The Kia EV6 has been named Europe's Car of the Year 2022
TEXT Paul Horrell
The Kia EV6 has been named as Europe's Car of the Year.
All newly introduced cars on sale across Europe are eligible. First step is for the 59 jurors from right across Europe (I'm one of six in the UK) to winnow them down to a shortlist of seven. Then we each get 25 points to allot across the shortlist to arrive at the winner.
After voting, the seven shortlisted cars came out like this:
Kia EV6 279 points
Renault Megane Electric 265
Hyundai Ioniq 5 261
Peugeot 308 191
Skoda Enyaq iV 185
Ford Mustang Mach-e 150
Cupra Born 144
One of the key criteria is technical advancement. Maybe that's why six of the seven are pure EV. Only one, the Peugeot 308, has an engine. And even that has a PHEV option – and Peugeot has said an electric version is coming next year.
For a lot of the jurors, it was marked up as the only choice for people who don't have access to a charge point.
One thing none of us could predict was the extent the shared platform cars would split their vote. That applies to the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. And also to an extent the Cupra Born and Skoda Enyaq iV. Now we know.
Worth stressing that although the announcement is done in country order, we don't vote in country blocs. We are all individuals, but there can be trends across countries because of local roads and local prices. Markets that sell more cars have more jurors. And none of us know, when we cast our votes, what any of the others have gone for.
The whole thing is completely transparent. We all explain why we vote the way we did, and it's all on the Car of the Year website.
Might be worth saying that I don't judge this by normal TopGear criteria. We're picking a car that isn't necessarily for the gearhead. And when I write the justification I leave out the puns and metaphors because it's going to be translated into a couple of dozen languages.
OK, my votes and the reasons I submitted: Cupra 1 point, Ford 3, Hyundai 3, Kia 4, Peugeot 2, Renault 8, Skoda 4.
"The Born is fun to drive if you can get beyond the numb steering. It's agile and precise. The driving position and seats are good, and it's refined. You can buy it with a big battery. But apart from a firmer suspension and jazzier trim, it's not so different from the VW ID.3 that wasn't my winner last year, mainly because of the awful touch interface and so-called switches on the steering wheel and doors."
"The Mustang is roomy, practical, and its friendly, easy-to-use nature will ease the transition for combustion crossover owners. It's fairly engaging to drive too, even if assistance for steering and brakes are clumsy compared with the usual Ford of Europe excellence. A good balance of price, performance, space and range. The GT is too fast for its own good, but I won't hold that against the other versions."
"The Ioniq 5 is a distinctive design inside and out. People who like it will love it. The interior is versatile, roomy and made of high-quality imaginative materials. It rides comfortably. A bit of a limo for the passengers then. But it's soggy to drive, the lounge seats give me backache, and the touchscreen is too far away. An extra mark for the 800V system and bidirectional charging."
"The Kia is more fun than the related Hyundai, and to drive it feels like the lightest and most agile of the four electric SUVs – although that's not saying much. The lower seating position is good for the driver, less so for rear passengers, and many cabin trim materials feel cheap. It has the advantage of the same HMC electrical architecture as the Hyundai, and you lose little efficiency when opting for 4WD."
"As the only car here with an engine, the Peugeot will attract people who don't have access to charging. But my Car of the Year must be a clear class leader, and (like the crossovers here) the 308 isn't, quite. I like the cabin design and driving position, and the novel 'shortcut' buttons. On the move it's quiet, especially the PHEV, and the ride is quite supple, but the steering feels slightly artificial and the autobox is indecisive. The LWB estate is a good idea."
"Interesting exterior design and attractive high-quality furniture and trim materials make the Megane a desirable car. The control interface, with a mix of big responsive screens and neat hardware buttons, is easy to use and comprehensive. It's athletic to drive, yet rides very serenely. I'd like the option of a bigger battery, but at least it's efficient with the energy it carries, and uses no rare-earth metals."
"The entry model Skoda at UK prices is cheaper than some comparable diesel crossovers. A sensible family car. It's solid, reassuring and well-trimmed. It's unexciting to drive, but easy, thanks to progressive steering, accelerator and brakes, and has good damping. It also manages to mitigate many of the worst aspects of the VW Group HMI."