The European car market is filled with all sorts of interesting models that we only wish we had Stateside, and every year our counterparts across the pond pick the best with the European Car of the Year awards. Last year Ford's S-Max, the minivan that makes grocery runs exciting, won the citation, preceeded by the new Renault Clio in 2006 and the greentastic Toyota Prius before it.

The gaggle must have had a real challenge this year, but managed to narrow down the field to seven nominees out of a total 33 contenders. While you may not be surprised to see the likes of the SsangYong Actyon and Daihatsu Materia cut from the list, Lexus and Audi might feel a bit differently about their LS600h and A5, respectively.

In the end, the Fiat 500, Ford Mondeo, Kia cee'd, Mazda2, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 308 will be holding the stage on November 19 when the envelope is opened, and with such stiff competition, this year they're bound to have a real winner on their hands. Watch this space in six week's time to see which one takes the crown.

[Source: CarOfTheYear.org]