"This is the closest COTY competition for years," comments Ray Hutton, president of the 59-strong jury of senior motoring journalists. "Car of the Year has often been decided narrowly, but it is eight years since another Ford, the Mondeo, was beaten by a single point by Alfa Romeo's 147." To underscore the closeness of the 46-year-old competition, the Vauxhall/Opel Insignia received most votes from 20 of the international jurors, while the Fiesta was placed first by 19 of them.
Points allotted by journalists to the other COTY finalists were Citroen C5 198, Alfa Romeo MiTo 148, Skoda Superb 144 and Renault Megane 121 points.
For the record, the competition's first stage was in October, when jurors chose seven finalists from a total of 37 contenders. In order to be eligible for COTY, a car must be launched within the past 12 months and has to be available in at least five European countries - which is why the Toyota iQ didn't take part in this year's competition as European sales start in January 2009.
Opel/Vauxhall Insignia - 321 Points
Ford Fiesta - 320 Points
Volkswagen Golf VI - 223 Points
Citroen C5 - 198 Points
Alfa Romeo MiTo - 148 Points
Skoda Superb - 144 Points
Renault Megane - 121 Points