The seven finalists for the 2014 European Car of the Year award have been announced, voted for by a jury of 58 members from 22 European countries.
These models will now undergo tests in France next February, before a winner is announced at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3rd 2014.
So which are the final seven cars in the running? We’ve got them all here, complete with a brief rundown of what they’re all about and why they’re in for a shot of winning…
BMW’s ‘car of tomorrow’, the electric i3 combines cool tech with brand image and (relative) affordability, nabbing it a place in the top seven. As well as electric only, it’s also available with a range-extender, defeating range anxiety.
When we tested the BMW i3 we found it genuinely enjoyable to drive and described it as ground-breaking, making it a worthy contender for Car of the Year.
Citroen C4 Picasso
Don’t think people carriers can be cool? Citroen doesn’t agree – the C4 Picasso looks like it’s come straight from Star Trek (ok, maybe not that cool…) and is packed with technology – such as the lane departure warning that tugs on your seatbelt whenever you look like you’re going to stray across a white line.
Not only is the new Mazda 3 great to drive, its SkyActiv technology means its one of the most efficient cars in its sector. While not being small, the 2.2-litre diesel manages 72.4mpg and emits 104g/km CO2.
When we drove the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class we described it as ‘the best car in the world’. That’s pretty conclusive – if it’s the best car in the world, surely it should win Car of the Year? The ride quality makes the clichéd magic carpet look like it uses leaf springs – and Clarkson wasn’t telling lies when he said the S-Class is a good preview of what technology we’ll see on ordinary cars in years to come.
Perhaps one of the most surprising manufacturers to make the shortlist, Peugeot is hoping the 308 will be a serious contender for the Volkswagen Golf. When we tested the 308 we concluded that it was “a genuine Golf rival and a car that makes the Audi A3 look much too expensive” – praise indeed!
The Octavia has always been a bit odd – being based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf and Seat Leon, yet sitting between the Golf and Passat size-wise. If you look at it like a mini-Volkswagen Passat with a Skoda badge it’s a bit of a bargain, and you don’t need us to tell you how far Skoda has come in recent years.
Tesla Model S
If the Tesla Model S won the 2014 Car of the Year award, it’d probably be the most unusual winner ever. First shown at Frankfurt in 2009, the Model S is only just arriving in the UK.
It’s powered by either a 60kWh or 85kWh battery pack – and with prices starting at £49,900 it’s expected to be a left-field alternative to the likes of the BMW 5-Series.