18 November 2003

Fiat’s Panda is the 2004 Car of the Year. The Italian firm picked up the prize for the eighth time at the Autocar awards ceremony on Tuesday 18 November, after beating the other six shortlisted cars to the top spot, and succeeding the current champion, Renault’s Mégane.

Fifty-eight journalists, including Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley, voted for their favourites from the Panda, BMW 5-series, Mazda 3, Nissan Micra, Vauxhall Meriva, Toyota Avensis and VW Golf, the Panda triumphing over the Golf (pictured) and Mazda 3.

The new champion joins the Fiat 124, 128, 127, Uno, Tipo, Punto and Brava/Bravo in scooping the award, while subsidiaries Alfa and Lancia have won the prize three times between them for the Alfa 156 and 147, and the Lancia Delta.

Autocar has also named its other annual awards, listed below

Man of the Year - Louis Schweitzer

Designer of the Year - Peter Stevens

Young Designer of the Year - James Taylor

Lifetime achievement award - Ford Focus

Safety award - EuroRAP

Best handling car of the year - Mazda MX-5

Performance car of the year - Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale

Technical achievement of the year - Toyota Prius

Idea of the year - AA VIxEN roadside diagnostics

Car ad campaign of the year - Honda Accord Cog

Driver of the year - Mark Webber

Motorsport award - Martin Brundle and the ITV F1 crew

Concept car of the year - Citroen C-Airlounge

Read the full details in this week's magazine

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