While the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards as well as the World and Performance Car of the Year awards tend to receive the most attention here in the U.S., the European Car of the Year award also has a great deal of significance, particularly because so many automakers are based in Europe.

However, even though Europe is where some of the fastest and most luxurious cars on the planet are developed, the region’s annual award has tended to highlight efficiency and practicality in recent years. In 2013 it was the humble Volkswagen Golf that took top honors, and for the two prior years electric cars received the award (the Nissan Leaf in 2011 and the Opel Ampera in 2012).

Organizers for the European Car of the Year award have now announced the finalists for the 2014 award, with the winner to be announced on the eve of the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in early March. There are seven finalists in total, picked from an original field of 30 contenders.

Those seven finalists are the BMW i3, Citroën C4 Picasso, Mazda 3, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Peugeot 308, Skoda Octavia and Tesla Model S. You’ll note that two of those cars are electric and one is soon to be available as a plug-in hybrid.

The task of choosing a winner is handled each year by a panel of 59 judges that represent 23 European countries and made up mostly of journalists and other members of the auto industry. For a car to be eligible for the award, it has to be a new vehicle available now or before year’s end in five or more European markets. The car must also have the prospect of at least 5,000 annual sales, thus ruling out many of the exotic supercars the European region is renowned for.


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