The winner of the 2011 European Car of the Year awards has been announced, with the 2011 Nissan Leaf taking top honors, the same car our sister site, GreenCarReports
, picked as the best green car to buy. This means that original candidates like the new Jaguar XJ, Mercedes-Benz CLS and BMW 5-Series were all overlooked in favor of the Leaf, reflecting the changing trend of what’s most important when judging new cars--green power.
In spite of the lack of a large recharging network and the limited range, for the judges in this year’s awards, the Leaf represents a technical and commercial bet that might otherwise satisfy many potential consumers, especially where public incentives will come to reduce the paying price. The runner up was the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
The European Car of the Year awards is judged by a panel of 59 members, representing 23 European countries. National representation on the panel is related to the size of the country's car market and its importance in car manufacturing, with France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain topping the list with six members each.
A total of 41 candidates were originally eligible for the 2011 awards. A number that grows bigger when body versions and derivatives are considered. All of the contenders are new vehicles available now or soon in five or more European markets, and each has the prospect of at least 5,000 yearly sales.
This is in fact the second time a Nissan has been award the coveted European Car of the Year title. The Nissan Micra was the first Japanese car to win the award 18 years ago. Last year's winner was the Volkswagen Polo, which you can read about by clicking here
. The finalists, in no particular order, were as follows:
Alfa Romeo GiuliettaCitroen C3/DS3
Dacia DusterFord C-Max/Grand C-MaxNissan LeafOpel MerivaVolvo S60