1964: Rover 2000
Our look back at the 'Car of the Year' winners begins in the year 1964, when the British car industry was still bringing innovative vehicles to the market. Like this Rover 2000, which won first place ahead of the Mercedes 600 and the rear-engined Hillman Imp.
1965: Austin 1800
In 1965, the European crown again went to England in the form of the Austin 1800 – from today's point of view, it appears somewhat antiquated, but at that time it was as advanced as the second-placed Autobianchi Primula with front-wheel drive. The Ford Mustang finished in third place.
1966: Renault 16
Renault clinched the first of six victories in 1966. Rightly so, because the 16 with its hatchback was extremely modern. In the next two positions: the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and Oldsmobile Toronado.
1967: Fiat 124
The absolute Car of the Year record holder is Fiat with nine victories. It all began in 1967 with the 124, which is also recognisable to many as the Soviet-licensed VAZ-2101 that was steadily redeveloped into the boxy Lada Riva, which still maintained much of its 1967 DNA even in the early 1990s.
Runners-up: BMW 1600 and Jensen FF.
1968: NSU Ro 80
The NSU Ro 80 was the first German make and so far the only car with a Wankel rotary engine to win the CotY prize.
Why 1968 when the Ro 80 was launched in 1967, you ask? The prize is traditionally awarded at the Geneva motor show in March, with a selection of the last year's innovations. Runners-up: Fiat 125 and Simca 1100.
1969: Peugeot 504
Designed by Pininfarina, the 504 proved to be a great sales success for Peugeot. The Car of the Year 1969 title might have helped here...
Runners-up: BMW 2500/2800 and Alfa Romeo 1750/2000.
1970: Fiat 128
With today's virtually unknown 128, Fiat was the first brand to win the Car of the Year trophy for the second time.
Runners-up: Autobianchi A112 and Renault 12.
1971: Citroen GS
In 1971 Citroen won its first CotY victory, when the GS took first place with a clear lead over the VW K 70 and another Citroen: the SM.
1972: Fiat 127
Fiat again – 1972 saw the crown go to the 127, which won just as clearly as its brand predecessor, the 128, two years earlier. A proof of what modern products Fiat had at that time.
Runners-up: Renault 15/17 and Mercedes 350 SL.
1973: Audi 80
Finally another German victory to report in 1973 – the then-brand new Audi 80 won by only five points ahead of the Renault 5, and third place went to Alfa Romeo's Alfetta.
1974: Mercedes 450 SE
Strange – just after the first oil crisis, a luxury saloon of all things won Car of the Year, namely the first Mercedes S-Class. To this day, it is the only victory for Mercedes.
Behind the German, the Fiat X1/9 and the Honda Civic meant a Japanese brand was up on the podium for the first time.
1975: Citroen CX
Looking back, you might expect the first-generation of Volkswagen Golf to have won the CotY gong in 1975 – but of course it's not just German journalists who voted – the Golf only finished second in front of the Audi 50 and behind the Citroen CX.
1976: Simca 1307/1308
Do you remember Simca? Today, the victory of what later became a Peugeot subsidiary brand in 1976 might seem astonishing. The 1307/1308 series was ahead of the BMW 3 Series and the Renault 30.
1977: Rover 3500
Thirteen years after its first CotY victory, in 1977 Rover won with the successor model to the 2200, the 3500, which was appealing due to its sleek design and a V8 engine. It was the last victory for an English car. Runners-up: Audi 100 and Ford Fiesta.
1978: Porsche 928
Forty years ago, the Porsche 928 was the first and only sports car to win CotY – and likewise this was the only win so far for the Porsche brand. Runners-up in 1978: BMW 7 Series and Ford Granada.
1979: Simca Horizon
This is the year full of cars you've never really heard of. Another Simca took the CotY prize – the modern Horizon was later sold under the name Talbot. Close behind: Fiat Ritmo and Audi 80.
1980: Lancia Delta
These were the times when a new Lancia impressed the professional world so much that it was voted Car of the Year. The Delta triumphed over the Vauxhall Astra and the Peugeot 505 in 1980.
1981: Ford Escort
A victory for Germany or Europe? In 1981 the Ford Escort, which was co-developed in the UK, prevailed just a small amount ahead of the Fiat Panda and Austin Metro.
1982: Renault 9
The Renault 9 is one of the many forgotten cars of the 1980s. In 1982 it was Car of the Year in front of the Vauxhall Cavalier and the Volkswagen Polo.
1983: Audi 100
Another German victory and yet again one for Audi: In 1983 the third generation of the 100 took first place. In front of another wind tunnel miracle, the Ford Sierra. Third place remained for the square Volvo 760.
1984: Fiat Uno
It seems fitting – Uno is the Italian word for one, and the small Fiat took number one place in 1984 in the Car of the Year awards. Runners-up: Peugeot 205 and VW Golf.
1985: Vauxhall Astra
Cheering in Luton: While the Volkswagen Golf only finished third last year, the Astra won in 1985...but the competition wasn't too strong in the form of the Renault 25 and Lancia Thema.
1986: Ford Scorpio
The W124 Mercedes E-Class only managed third place in 1986, ahead of the Lancia Y10 and the overall winner, the Ford Scorpio.
1987: Vauxhall Carlton
Only two years after the Astra won the prize, Vauxhall was able to cheer again: the Carlton saloon prevailed over the Audi 80 and BMW 7 Series.
1988: Peugeot 405
A record to date: 464 points for the Peugeot 405 meant a lead of 212 points over the second-placed Citroen AX. Third place went to the Honda Prelude.
1989: Fiat Tipo
The Fiat Tipo is currently celebrating its 30th birthday – and it shouldn't be forgotten that it was Car of the Year in 1989. Runners-up: Vauxhall Vectra and VW Passat.
1990: Citroen XM
Fifteen years after the Citroen CX, its successor, the XM, also won the Car of the Year title. It was to be the last victory for Citroen up until the present day. Runners-up: Mercedes SL and Ford Fiesta.
1991: Renault Clio
By the beginning of the 1990s, Japanese cars were beginning to offer serious competition for the established Europeans. So it is not surprising that in 1991 the Nissan Primera finished second behind the Renault Clio, but ahead of the Vauxhall Calibra.
1992: VW Golf
It took the VW Golf almost 20 years to become Car of the Year in Europe. In 1992 it won ahead of its arch-rival, the Vauxhall Astra and the Citroen ZX.
1993: Nissan Micra
This year's awards caused something of a sensation – the Nissan Micra was the first Japanese car to win CotY 1993. The runners-up: Fiat Cinquecento and Renault Safrane.
1994: Ford Mondeo
Another victory for a world car: In 1994 the Ford Mondeo was able to hold its ground ahead of the Citroen Xantia and the Mercedes C-Class.
1995: Fiat Punto
Points win for Fiat: In 1995 the Punto (Italian for 'point') placed ahead of the VW Polo and the Vauxhall Omega.
1996: Fiat Bravo/Brava
In 1996 we saw the first time a brand successfully defended its title – the Fiat Bravo and Brava prevailed against the Peugeot 406 and the Audi A4.
1997: Renault Megane Scenic
In 1997 we began to see a reflection of the changing market – the Renault Megane Scenic MPV won the CotY trophy ahead of the Ford Ka and Volkswagen Passat.
1998: Alfa Romeo 156
The first victory for Alfa Romeo was a clear one – the neat 156 was awarded a clear win by the jury in front of the Volkswagen Golf and the Audi A6. The Italians seem to do well, eh?
1999: Ford Focus
The Ford Focus caused a stir at the end of the 1990s – especially in terms of design, where it brought a new level of chic to the mass market. It won the Car of the Year in 1999, beating the Vauxhall Astra and Peugeot 206.
2000: Toyota Yaris
Another victory for Japan: In 2000 the Toyota Yaris won ahead of the Fiat Multipla. Third place went to the Vauxhall Zafira.
2001: Alfa Romeo 147
A successful period for Alfa Romeo: In 2001 the 147 overtook the Ford Mondeo by only one point. The Toyota Prius was only 10 points short of the gold medal.
2002: Peugeot 307
The decision was somewhat clearer in 2002 – the Peugeot 307 won ahead of the Renault Laguna and Fiat Stilo.
2003: Renault Megane
The 2000s were a successful time for brands from France and Italy. In 2003 the Renault Megane won, followed by the Mazda 6 and the Citroen C3.
2004: Fiat Panda
The Fiat Panda achieved what its distance ancestor could not – in 2004 it won the CotY prize ahead of the Mazda 3 and the Volkswagen Golf.
2005: Toyota Prius
In 2001, the Toyota Prius had narrowed its gap to the lead in the Car of the Year vote, but in 2005 the new edition won. Runners-up: Citroen C4 and Ford Focus.
2006: Renault Clio
The last victory for Renault was in 2006 with the Clio, which won by a narrow margin ahead of the Volkswagen Passat and finished third with the Alfa Romeo 159.
2007: Ford S-Max
It was a close-run thing in 2007 – 235 points for the Ford S-Max, 233 points for the Vauxhall Corsa and 222 points for the Citroen C4 Picasso.
2008: Fiat 500
Fiat's last CotY win came in 2008 with the retro-tastic 500. Runners-up: the Mazda 2 and the Ford Mondeo.
2009: Vauxhall Insignia
Vauxhall was in high spirits in 2009 when the Insignia won by just one point ahead of the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Golf.
2010: Volkswagen Polo
The top three finishers of the year 2010 are interesting: The Volkswagen Polo won ahead of the Smart Fortwo-like Toyota iQ and the Vauxhall Astra.
2011: Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf was the first electric vehicle to be named Car of the Year in 2011. The other seats: Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Vauxhall Meriva.
2012: Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt
Was it an electric car with a range extender or a plug-in hybrid? Whatever the Vauxhall Ampera alias Chevrolet was supposed to be, it was advanced stuff back in 2012. This secured him the crown before the Volkswagen Up and the Ford Focus.
2013: Volkswagen Golf
More than 200 points ahead: 2013 was the year of the VW Golf in its seventh generation. The runner up places were taken by the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ and the Volvo V40.
2014: Peugeot 308
2014's Car of the Year award was almost an electro-triumph. In the end, however, the Peugeot 308 moved ahead of the BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S.
2015: Volkswagen Passat
In the 2010s, VW made up for a number of missed CotY opportunities, particularly in 2015 with its Passat. Behind came the Citroen C4 Cactus and the Mercedes C-Class.
2016: Vauxhall Astra
Vauxhall also had reason to cheer – in 2016 the then-new Astra won ahead of the Volvo XC90 and the Mazda MX-5.
2017: Peugeot 3008
Alfa Romeo almost triumphed in 2017, but was edged out by a French rival. The Giulia left the Mercedes E-Class behind, but it was taken down by eventual winner, the Peugeot 3008.
2018: Volvo XC40
First victory for Volvo, first victory for Sweden: The current Car of the Year in Europe is the XC40, the small SUV that took first place ahead of the Seat Ibiza and BMW 5 Series.
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