What makes a Car of the Year?
The object of Car of the Year is to find a single, decisive winner. The voting process is designed for that purpose, and not to provide a scale of merit of all competing cars. There are no categories, sub-divisions or class winners.
Obviously this requires the Jury to assess cars of very different types and price, which means assessing them against their market rivals. The 58 members of the Car of the Year Jury all test cars as part of their journalistic work. In selecting the car of the year they use the following criteria: design, comfort, safety, economy, handling, performance, functionality, environmental requirements, driver satisfaction, and price. Technical innovation and value for money are particularly important factors.
In the last quarter of the year, the Jury Committee draws up a list of eligible cars from all the newcomers presented over the previous 12 months. Eligible cars must be essentially new models, not simply changed cosmetically or by the installation of new engine or a transmission. They are considered irrespective of their country of origin but must be production cars available in at least five European countries at the time of voting.
The Jury then elects a short list of seven cars in a simple vote. For the second stage, each Jury member has 25 points to apportion to at least five cars, with a maximum of 10 points for any one of them, and produces a statement of justification for the vote.