The award is decided by a jury made up of prominent motoring journalists from across Europe, including Autocar's head of video and features Matt Prior and senior contributing writer Andrew Frankel.
The jury consists of 58 members, representing 22 European countries. National representation on the jury is related to the size of the country's car market and its importance in car manufacturing. France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain each have six members, while other countries have proportionally fewer.
Volkswagen's Passat received 340 points from the judges, comprehensively beating its rivals.
The Citroën C4 Cactus garnered 248 points, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class on 221. Fourth was the Ford Mondeo with 203, with the Nissan Qashqai (160), BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (154) and Renault Twingo (124) rounding out the scoring.
The Passat succeeds the Peugeot 308 as the Car of the Year.
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