The 2015 European Car of the Year winner is the Volkswagen Passat, with the stylish sedan and wagon beating out some very lame competition in the final round of voting, such as BMW’s unsightly 2-Series Active Tourer, the Ford Motor Company’s [NYSE:F] Mondeo (which is actually just a version of the Fusion on sale for several years already), and Renault’s Twingo minicar. The only credible rival on the list is Mercedes-Benz’s new C-Class, which came third overall. Second place went to Citroën and its unconventional C4 Cactus.

However, the Passat won the award with a very wide margin. The judges awarded it with 340 points versus the 248 of the C4 Cactus and 221 of the C-Class. Note, we’re talking about the Passat sold outside the U.S. It was picked because of its advanced technology, handsome design and wide variety of configurations. The judge’s also noted the car’s excellent road behaviour and comfortable ride, which create its fun-to-drive character.

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Previous winners of the award include the Peugeot 308 (2014), VW Golf (2013) and Opel Ampera/Chevrolet Volt (2012).

The task of choosing the winner of the European Car of the Year award is handled each year by a panel of judges that represent 22 European countries, made up mostly of journalists and other members of the auto industry. For a car to be eligible, 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 Europe is renowned for.

“We are extremely proud of this accolade,” Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn said in a statement. “In the new Passat, we have again succeeded in developing a car that sets the standards for its class in terms of technology and quality—this honor is a tremendous confirmation for the work of our engineers, designers and the entire team."

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