Vauxhall Ampera is 2012 European Car of the Year | CAR Magazine

Vauxhall/Opel Ampera crowned 2012 European Car of the Year

Published: 05 March 2012 Updated: 26 January 2015

The Opel/Vauxhall Ampera has been crowned European Car of the Year for 2012.

The winner was announced today at a ceremony at the 2012 Geneva motor show. The votes of the 59 jurors from 23 European countries ranked the Ampera first, from a shortlist comprising Citroen DS5, Fiat Panda, Ford Focus, Opel/Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt, Range Rover Evoque, Toyota Yaris and Volkswagen Up.

The Ampera’s victory means an electric car has won for the past two years; last year’s winner was the pure electric Nissan Leaf. The Ampera (also sold as the Chevrolet Volt, and going on sale soon as a Vauxhall) moved the game on with its plug-in hybrid capability: its 40 mile electric range is backed up by a small petrol engine which acts as a generator, eliminating the compromises of the Leaf’s range.

The scores were revealed country by country, with the Up and Ampera jockeying for the lead before Opel carved out a 49-point winning margin from the VW Up, with Ford’s Focus ranking third. The Evoque came fourth, followed by the Panda, DS5 and Yaris. 

Car of the Year president Hakan Matson presented the trophy to Opel boss Karl Stracke and Chevrolet Europe managing director Susan Docherty. ‘We were up against some incredible competition, so it feels terrific to have Ampera and Volt win this prestigious award,’ said Docherty.

CAR has two writers on the Car of the Year jury, Phil McNamara and Georg Kacher. Each juror gets 25 points to distribute among the seven shortlisted cars, with his or her top-ranked car having to score at least one point more than the second-placed car. McNamara ranked the Ampera first ahead of the Up and Evoque, while Kacher plumped for the Evoque, with the Ampera and Panda trailing close behind.

Click here to read exactly how Georg Kacher voted   

Click here to read exactly how Phil McNamara voted

>> Did the jurors make the right call? And what did you make of the shortlist? Give us your feedback below by clicking ‘Add your comment’

By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large