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Shockingly Incompetent Car Journalists Are Choosing European Car Of The Year 2023

The crème de la crème of European car journalists have made a shortlist for the 2023 European Car of the Year competition, demonstrating that they are a bunch of shockingly incompetent car journalists. What they did was look at buggies to compete with the T-Ford in the market a century ago — in a moment when every well informed market observer knew that the horse was being replaced by the engine.

Jeep Avenger — MHEV and BEV

Jeep Avenger

Kia Niro — HEV, PHEV, and BEV

Kia Niro BEV

Nissan Ariya — BEV

Nissan Ariya

Peugeot 408 — FFV and PHEV

Peugeot 408

Renault Austral — MHEV and HEV

Renault Austral

Subaru Solterra/Toyota bZ4X — BEV

Toyota bZ4X

VW ID.Buzz — BEV

Volkswagen ID. Buzz

From the website of CarOfTheYear.org is the following quote: “In selecting the car of the year they use the following criteria: design, comfort, safety, economy, handling, performance, functionality, environmental requirements, driver satisfaction, and price. Technical innovation and value for money are particularly important factors.” (Bold emphasis added by this author.)

To summarize this in an easy-to-understand list, sorted by that particularly important factor:

  1. Nissan Ariya — BEV
  2. Subaru Solterra /Toyota bZ4X — BEV
  3. VW ID.Buzz — BEV
  4. Jeep Avenger — MHEV and BEV
  5. Kia Niro — HEV, PHEV, and BEV
  6. Peugeot 408 — FFV and PHEV
  7. Renault Austral — MHEV and HEV

Only three can be called modern-architecture-car-technology models. Two models are based on transitional technology, with both a tailpipe version and a battery electric version. The last two are just yesteryear’s technology. The journalists show that they think a horse-drawn buggy is a worthwhile competitor to the Ford Model-T and all the other engine-powered cars. This is over a decade after the new technology was demonstrated to be better and even after the regulators and many OEMs themselves declared the fossil fuel burners a technology of the past, a technology that should be abandoned as fast as possible.

Any model with a tailpipe should be disqualified for using yesterday’s technology. That would remove the Peugeot 408 and Renault Austral from the list. The Jeep Avenger and Kia Niro should only be judged on the BEV versions of the models. Using an old shared platform is not really innovative technology, it is upgraded old technology to bridge the time needed to develop modern technology.

That leaves the Nissan Ariya, Toyota bZ4X, and VW ID.Buzz as contenders using innovative technology.

The Toyota bZ4X is more a small series pilot project than a serious mass market product from the world’s largest carmaker. These kind of niche products from startups have been accepted as contenders in the past, but Toyota is hardly a startup, even in the fully electric car market. It is just late to the party. In my eyes, this qualifies for a third place at best.

That leaves the Volkswagen ID.Buzz and Nissan Ariya as serious contenders for the European Car Of The Year award chosen by 61 journalists from 23 countries. That is a very short shortlist. They should have used technical innovation as a condition to be included in the shortlist.

The ID.Buzz is long awaited by many fans of the old hippie bus. It is a nostalgic product that offers good value for money. It is built on the MEB platform, just like a dozen other models of the Volkswagen Group. Not brand new technology, but the platform is evolving and seeing improvements.

The Nissan Ariya is the first model using the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi-Alliance CMF-EV platform. That makes it my first choice when weighting only the use of innovative technology. There are eleven other criteria, though, making the competition between the ID.Buzz and the Ariya really interesting.

The jurors do not award points for every condition. They each distribute their 25 points over the 7 candidates with a maximum of 10 and a minimum of 0. It is based on their very personal opinion, and sometimes a bit on national pride.

The result of this contest will be presented in an award ceremony at the Brussels Motor Show on Friday, January 13th.

Many of these journalists are clearly out of touch with the current car market in transition to fully electric driving. And it is not the first time they demonstrated this.

Looking at the longlist of candidates, it was not from lack of good choices that this shortlist was filled with five undeserving candidates. There were more than two great innovative new models to choose from.

  1. Alfa Romeo Tonale
  2. BAIC EU5
  3. BMW X1/iX1
  4. BMW i7
  5. BYD Tang
  6. Citroën C5 X
  7. Dacia Jogger
  8. DFSK Series 5
  9. Ferrari 296 GTB
  10. Ferrari Purosangue
  11. Hongqi E-HS9
  12. Honda Civic
  13. Jeep “B-SUV”
  14. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  15. Kia Niro
  16. Kia Sportage
  17. Land Rover Range Rover/ Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  18. Lexus RZ
  19. Lotus Emira
  20. Lucid Air
  21. Maserati Grecale
  22. Mazda CX-60
  23. McLaren Artura
  24. Mercedes-Benz GLC
  25. Mercedes-EQ EQE
  26. Mercedes-AMG SL
  27. MG 4 28. MG 5
  28. Nio ES8
  29. Nio ET7
  30. Nissan Ariya
  31. Nissan X-Trail
  32. Opel/Vauxhall Astra
  33. Ora Cat
  34. Peugeot 408
  35. Renault Austral
  36. Smart #1
  37. Subaru Solterra/Toyota bZ4X
  38. Toyota Aygo X
  39. Toyota Corolla Cross
  40. Toyota GR86
  41. Vinfast VF8
  42. Vinfast VF9
  43. Volkswagen ID. Buzz
  44. Xpeng P5

What do you think should be the seven finalists for the official European Car Of The Year 2023 award?

 
 
 
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Written By

Grumpy old man. The best thing I did with my life was raising two kids. Only finished primary education, but when you don’t go to school, you have lots of time to read. I switched from accounting to software development and ended my career as system integrator and architect. My 2007 boss got two electric Lotus Elise cars to show policymakers the future direction of energy and transportation. And I have been looking to replace my diesel cars with electric vehicles ever since. At the end of 2019 I succeeded, I replaced my Twingo diesel for a Zoe fully electric. And putting my money where my mouth is, I have bought Tesla shares. Intend to keep them until I can trade them for a Tesla car. I added some Fastned, because driving without charging is no fun.

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