Every year a panel of jurists representing a variety of automotive publications in different languages and from different countries get together and pick their Car of the Year. It's a long and exhaustive process, and it starts right here.
For the 2015 award, the panel has identified 31 candidates: the Audi TT; BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and 2 Series Coupe, i8 and X4; the Citroën C1 and C4 Cactus; Fiat 500X (which hasn't even been unveiled yet); Ford EcoSport and Mondeo; Hyundai i20; Infiniti Q50; Jeep Renegade; Kia Soul; Lexus NX and RC; Mercedes-Benz C-Class, GLA and S-Class Coupe; Nissan Pulsar, Qashqai and X-Trail; Opel Corsa; Peugeot 108; Porsche Macan; Renault Twingo; Skoda Fabia; Smart Fortwo and Forfour; Subaru WRX STI; Suzuki Celerio; Toyota Aygo and Volkswagen Passat.
These 31 contenders will be whittled down to a short-list of seven nominees to be announced on December 15, followed by the announcement of the winner on March 2 at the Geneva Motor Show.
Past winners include the Peugeot 308, Volkswagen Golf, Chevy Volt/Opel Ampera, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen Polo (going back to 2010). This year ought to present an interesting challenge in that three of the entrants – the Toyota Aygo, Citroën C1 and Peugeot 108 – are all essentially the same car. Last year saw the jury award second place jointly to the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ, which was (as far as we can tell) the first time it had split the award between manufacturers of essentially the same vehicle. The Renegade, 500X, GLA, Qashqai, X-Trail and Macan seem to be at a distinct disadvantage, though, because the jury has never named a sport-ute or crossover into the top three, let alone as the winner, in its 50-year history.