You'd expect the European Car of the Year contest to be stacked mainly with European cars, of course, if not cars from around the world that are sold in Europe. But this year, the fight is being waged almost exclusively between European cars that we don't even get on this side of the Atlantic.

The candidates for the 2010 awards were announced back in June, but that's basically just a list of eligible vehicles. Now the panel of automotive journalists from across the old continent have picked their seven nominees among from which the final winner will be selected. Those up for the prize are the Citroen C3 Picasso, the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 3008, Skoda Yeti, Toyota iQ and Volkswagen Polo. The iQ is the only non-European product on stage, and the Mercedes the only car among the finalists even currently available in the North American market. That's definitely a bummer, but even without us, we expect the winner to be announced by the end of the month.

[Source: CaroftheYear.org]