The shortlist of seven nominations for Car of the Year 2021 has been announced, chosen from 29 eligible candidates.
The seven finalists are the Citroën C4, Cupra Formentor, Fiat 500, Land Rover Defender, Skoda Octavia, Toyota Yaris and Volkswagen ID 3.
Eligible cars must essentially be new models and available in at least five European countries at the time of voting.
Some 60 judges, representing 23 European countries, select the shortlist in a simple vote. Second-stage voting takes place between now and the end of February, with the winning car set to be announced in March.
Traditionally, the announcement takes place in Geneva on the eve of the Geneva motor show. This year, the announcement will go ahead on 1 March but broadcast from a location still to be determined.
The second-round vote, which decides the single overall winner, is more complex than the first round. Each juror gets to allocate 25 points across the seven cars. They can give no more than 10 points to any one car, can’t place two cars in equal first place and must give at least five cars some points.
The full adjudication and every single judge’s comments about every finalist will be live on the Car of the Year website when the 2021 winner is announced.
The 2020 winner was the Peugeot 208. In 2019, the Jaguar I-Pace won on a countback after it and the Alpine A110 finished in equal first place.
Car of the Year, which has been running since 1964, has added three new sponsors to its ranks for 2021. Nine automotive publications from nine European countries now support the independent organisation and provide all of its funding: it accepts no manufacturer sponsorship, has no tables at awards ceremonies for sale and charges winning or shortlisted car makers nothing for use of its logo.
This year’s long list of 29 eligible models was a little shorter than usual (in 2019, for example, there were 38 eligible candidates), but cars that didn’t quite arrive in time (such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E) will go onto the 2022 longlist.