The month began with the announcement of the seven cars in the running for Europe's 2011 Car of the Year award. Among them was Nissan's all-electric Leaf, alongside more conventionally powered options such as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroën DS3, Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max, Vauxhall Meriva and Volvo S60. The overall winner, announced on 29 November, was the ground-breaking Nissan, which COTY judge Steve Cropley praised for its potential to 'normalise' EVs.
As unusual as it was not to see a Renault on the Car of the Year shortlist, the French manufacturer sprang to our attention in other ways. We published scoop pictures of a new Renault compact crossover, which is designed to secure its maker a slice of the incredible success of the Nissan Qashqai and to make up for the company's flop with the slow-selling Koleos.
Renault insiders also told Autocar that a higher-powered version of the Zoe electric supermini is in the pipeline. The Zoe Gordini could get as much as 134bhp, they advised, but it should still be good for more than 100 miles of range. "Making high-performance EVs isn't like making fast piston-engined cars," one Renault man told us. "The higher-output powertrains are almost as efficient as the lesser ones."