What works well on say, Danish roads, doesn’t always feel so good on say British or Greek.
However, all jurors are asked to give special emphasis to technical innovation and value for money. Other considerations mentioned in award’s rubric are “design, comfort, safety, economy, handling, performance, functionality, environmental requirements, driver satisfaction, and price”.
Perhaps the most notable absentee from the list is the new BMW 3 Series, which is eligible by virtue of its on-sale date, but which wasn’t available for test by enough jurors before the cutoff for the shortlist.