Matt Prior

Car of the Year vot­ing ex­plained

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I’m glad Car of the Year judges have re­alised that peo­ple buy crossovers

Peu­geot had a good day at the start of last week. First it bought Vaux­hall and Opel – as­sum­ing you think them worth hav­ing, and I guess Peu­geot’s owner, PSA Group, does, given that it has just paid ¤2.2 bil­lion for them – and then the 3008 be­came the Car of the Year for 2017.

The Car of the Year (Coty) shindig is the re­sult of votes from 58 ju­rors, all se­nior Euro­pean motor­ing hacks (I’m one of them and this au­gust pub­li­ca­tion is one of seven spon­sor­ing ti­tles), who vote ev­ery March for what they reckon is the best new car launched in the pre­ced­ing 12 months.

A longlist of all el­i­gi­ble cars is pub­lished around Oc­to­ber and that is re­duced to a short­list of seven at the turn of the year. The cars are then tested back to back. Most ju­rors do that in France, but UK ju­rors opt to drive them on Bri­tish roads. Sil­ver­stone cir­cuit kindly finds us space for the cars and some­where to have an ar­gu­ment about which of the seven is the best.

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.

Peu­geot 3008 is Car of the Year, but not Matt’s choice

E-class came third in Car of the Year

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