The European Car Of The Year (Coty) is one of the most famous titles in the industry. Awarded every March by a pan-European panel of judges, it highlights the very ‘best’ car from the previous 12 months. There are some stipulations, of course (availability in Europe, projected sales, that sort of thing) but apart from that almost any car can win it. Hatchbacks, sports cars, saloons and SUVs have all been European Car of the Year at some point since its introduction in 1964.
The Peugeot 208 was announced as the 2020 winner on March 2, on what was supposed to be the eve of the Geneva motor show but the event has been cancelled due to coronavirus fears. The result certainly corresponds with our view – read our road test of the 208 here – and its place in this coveted hall of fame is deserved.
History hasn’t been kind to all of the winners, but at some point they were all considered the very best on the market, even if they seem like junk by today’s standards. As such, we can look back on more than half a century of automotive achievement and see a cross-section of the car’s evolution since the early Sixties. Starting with…
1964 – the first European Car of the Year
(2nd Mercedes-Benz 600, 3rd Hillman Imp)
The last pre-Leyland new Rover, the P6 was praised for its excellent ride and handling, but its 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine was a weak point put right only when a 3.5-litre V8 was installed. In a long career, it was produced from 1963 to 1977.