The Nissan Leaf has won the 2011 European Car of the Year gong, it was announced today. It's the first electric car to win the award.
The European Car of the Year whittled down 41 contenders to a shortlist of seven. The Leaf beat off competition from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroen C3/DS3, Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max, Vauxhall Meriva and Volvo S60/V60.
European Car of the Year 2011: the results
The Leaf narrowly won this year, with only 13 points separating the top three cars on the podium:
1st Nissan Leaf 257 points
2nd Alfa Romeo Giulietta 248 points
3rd Vauxhall Meriva 244 points
4th Ford C-Max 224 points
5th Citroen C3/DS3 175 points
6th Volvo S60/V60 145 points
7th Dacia Duster 132 points
CAR has two of the 59 journalists across Europe who decide the COTY winner: editor Phil McNamara and European editor Georg Kacher are both on the judging panel.
McNamara, who put the Leaf in first place, said: 'Nissan is extending consumer’s powertrain choice, and if the Leaf fits your lifestyle, it’s an impeccably civilised way to transport five people. At a micro level, it produces no air or noise pollution – a novel feat that must be hailed. There are hurdles to overcome: recharging points, grid demands, the cost and weight of batteries. But unless car makers take EVs from theory to reality, we will never get to address and master these issues. Nissan is taking the lead, and the Leaf is a breath of fresh air in so many ways. Consequently it’s my Car of the Year.'
A history of Eurovision: past winners of European Car of the Year
In the past decade, the following cars have won the European Car of the Year title:
2010 VW Polo
2009 Vauxhall Insignia
2008 Fiat 500
2007 Ford S-Max
2006 Renault Clio
2005 Toyota Prius
2004 Fiat Panda
2003 Renault Megane
2002 Peugeot 307
2001 Alfa Romeo 147
2000 Toyota Yaris
The readers decide: who you think should win COTY 2011
We asked you who should win the 2011 European Car of the Year - and here's how you voted. Seems you applaud the technical innovation of the Alfa above all else.