The Car of the Year shortlist has been announced. It’s a piece of news I would normally register with a sigh, before returning to more important work.This year, though, it matters more to me than usual because I’ve been appointed as one of the competition’s 58 judges. This august institution currently considers the Peugeot 308 to be at the industry’s apogee and it has never anointed a BMW.The shortlisting works as follows: all of the new cars that went on sale in at least five European markets during 2014 and that are likely to sell in volumes of more than 5000 a year automatically make the longlist.Each judge nominates their preferred seven from those, and the most-nominated models make the shortlist.
This year they’re the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer, Citroën C4 Cactus, Ford Mondeo, Mercedes-Benz C-class, Nissan Qashqai, Renault Twingo and Volkswagen Passat. I put three of those on my list.From these seven cars the winner will be chosen, but a rather more complicated scoring system exists hereon. Each judge is allocated 25 points to distribute, largely as they choose, with a 10-point maximum allowed on any one car.
And the winner was : –
After 41 years on the market, the Passat has become the symbol of success for the Volkswagen brand – the most popular model in its current range. This formula for success is carried forward in the new 2015 Passat, a car that sits comfortably between the premium and mainstream market segments. This is a completely new model built on VW’s acclaimed MQB platform, yet it retains the unmistakable exterior design that underlines its continuity with the Passat heritage.
The CotY 2015 winner is a typical VW in that it delivers quality and functionality in every aspect. It’s more lightweight than the outgoing model while at the same time improving in terms of body stiffness. It is more compact in terms of its footprint on the road than many competitors in its segment, yet it’s very roomy inside and offers the biggest luggage space in the class, especially when it comes to the Variant – or estate – version. A new Passat Alltrack version, based on the Variant, will soon arrive on the market as well. Excellent road behaviour combines with a comfortable ride to round off its fun-to-drive character.
In terms of powertrains, the Passat range features a wide array of impressive fuel efficient engines, exemplified in its range-topping diesel version, a twin turbo 2.0 TDCI with 240 hp combined with a new 7-speed DSG automatic transmission. It also boasts a selection of very efficient petrol engines starting with the economical 1.4 TSI.
And VW’s continual focus on innovation is exemplified in the new plug-in hybrid Passat, the GTE, due for market in the coming months. This car offers a range of 50km in electric mode with fully charged batteries alongside a combination of petrol-electric hybrid power when the batteries work together with the 156- hp 1.4 petrol engine, creating a overall power output of 218 hp and outstanding homologated fuel consumption.
– Body: 5-door saloon & estate
– Size: 4.77 X 1.83 X 1.46 m. Wheelbase: 2.79 m.
– Transmission: Front/all wheel drive. Manual/automatic DSG gearbox
– Petrol engines: 1.4TSI (125 hp), 1.4TSI ACP (150 hp)
– Diesel engines: 1.6TDi (120 hp), 2.0TDi (150, 190, 240 hp)
– Maximum speed – 0-100 km/h acceleration:
Petrol engines: 206 to 220 km/h – 9.9 to 8.4 s.
Diesel engines: 206 to 240 km/h – 10.9 to 6.1 s.
– Combined fuel consumption – CO2 emissions:
Petrol engines: 4.9 to 5.3 l/100 km – 115 to 124 g/km
Diesel engines: 4.0 to 5.3 l/100 km – 105 to 139 g/km