The Peugeot 308 compact has picked up top honors in the 2014 European Car of the Year awards, managing to edge out the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Tesla Model S in the hotly-contested award. The results were announced at a satellite event for the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, which kicks off tomorrow.

The 308 received 307 points from the 58 jury members, with top points from 22 jurors. Second and third, in a close race, were two electric cars, with the BMW i3 scoring 223 points to secure second place and the Tesla Model S taking third with 216 points.

The 308 is the fourth Peugeot model to win the award; it comes after the 307 back in 2002, the 405 in 1988 and the 504 all the way back in 1969. It was picked because of its elegant design, strong dynamics and advanced approach to weight reduction.

Yes, even though Europe is where some of the fastest and most luxurious cars on the planet are made, 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).

No less than 30 new models, from North American, Korean, European and Japanese manufacturers, were included the voting. To be eligible a car 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. Some other contenders this year included the BMW X5, Ford Kuga (Escape) and Jaguar F-Type.


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