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2021 Car of the Year candidates revealed

Chris Chilton

24 Dec 2020


The nominations for the prestigious European Car of the Year are in, and with cars as varied as the new Land Rover Defender and Dacia Sandero squaring off against each other, it’s clear the judges have some seriously tough decisions to make.

A total of 29 cars have been nominated, the criteria being each must be new, and on sale in at least five European countries before the end of 2020.

One of the most fascinating battles will be between the Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen ID.3 EV, which will be great news for Volkswagen whichever way the votes fall.

But VW isn’t the only carmaker with multiple entries: Mercedes has four cars in the list of 29 (GLA, GLB, GLS and S-class), Hyundai has three (i10, i20 and Tuscon) and Toyota, Honda and BMW all have pairs of entries.

Jaguar’s I-Pace took top honours in 2019 and electric cars are well represented in the 2021 line-up. Besides the ID.3, there’s the Honda E, Fiat 500, Mazda MX-30 and Polestar 2, while Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Mirai also makes an appearance.

And, of course, there are SUVs galore, including the Formentor, the first car from Seat’s Cupra sub-brand and Peugeot’s 2008.

Here’s the full list:

From that list of 29, the 60 judges will select a shortlist of seven cars to put forward to the second round of judging. Those seven will be announced on January 8th, and the overall winner will be revealed on March 1st.

The winner will depose the Peugeot 208 supermini, and while high-end cars like the S-class are on this year’s list, the judges tend not to favour expensive cars.

Exceptions include the I-Pace (2019), Citroën SM (1990), Porsche 928 (1978), Mercedes 450SE (1974) and the very first COTY winner, the Rover 2000 (1964), all of which were praised for their use of technology.

What’s your money on?

Chris Chilton

24 Dec 2020