Not a bad day for Peugeot. First buying Vauxhall and Opel – assuming you think them worth having, and given it has just paid €2.2bn for them; I guess Peugeot’s owner, the PSA Group, does – and now its 3008 has become the 2017 European Car of the Year.
The Car of the Year (CotY) shindig is the result of votes from 58 jurors, all senior motoring hacks, from across Europe (I’m one of them), who vote every March for what they reckon is the best car launched in the preceding 12 months. 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. Which is a bit of a committee-style process that usually ends up with an uncontroversial winner, if not necessarily a particularly exciting one.
The seven cars on this year’s shortlist were the 3008 (obviously), Alfa Romeo Giulia, Citroën C3, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Nissan Micra, Toyota C-HR and Volvo S90. There’s a table below of how they fared.
The 3008 (pictured above) is a decent car. The best Peugeot in a long time, with an interesting interior, funky design and good functionality. It’s okay to drive, too, albeit with a slightly brittle ride in some versions. And I’m glad CotY has realised that people buy crossovers.
It wasn’t one of the five cars I gave votes to, mind. In increasing proportions I gave some to the Citroën C3, which is again funky, but better to drive than I’d expected; the Nissan Micra, which is everything a supermini should be except in price; the Volvo S90, whose jib I like the cut of; the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which brings something new to its class; and most points to the Alfa Romeo Giulia, a flawed car, granted, but one that, even in cooking diesel form, is interesting, exciting and alluring like no other compact executive car.
A slightly enthusiast choice for this contest, perhaps, but I only gave it 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 did to theirs.
But there you go: the 3008. Maybe not the bravest choice, but not a bad one.
2017 European Car of the Year results:
Peugeot 3008 - 319
Alfa Romeo Giulia - 296
Mercedes-Benz E-Class - 197
Volvo S90 - 172
Citroën C3 - 166
Toyota CH-R - 165
Nissan Micra - 135