Currently reading: Vauxhall Astra named as European Car of the Year for 2016
The new Vauxhall Astra has beaten rivals, including the Jaguar XE and Volvo XC90, to become European Car of the Year

The new Vauxhall Astra has been announced as the winner of the European Car of the Year award for 2016.

At a ceremony this afternoon at Geneva’s exhibition centre, on the eve of the Geneva motor show, the Astra was announced the jury’s favourite by a narrow margin: it was given 309 points, versus the 294 points of the runner-up, the Volvo XC90.

The other finalists were the Audi A4 (189 points), BMW 7 Series (143 points), Jaguar XE (163 points), Mazda MX-5 (202 points) and Skoda Superb (147 points).

The jury consists of 58 motoring journalists from 22 European countries. Each juror has 25 points to allocate across the seven shortlisted cars, must give no single car more than 10 points, award no equal first place and distribute some points to at least five of the cars. There are seven sponsoring publications around Europe, of which Autocar is one.

All the judges’ scores will soon be published online at, but we can reveal that the overall voting didn’t match that of the UK’s judges. The six UK jurors would have had the Mazda MX-5 ahead by a significant margin, followed by the Volvo XC90, with the Astra and Skoda Superb equal third.

Accepting the award in Geneva, Opel boss Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann said: "It's totally fantastic. You cannot imagine how happy I am to stand here. The competition was tough and you could see it. And our people, the Opel people, are extremely proud.

"We have created the 11th generation of our compact car from a white piece of paper. It is the fifth COTY award Opel has won and the third in the past eight years. We will keep upsetting the upper class and keep exceeding our customer's needs."

The seventh-generation Vauxhall Astra is put through its paces on the UK roads

Read more Geneva motor show news


Read our review

Car review

The British-built Vauxhall Astra reaches its seventh generation, but faces strong competition from recently-updated hatchbacks like the Ford Focus

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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Mikey C 1 March 2016

It's hard to excited about

It's hard to excited about these awards, when few of the candidates are genuinely new. 6 are new versions of existing products, while the seventh the XE (a very nice car I hasten to add) may be new, but is hardly breaking new ground either, either for the class or indeed JLR.
Bink 1 March 2016

A bit like the Eurovision Song Contest for cars

COTY seems to me to be a bit like the Eurovision for cars. Rarely does the best car win.

Interesting to note over the years that Fiat have won it nine times with some pretty awful cars and yet for example BMW have never won it with some pretty decent offerings.

5wheels 29 February 2016

Still not excited

MX5 was every real wheelmans car. The Jag a close second and the Audi 3rd - cannot understand in this company how Opel managed to garner this gong....oh wait a minute.Nanny Merkle, she is going to give all those nice immigrants one!!!