Then we all go off and vote how we want, and the winner is announced on the eve of the Geneva motor show.
The way the scoring works is a little complicated. One UK-based PR executive said he tells his Japanese bosses that it’s a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest.
Each juror gets 25 points to allocate. They can score no car with more than 10, give no equal first places, and must give points to at least five cars. It is a bit of a committee-style process that usually ends up with a worthy, uncontroversial winner, if not necessarily a particularly exciting one, Porsche 928 aside. A couple of years ago, the Peugeot 308 won it over the Tesla Model S and BMW i3, for example; and last year the Vauxhall Astra pipped the Volvo XC90 and Mazda MX-5.
Of the seven cars on this year’s shortlist, the 3008 took it from the Alfa Romeo Giulia, then the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volvo S/V90, Citroën C3, Toyota C-HR and Nissan Micra.
The 3008 is a decent car. It’s the best Peugeot in a long time, with an interesting interior, funky design and good functionality. It’s okay to drive, too, albeit some variants have a slightly brittle ride. And I’m glad the CotY judges have realised that people buy crossovers: it’s the first such car to win Car of the Year.
It wasn’t one of the five cars I gave points to, mind. In increasing proportions, I gave some to the C3, which is again funky, but better to drive than I’d expected; the Micra, which is everything a supermini should be except in price; the S90, the jib of which I like the cut of, and the E-Class, which brings a new kind of comfort and luxury to its class.
I awarded the most points to the Giulia. It is a flawed car, granted, but one that, even in cooking diesel form, is interesting, exciting and fun to drive like no other compact executive car. It’s a slightly enthusiast choice for this contest, perhaps, but I gave it only a couple more points than the E-Class, which is the car that, strictly objectively, I felt ‘ought’ to have won, because it brings more to its class than any of the others do to theirs.
So there you go: the 3008. Not the bravest choice for Car of the Year, perhaps, but not a bad one.