Motoring journalists from around Europe have cast their votes on the best new cars for 2020 – and the Peugeot 208 is the overall winner.
The small hatchback – which is also available as an electric e-208 – beat both the Tesla Model 3 and Porsche Taycan EVs to the crown.
But while the dinky Peugeot won over the hearts of experts from around the continent – especially France – it didn’t get quite as many votes from British motoring experts.
Meanwhile, the same car failed to even win its class in a UK-only poll last month.
European Car of the Year 2020: The 208 is the sixth Peugeot to win the prestigious motoring award, which is voted for by motoring experts from around the continent
The UK journalists picked the Porsche Taycan (3rd overall) as their favourite, with 38 votes from the British experts
The naming of the European Car of the Year is usually the ceremonial opening of the Geneva Motor Show.
However, with the show cancelled at last minute a matter of days ago as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the awards event was held on a livestream from the Palexpo exhibition centre, where manufacturers are still packing away their stands and vehicles.
A shortlist of seven cars is selected by an initial vote weeks earlier.
Like a Eurovision Song Content for cars, journalists from 23 different European nations then have 25 points to distribute among the seven finalists in a final round.
European Car of the Year 2020 results
1. Peugeot 208 – 281 votes
2. Tesla Model – 242 votes
3. Porsche Taycan – 222 votes
4. Renault Clio – 211 votes
5. Ford Puma – 209 votes
6. Toyota Corolla – 152 votes
7. BMW 1-Series – 133 votes
Source: European Car of the Year
Points must be distributed to at least five cars, with no more than ten to any one car, and no joint top marks.
Some countries, like Denmark and Greece, have just one expert casting votes, while larger markets have a higher number of journalist representatives.
The UK, for example, has a grand total of six, which is the same as France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
The Peugeot 208 racked up 281 votes in total, putting it well ahead of the Tesla Model 3 (242), Porsche Taycan (222) and Renault Clio (211).
It is the sixth time the French brand has won the award having previously received the top honour in 1969 (Peugeot 504), 1988 (Peugeot 405), 2002 (Peugeot 307), 2014 (Peugeot 308) and 2017 (Peugeot 3008).
Peugeot has won European Car of the Year awards before, including with the 405 saloon
Where there Eurovision levels of patriotic voting?
Just like the annual song contest, there appears to be a plenty of patriotism in the votes.
For instance, the 208 scored 36 points from the six French journalist. However, the same number of UK judges gave it just 19 marks in total.
Looking further down the list, the French Renault Clio received 42 votes from its own panel of journalists (more than the 208) but just 11 from the UK.
And this is reflected in other awards, too.
The 208 didn’t even win its category in the UK Car of the Year award for 2020, being beaten by the Clio in the vote by a panel of 29 judges.
The winner of the UK award – announced last week – was given to the Tesla Model 3, which was the runner-up in the eyes of European journalists today (Monday).
What Car? also didn’t name it in its awards earlier this year.
Reviewing the votes in the European Car of the Year 2020 awards, the UK journalists rated the Porsche Taycan as the best with 38 votes. The Model 3 was a close second with 35.
While the 208 scored highly with French journalists, the UK contingent were more inclined to vote for the Porsche and Tesla
The Tesla Model 3 was the second most-liked car of the 7th among the British voters
Electric cars top the agenda
What was a common theme among the results was the popularity of zero emission cars.
The top four models in the European awards are either fully electric or have an electric model in the ranges.
The 208, for example, is available with the choice of combustion engines and the e-208, which has an electric powertrain.
The Ford Puma – What Car?’s 2020 Car of the Year – was voted fifth in the standings ahead of the British-built Toyota Corolla and BMW 1 Series.
Peugeot boss Jean-Philippe Imperato described winning the award as a ‘great honour’.
‘We love cars, and we recoginise the Car of the Year jury is made up of experts, so we are honoured to win. It’s a big surprise and a big pleasure for us,’ he added.
The Renault Clio came fourth in the vote. It got 42 votes from French journalists but just 11 from UK experts
What Car?’s 2020 Car of the Year, the Ford Puma, rounded out the top 5 in the Euro awards
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