While it may seem like every magazine worth its bar-code is clamoring to select its own Car of the Year, over in Europe things are a bit more civilized. Seven publications from seven different countries get together each year to nominate their collective Car of the Year, speaking in one united voice.

The process takes place over the course of months. First comes the nominees, then the finalists and ultimately the solitary winner. The super best-friends have just arrived at that middle step, announcing the finalists for 2011, and as in years past, it's heavily loaded with European vehicles, but the list is not without its novelty.

The finalists came down to the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroën C3/DS3, Renault/Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max, Nissan Leaf, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Volvo S60/V60. The Alfa's nomination comes exactly a decade after its predecessor, the 147, took the award upon its launch. The Leaf represents the first time an electric vehicle has made it this far in the selection process. And the budget Dacia's selection is of course highly symbolic of the economic climate from which most of the world is only beginning to recuperate. The winner will be announced on November 29, so stay tuned.

[Source: Car of the Year]