The seven finalists for the 2011 Car of the Year award have been revealed, including the Nissan Leaf

As an unmistakable sign of changing times, Europe’s most prestigious automotive accolade, the 2011 Car of the Year Award could be awarded to a pure electric car for the first time.

The seven-car shortlist, launched today, includes Nissan’s revolutionary Leaf, on sale in Europe from the beginning of next year, and scheduled to be built in Britain at Nissan’s Sunderland plant from 2013.

See a pic of all seven of the contenders

The other cars shortlisted for the 2011 competition are the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroen C3/DS3, Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Volvo S60/V60. The results will be seen as early affirmation of the broadened appeal of the new Golf-sized Alfa (first to use an all-new platform) and also reflect the abrupt improvement of Citroen’s supermini models.

The good reception for the Ford C-Max bodes well for next year’s Focus hatchback, which uses the same mechanicals and is a contender to become one of the world’s best-selling cars beyond 2011.

Read the full story on last year's contest, won by the VW Polo

And the revived Volvo company, recently sold to Chinese owner Geely, will be buoyed by the success of the sleek S60 and its estate offshoot, produced under the company’s period of Ford ownership. The success of Opel-Vauxhall’s Meriva, much improved and now related under the skin to the larger Zafira people-carrier, maintains the preference the 59-strong jury, from 23 countries, has traditionally shows for compact people-carriers.

COTY was among the first to recognise the type, giving the award to the Renault Megane Scenic in 1997.

Steve Cropley

See all the latest Nissan Leaf reviews, news and video

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Comments
22

2 November 2010

Surely its got to be the Alfa? The leaf will have very limited appeal in its lifetime I think, so unlikely to be seen or driven by that many people, whereas there are already a lot of new Alfa customers I think in the Giulitta, a sign that the car is now a realistic choice for punters.

To live is to drive

2 November 2010

If the Giulietta will be as succesful as it is on these forums, it will bring a turn-around for Alfa. Anyway, I haven't seen any reports on the Leaf and the ownership experience is totally unknown. On the other hand, this shortlist is weaker than usual, I can't see a true winner here - not if the COTY were always about the best car...

2 November 2010

[quote optimal_909]this shortlist is weaker than usual, I can't see a true winner here [/quote]

Absolutely. None of the above, particularly the Leaf. They can't give the COTY to a vehicle with that limited range. Say it isn't so.

2 November 2010

For me, the Dacia Duster. Truly innovative in these modern times. Exact opposite of a Nissan Leaf - old school simplicity with a price to match. Looks quite good in the flesh, the French cannot get enough of them (ok, not a great positive). Perfect family car for people who are above national / badge snobbery or out-of-date notions and need something that can handle all weathers. Doing today what Skoda did when Volkswagen turned them round, and look how well that went!

2 November 2010

Agreed, the Leaf is innovative but not viable at the moment considering cost etc. The first electric car capable of being a hit with real consumers should win ECOTY, not Nissans still very admirable effort.

Out of the list I would like to see the Alfa win simply because it is a great real car that us also emotionally appealing....but then I am an Alfisti...

The Dacia Duster would be an interesting one because it is getting back to what a vehicle should do, rather than pushing what a vehicle can be seen/valued as by the consumer (i.e. superbrand MINI or DS.....

If I was a betting man I would still say the Leaf to win though.....

Competance executes, character inspires

2 November 2010

[quote benjamino]the French cannot get enough of them (ok, not a great positive). [/quote]

Actually, it is. If they are buying the Dacia, they are not buying Pugs and Renaults. There do seem to be lots about though, for such a new car.

What I have noticed about the shortlist, with the exception of the Dacia, is that they are all the "same". The front ends, I mean, they all have the same droopy front, less so on the Volvo, but still they all have the same flared back headlamps, and either a gormless or slackjawed look. Disappointing. I vote for the Dacia.

2 November 2010

I'm a huge Ford fan so I would like the C-MAX to win... But I have a feeling the Meriva will take top prize.

2 November 2010

The Leaf would be a good choice for Car of the year. Only because its the first of its kind, and lots more are coming.

If it were up to me i think i would vote for the Duster however, i love the idea of low cost transport without stupid frills.

But does it really matter? does anyone really care if a car won or not. I doubt many even remember 6 months after the pize is announced

2 November 2010

My money's on the Leaf too. Not because I particularly like it but because it's "green" and after all, we are constantly being pushed down the green route and in the end we will all have electric cars when the oil runs out.

I think they will make sure it's the winner as it will raise the profile of electric cars and in turn try and convince all of us that this is the way to go with the message being something along the lines of - "Look how good electric cars are now.....good enough to win COTY ahead of it's petrol/diesel powered equivalents".

Well for me, it's petrol until the stations sell the very last drop!

2 November 2010

[quote benjamino]

For me, the Dacia Duster. Truly innovative in these modern times. Exact opposite of a Nissan Leaf - old school simplicity with a price to match. Looks quite good in the flesh, the French cannot get enough of them (ok, not a great positive). Perfect family car for people who are above national / badge snobbery or out-of-date notions and need something that can handle all weathers. Doing today what Skoda did when Volkswagen turned them round, and look how well that went!

[/quote]

More often than not, the COTY award is a litmus test of the times we are in, hence why the R9 and Fiat Uno won.

Choosing the Leaf or the Duster would be akin to those times of fuel shortages and smaller/cheaper cars comingto the fore. Have to say it's good to see both in the list.

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