The revered title of Car of the Year has been given out in Europe since 1964. It is awarded by a pan-European panel of judges, and it highlights the very ‘best’ car from the previous 12 months.
At the beginning there 26 journalists from nine countries who picked the winner, and now the panel has grown to 60 men and women from 23 countries.
Almost any car can win it. Hatchbacks, sports cars, saloons and SUVs have all been European Car of the Year at some point since its introduction in 1964.
The Volvo XC40 was announced as this year’s winner on March 5, the eve of the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.
Here are all of the models that have won the coveted award.
1964: Rover 2000
Rover 2000 won first place ahead of the Mercedes 600 and the rear-engined Hillman Imp.
1965: Austin 1800
Austin 1800 won first place ahead Autobianchi Primula. The Ford Mustang finished in third place.
1966: Renault 16
Renault clinched the first.Next two positions: the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and Oldsmobile Toronado.
1967: Fiat 124
Fiat 124 won first place.
Runners-up: BMW 1600 and Jensen FF.
1968: NSU Ro 80
The NSU Ro 80 the first German make and only car with a Wankel rotary engine to win the CotY prize.
Runners-up: Fiat 125 and Simca 1100.
1969: Peugeot 504
Designed by Pininfarina, the 504 was a great sales success for Peugeot.
Runners-up: BMW 2500/2800 and Alfa Romeo 1750/2000.
1970: Fiat 128
Fiat was the first brand to win the Car of the Year trophy for the second time.
Runners-up: Autobianchi A112 and Renault 12.
1971: Citroen GS
In 1971 Citroen won its first CotY victory ahead of VW K 70 and another Citroen: the SM.
1972: Fiat 127
Fiat again,saw the crown go to the 127.
Runners-up: Renault 15/17 and Mercedes 350 SL.
1973: Audi 80
Audi 80 won by only five points ahead of the Renault 5, and third place went to Alfa Romeo’s Alfetta.
1974: Mercedes 450 SE
Luxury Mercedes S-Class won Car of the Year. To this day, it is the only victory for Mercedes.
Fiat X1/9 came second and the Honda Civic third.
1975: Citroen CX
The Golf only finished second in front of the Audi 50 and behind the Citroen CX.
1977: Rover 3500
Rover won with the successor model to the 2200. Runners-up: Audi 100 and Ford Fiesta.
1978: Porsche 928
Porsche 928 was the first and only sports car to win CotY. Runners-up in 1978: BMW 7 Series and Ford Granada.
1979: Simca Horizon
Simca took the CotY prize. Close behind: Fiat Ritmo and Audi 80.
1980: Lancia Delta
The Delta triumphed over the Vauxhall Astra and the Peugeot 505 in 1980.
1981: Ford Escort
Ford Escort prevailed just a small amount ahead of the Fiat Panda and Austin Metro.
1982: Renault 9
The Renault 9 was Car of the Year in front of the Vauxhall Cavalier and the Volkswagen Polo.
1983: Audi 100
Audi 100 took first place ahead of Ford Sierra. Third place remained for the square Volvo 760.
1984: Fiat Uno
Uno is the Italian word for one, and the small Fiat took number one place. Runners-up: Peugeot 205 and VW Golf.
1985: Vauxhall Astra
Astra won ahead of Renault 25 and Lancia Thema.
1986: Ford Scorpio
The W124 Mercedes E-Class came third place,ahead of the Lancia Y10 and the overall winner, the Ford Scorpio.
1987: Vauxhall Carlton
Vauxhall Carlton saloon prevailed over the Audi 80 and BMW 7 Series.
1988: Peugeot 405
464 points for the Peugeot 405 meant a lead of 212 points over the second-placed Citroen AX. Third place went to the Honda Prelude.
1989: Fiat Tipo
The Fiat Tipo was Car of the Year in 1989. Runners-up: Vauxhall Vectra and VW Passat.
1990: Citroen XM
Citroen CX’s successor, the XM,won the Car of the Year title. Runners-up: Mercedes SL and Ford Fiesta.
1991: Renault Clio
Nissan Primera finished second behind the Renault Clio, but ahead of the Vauxhall Calibra.
1992: VW Golf
VW Golf won ahead of its arch-rival, the Vauxhall Astra and the Citroen ZX.
1993: Nissan Micra
The first Japanese car to win CotY . The runners-up: Fiat Cinquecento and Renault Safrane.
1994: Ford Mondeo
Ford Mondeo was able to hold its ground ahead of the Citroen Xantia and the Mercedes C-Class.
1995: Fiat Punto
Punto (Italian for ‘point’) placed ahead of the VW Polo and the Vauxhall Omega.
1996: Fiat Bravo/Brava
The Fiat Bravo and Brava prevailed against the Peugeot 406 and the Audi A4.
1997: Renault Megane Scenic
Renault Megane Scenic MPV won the CotY trophy ahead of the Ford Ka and Volkswagen Passat.
1998: Alfa Romeo 156
It was awarded a clear win in front of the Volkswagen Golf and the Audi A6.
1999: Ford Focus
The Ford Focus won the Car of the Year in 1999, beating the Vauxhall Astra and Peugeot 206.
2000: Toyota Yaris
Toyota Yaris won ahead of the Fiat Multipla.Third place went to the Vauxhall Zafira.
2001: Alfa Romeo 147
147 overtook the Ford Mondeo by only 1 point.Toyota Prius was only 10 points short of the gold medal.
2002: Peugeot 307
The Peugeot 307 won ahead of the Renault Laguna and Fiat Stilo.
2003: Renault Megane
In 2003 the Renault Megane won, followed by the Mazda 6 and the Citroen C3.
2004: Fiat Panda
The Fiat Panda won the CotY prize ahead of the Mazda 3 and the Volkswagen Golf.
2005: Toyota Prius
The new edition of Toyota Prius won the Car of the Year. Runners-up: Citroen C4 and Ford Focus.
2006: Renault Clio
Renault Clio won by a narrow margin ahead of Volkswagen Passat and finished third with Alfa Romeo 159.
2007: Ford S-Max
235 points for the Ford S-Max, 233 points for the Vauxhall Corsa and 222 points for the Citroen C4 Picasso.
2008: Fiat 500
Fiat 500 won the CotY. Runners-up: the Mazda 2 and the Ford Mondeo.
2009: Vauxhall Insignia
Vauxhall Insignia won by just one point ahead of the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Golf.
2010: Volkswagen Polo
The Volkswagen Polo won ahead of the Smart Fortwo-like Toyota iQ and the Vauxhall Astra.
2011: Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf was the first electric vehicle to win .The other seats: Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Vauxhall Meriva.
2012: Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt
Vauxhall Ampera alias Chevrolet secured the crown before the Volkswagen Up and the Ford Focus.
2013: Volkswagen Golf
VW Golf has over 200 points ahead of Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ and the Volvo V40.
2014: Peugeot 308
Car of the Year award went to Peugeot 308 ahead of the BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S.
2015: Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Passat won CotY. Behind came the Citroen C4 Cactus and the Mercedes C-Class.
2016: Vauxhall Astra
The then-new Astra won ahead of the Volvo XC90 and the Mazda MX-5.
2017: Peugeot 3008
The Giulia left the Mercedes E-Class behind, but it was taken down by eventual winner, the Peugeot 3008.
2018: Volvo XC40
First victory for Volvo.The XC40, the small SUV won ahead of the Seat Ibiza and BMW 5 Series.
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