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With as many car manufacturers as there are in the world, catering to as many individual needs as they do, coming up with a definitive car of the year isn’t easy. It’s why so many “Car of the Year” awards from around the world end up going to different cars.
It’s also got a lot to do with how the awards are judged and things don’t much more complicated than they do for Europe’s version of the award. There, a panel of jurists from seven different publications, in seven different countries, speaking seven different languages attempt to name their joint car of the year.
Small wonder then that the list of finalists is so eclectic, containing as it does, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the CitroÃ«n C4 Cactus, the Ford Mondeo, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Nissan Qashqai, the Renault Twingo and the Volkswagen Passat.
That said, it’s hardly a list of the most desirable cars reached this year. By the looks of things, price and practicality both play a large role in their considerations.
Citroen C4 Cactus
This is undoubtedly the quirkiest of the nominees on the list. Citroenâ€™s central focus for the Cactus is economy, simplicity and practicality. Fuel economy is a claimed 2.58L/100km while it sports running costs 20% lower than other hatches in the segment.
The European version of the Ford Fusion contains all the styling and economy improvements that have been its hallmark in recent years.
Mercedes-benz C 300 Bluetec Hybrid, (w205),2013
By making the new C Class longer and wider than its predecessors, Merc has done itself a massive favour. AMG and Estate variants don't hurt the C Class' cause either.
This five seater compact SUV is so practical it hurts.
Bmw 2 Series Active Tourer
The first BMW-branded BMW with front-wheel drive, the 2 Series Active Tourer wouldn't have exactly been welcomed by brand purists. Nonetheless the judges don't seem to think the handling's been too badly compromised and that it's a fair bit more practical than many other BMWs.
The Twingo is probably the consummate sporty European city car. If the judges are the kind of people who ramp up a sidewalk when they park, expect it to score highly.
As with the Polo and Golf, there's not much VW can do to improve the Passat except keep updating it. This year's model follows that philosophy pretty tightly. VW will tell you that there have been a host of changes and that the new model doesn't share a single panel with its predecessor. Ultimately though it's the same, but better.