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European Car of the Year 2014

mrdoubleb

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jul 2, 2013
2,615
14,579
Budapest, Hungary
I haven't seen any posts about this, so here it goes...

The European Car of the Year is probably the most prestigious automotive award on the Old Continent. Every year 58 European journalists from 22 countries, representing all major car magazines test and evaluate the new models introduced over the year. The Car of the Year 2014 title will go to one of the 31 models tested a couple days ago by the journalists as they met in Denmark. By early December, the jury is expected to name the 7 finalists and the winner will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show, in March 2014.

It is not surprising, that the Model S is one of these 31 cars. But what are the chances of making it to the final 7 or even winning? Well, if you had asked me a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have been too optimistic. You see, save for Norway, Tesla fever is still at a very early stage over here. There are a few articles here and there, and I've seen a couple of good reviews too, but as for the majority of non-geeks or car enthusiasts, I do not think many of them even heard of the Model S. When I read about Tesla in the Hungarian online media (usually car or investment sites), the articles are full of errors and do not take the car or the company too seriously.

At least they didn't use to.

The most popular online and TV car magazine in my country, Totalcar, has 3 journalists elected to the jury of this award. Until now, the general sentiment about Tesla - as much as I could get from the very few articles they ran on it - was very skeptical, sarcastic even. When they checked the car out during the last major European car show, their comment was: "So this is what I'm supposed to be amazed about? This should conquer the car industry? Come on!". Granted, they didn't drive the car, they just sat in it for a few minutes at the motorshow.

So imagine my surprise when they started teasing about their experience with the car and their first upcoming review on it a few weeks ago. As they arrived in Denmark for the Car of the Year test, they started blogging about the whole event. It became clear that the BMW i3, the Renault Zoe and the Model S received the most attention from the journalists. In fact, a few days later their post was extremely enthusiastic. They said they could barely get hold of the Model S, as journalist and reps from other car companies were standing in line all the time to drive it. The 2 Model S they had were in constant use and everyone was gushing. In particular, they told a story about one conversation, where they were talking at the end of a day with other members of the jury about the cars. Someone asked the Totalcar journalists which car they liked the most so far. They said something like "You have to ask?!" and then everyone smiled, because they all knew it was the Model S. That was the car everyone was talking about.

So this morning they posted their full review on the car. Now these are total petrol heads, who normally make fun of EVs, so allow me to quote a few lines from the review:

"I think end of September 2013 is a turningpoint in my life... the Tesla Model S turned my carbon-hydrate burning worldview upside down.... if EVs will be like this, not only will I own one, but I will even enjoy it and only keep a petrol burning oldtimer for the weekends... it was impossible to run any range tests on the Tesla as journalists and reps from competitors were giving the key to each other… We were allowed 30 minutes with the car, but ended up taking it back after 50. This car is ingenious... Acceleration is like turning on a conventional light bulb. You hit the pedal and you immediately drive at 1000 kmh. It is frightening, unbelievable and amazing... it is Ferrari and Lambo territory... Even the brakes - which are usually awful in EVs - are almost perfect... steering is accurate and responsive... due to the low center of gravity we were unable to make the car roll... it is almost at the level of a BMW 5 series [the industry gold standard]... suspension and ride comfort are excellent... it beats every other car in practicality with the trunk and the frunk..."

They had an equally gushing 2,5 minute video review, featuring a subconscious "tesla grin" on the face of the journalist as he hit the pedal. They went on commenting how unbelievable it is that a "no name car company run by geeks produced something so perfect as their first car". They also had a podcast recently where they explained how they were all laughing as - after testing the Model S - they went back to test a diesel BMW, a car they once considered state of the art, and could not stand the noise it made. They said something like "it sounded like a bad sewing-machine and we could not understand how a company can have the audacity to sell something so shameful for such a price when you have a car like the Model S".

So, do "we" have a chance at snapping the Car of the Year award next March? If we did, it would make huge waves in the EU as this is "the" car award here. But you can never underestimate the lobby power of the likes of BMW, Mercedes or VW. However, having followed the blogs, podcasts and reviews of these 3 jurors over the past few weeks, understanding what conversations took place behind the scenes and how the EU press felt about the Model S, I would be extremely surprised if it was not one of the 7 finalists. It seems to me the European car journalists just had their eyes opened.

You can find the official page of the award here http://caroftheyear.org

The full list of the 31 cars in the race is:
BMW 4 Series
BMW i3
BMW X5
Citroen C4 Picasso
Ford EcoSport
Ford Kuga
Hyundai i10
Jaguar F-Type
Kia Carens (Rondo)
Range Rover Sport
Lexus IS
Maserati Ghibli
Mazda 3
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mitsubishi Space Star
Nissan Note
Opel Cascada
Peugeot 2008
Peugeot 308
Porsche Cayman
Renault Captur
Renault Zoe
Seat Leon
Skoda Octavia
Subaru Forester
Suzuki SX4
Tesla S
Toyota Auris
Toyota Corolla
Toyota RAV4
 

mrdoubleb

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jul 2, 2013
2,615
14,579
Budapest, Hungary
Do you have a link??

Here is the link to the complete article: http://totalcar.hu/tesztek/2013/10/23/tesla_model_s_p85_2013/
Here is a link to the Google translated version (Hungarian to English): http://translate.google.com/transla...hu/tesztek/2013/10/23/tesla_model_s_p85_2013/
And here is a direct link to the video. Can't google translate that :tongue: : http://auto.indavideo.hu/video/Megol_akkorat_lep

- - - Updated - - -

oh God... google translate is not that good with Hungarian, and this translation is just horrible. Sorry about that. Well, at least the video should work.
 
Now these are total petrol heads, who normally make fun of EVs...

Not necessarily. The Chevy Volt was voted European Car of the Year in March 2012 (the same year it took Motor Trend Car of the Year, Automobile Magazine's Car of the Year, and North American Car of the Year honors.) The EU judges noted that the car was an "engineering marvel" and a "true technological step forward" in car design. They're not automatically anti-EV and, if they give the MS the review it deserves, should also give it the award. IMO.
 

mrdoubleb

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jul 2, 2013
2,615
14,579
Budapest, Hungary
Not necessarily. The Chevy Volt was voted European Car of the Year in March 2012 (the same year it took Motor Trend Car of the Year, Automobile Magazine's Car of the Year, and North American Car of the Year honors.) The EU judges noted that the car was an "engineering marvel" and a "true technological step forward" in car design. They're not automatically anti-EV and, if they give the MS the review it deserves, should also give it the award. IMO.
I was referring to the Hungarian journalists who did the review.
 
The way I understand it, the European Car of the Year award always goes to a very affordable car. The one exception to that rule was 2012 and the Volt/Ampera. There’s quite the price difference still though between the Volt/Ampera and the S…

And these have mostly been Consumer Reports kind of journos. This years ‘batch’ from Hungary seems to contradict that though, so maybe that has changed just recently…

Here you can see the winners followed by runner up and third (including respective scores):

European Car of the Year - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Judging from the 6 or so latest years I’m willing to bet money on that the Renault Zoe wins this year.

The S will no doubt get a very honorable mention of some sort. But I’m betting that they’ll also have some sort of explanation, that they simply can’t give the honors to the S because of its price. (In Sweden i.e. the 85 kWh starts at about $110,500 after the so called 'Allowance for Super Environmentally Friendly Car' (Supermiljöbilspremien), which currently is about $6,200. And that price doesn’t include the legally mandated winter tires this time of year…)

Don’t know though how expensive a car can be, and still be able to qualify as one of the 7 finalist, so I guess I can’t really comment on that…

There’s one other sign of change on that list however, except for the Volt/Ampera, and that’s the 2013 runner up GT-86/BRZ. Completely unheard of that a 2+2 sports car could be runner up before 2013 as you can see in the Wikipedia-link above. But even so, that’s still a relatively affordable car...
 
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mrdoubleb

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jul 2, 2013
2,615
14,579
Budapest, Hungary
The way I understand it, the European Car of the Year award always goes to a very affordable car. The one exception to that rule was 2012 and the Volt/Ampera.

Yeah, I agree with you. If you look at the winners of the past years, all of them seem to be small to mid size affordable cars - which are the most popular in Europe. You have to go back 20 years to find an Audi and all the way to 1978 to find a Porsche. (Which, incidentally is my year of birth, so I can truly say, premium cars have only won twice in my lifetime. :) )

Having said that, if you read the official description about the voting process, it is not like all those 58 journalists sit around a big round table end elect a winner. They all, independently have 25 points to give out to at least 5 cars with a maximum 10 points per car cap. Then they add up the totals. Also 2 times out of the last 3 years, the winner was electric or hybrid, so they are clearly sending a message to the industry.

I agree that the Zoe and the i3 are the main competitors for the title this year. The i3 may actually have an edge as it is a Gen3 priced, rage extended car and BMW has never won the award before! Then again, this is the 50th anniversary of the awards and, juding from the accounts, all the jurnalists have been amazed by the S, which is the first fully usable, long range EV. So we might have a chance... or at least be in the Top 3.

If they really want to wake up the industry, there is no better way than crowning the Model S.
 
The European Car of the Year is probably the most prestigious automotive award on the Old Continent. Every year 58 European journalists from 22 countries, representing all major car magazines test and evaluate the new models introduced over the year. The Car of the Year 2014 title will go to one of the 31 models tested a couple days ago by the journalists as they met in Denmark. By early December, the jury is expected to name the 7 finalists and the winner will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show, in March 2014....

Great post, thank you mrdoubleb!
 
Yeah, I agree with you. /…
I used to regularly skim through one of media outlets that sent one journo to the jury of this event (I think Sweden also just like Hungary sent 3 journos in total). This was a kind of Swedish version of a Consumer Reports car mag. So my post above is based mostly on my recollection of their previous reporting from this event. The last time I skimmed through one of their copies was about 2 years ago though…
 

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