The votes are in, the ballots tabulated, and a combined jury of automotive journalists from across Europe have officially named their Car of the Year for 2016.
Unfortunately for us, it`s not one we can get here at the moment. Geographic availability aside, this year`s top prize went to the new Opel Astra.
The C-segment hatchback took a victorious 312 points, edging out a win over the Volvo XC90 and its 294 points. A greater number of panelists nominated the Mazda MX-5 Miata as their favorite, but the combined scores only awarded the Japanese roadster a total of 202 points. That was still enough, however, to edge out the other finalists, including the Audi A4, Jaguar XE, Skoda Superb, and BMW 7 Series.
The Astra is GM`s European challenger to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. It`s marketed as a Vauxhall in the UK, an Opel in continental Europe, a Holden in Australia, and as the Buick Verano Hatch in China. Past versions were also sold as the Saturn Astra here in the United States, but so far this latest version of the model remains out of reach to American customers.
The award is handed out by a combined panel of 58 jurists representing Auto in Italy, Autocar in the UK, Autopista in Spain, Autovisie in the Netherlands, L`Automobile in France, Stern in Germany, and Vibilagare in Sweden.