Electric cars may have won the European Car of the Year award two years in a row now (Opel Ampera in 2012, and Nissan Leaf in 2011), we can say without reservation that the 2013 ECotY will be a petrol-burning, internal combustionizer. That's because not a single electric vehicle made it to the contest's final round. But eight other cars did.
At the top of the alphabetical list is Ford's Fiesta-based, B-Max MPV. Five doors, good ride and fuel-efficient, award-winning engine choices are some of the reasons it makes the list. Next is the Hyundai i30, known as the Elantra GT Stateside, with either five or three doors, a roomy cabin and a 1.6-liter CRDi engine. The nominating committee commends the handsome hatch for improved exterior aesthetics and a multilink suspension that "shows in ride and handling."
Mercedes gets the next spot with its hot hatch: the turbocharged A-Class, followed by another hatch, the Peugeot 208. The next finalist is from another marque we haven't seen in the States for quite some time – the fourth-generation Renault Clio, followed by the Subaru/Toyota dynamic duo of BRZ and the GT86. The last two contenders are the all-new Volkswagen Golf and the svelte Volvo V40.
The European Car of the Year will be announced in early March after the jury has tallied its votes.