Each year, respected journalists from the automotive world gather to review stringent criteria from a pool of dozens of cars nominated from across the European continent. The jury strategically narrows down the list based upon a point system until a simple vote is enough to declare a single victor from among the group. The cars must compete not only according to their style and look, but must demonstrate that they are the best car value for the customer. In 2013, the winner was announced to be the Volkswagen Golf.
Currently, the magazines Auto, Autopista, Autocar, Autovisie, Stern, L’Automobile Magazine and ViBilägare coordinate to organize the award. Journalists from the major publications throughout Europe then form a jury to select the Car of the Year from among the nominees. The pool of eligible cars depends upon the size of the automobile market and manufacturing industry in each country. Each vehicle is judged based upon its comfort, design, economy, handling, performance, safety, functionality, environmental requirements, price and driver satisfaction.
Photo of the 2013 VW Golf at Scottsdale VW. Used with permission.
The winners have come in from a variety of car manufacturers since the first award in 1964 — the first having been the Rover 2000. Fiat remains the most decorated brand, although every generation of the Volkswagen Golf has finished in the top three for the past 38 years. Only two cars have won the award twice, the Renault Clio, which won in 1991 and 2006, and the Volkswagen Golf, which won in 1992 and 2013.
The Volkswagen Golf soared to the victory with 414 points tallied by the jury, compared to just 202 for both the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BR-Z runners-up. The Golf was noted for successfully combining its traditional design in the exterior with a spacious interior, comfortable feel and lightweight build. The manufacturers also demonstrated particular interest in safety features with the enhanced active braking, driver fatigue detection, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance. The combination of power and safety creates a car that easily competes with other luxury designs. It has received excellent ratings from critics and excellent sales numbers around the world.
The 2013 Volkswagen Golf is available with either a diesel or gasoline engine. While the diesel engine does add a considerable amount to the final price, the fuel economy achieved by this engine easily surpasses the rest of the class. The 2.5 liter, five cylinder engine produces an impressive 170 horsepower, while the TDI’s diesel counterpart pushes 140 hp, but with an excellent 236 pound per foot of torque, according to Edmunds. The hatchback model also comes with a choice between the two- and four-door models. The Golf truly combines a reliable, safe reputation with a look that will turn heads and excite most drivers. It’s no wonder dealerships around the globe have stocked up on this wondrous automobile that proudly and deservedly reigns as 2013’s Car of the Year.