The new Toyota Yaris has been named 2021 Car of the Year for Europe. The latest generation of the supermini, offered in either petrol or hybrid format, saw off strong competition from the new all-electric Fiat 500, the new Skoda Octavia and the Volkswagen ID.3.
The winner of the award, which has been in operation since 1964, is selected by a 59-member jury, made up of automotive journalists from 22 countries.
The finalists for this year's award were: Citroën C4, Cupra Formentor, Fiat 500, Land Rover Defender, Škoda Octavia, Toyota Yaris and Volkswagen ID.3.
In the midst of the Covid pandemic, the awards process proved extremely challenging, particularly for journalists to adequately test the new cars.
However, after testing each of the finalists at various stages and operating within the national Covid-19 restrictions in various countries, each jury member got to allocate 25 points across the seven finalists with a maximum of 10 points for any one car.
The final result saw the Yaris secure 266 votes, ahead of the new Fiat 500 with 240, the Cupra Formentor with 239, VW’s ID.3 with 224, the Skoda Octavia with 199, Land Rover Defender with 164 and the new Citroen C4 with 143.
The Yaris victory was partly down to the company’s widely acclaimed GR rally-inspired version of the car. While the regular Yaris is sold as a fuel efficient eco-friendly small car, favoured by Irish buyers for its petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, the GR harks back to the days when car producers built road-going versions of their rally cars.