The electric Jaguar I-Pace won the Car of the Year award in Europe on Monday, the first time the storied British brand has been bestowed the prize just as Brexit looms over the continent’s auto industry.
The small SUV with coupe lines edged out the Alpine A110 sports car, which is not a mass production vehicle, after they tied for top honours in a first round of voting by dozens of automotive journalists. The Jaguar won a runoff.
“UK Car of the Year judges praised the I-PACE for being ‘miles ahead of the premium EV pack, designed and engineered without compromise for an electric future, unlike big-name rivals still to launch.’ According to other judges the I-PACE ‘gives executives good reason to switch to electric mobility, packaging a long-range battery and powerful drivetrain into a sporty SUV body. It’s an electric car that appeals to both head and heart.’”
Jaguar design director Ian Callum said the automaker, now owned by India’s Tata Motors, sees electric as the future. He touted the new platform for the I-Pace and said the car showed how Jaguar can innovate.
Winner: The Jaguar I-Pace
The award established in 1964 marks the unofficial start of the Geneva auto show. The prize, which can propel sales, is organised by seven European magazines and awarded by 60 journalists from nearly two dozen countries.
“I think jury members are quite excited about having a luxury SUV, electric vehicle with a sporty look,” said jury president Frank Janssen of the German weekly Stern. “It’s the first electric vehicle from a European premium manufacturer that can take up with Tesla.”
The five other finalists were the Citroen C5 Aircross, Ford Focus, Kia Ceed, Mercedes-Benz A-class and Peugeot 508.
Winner: The Jaguar I-Pace
The finalists were narrowed down from an initial list of 60 models, and road tests began in October. Final tests were two weeks ago at a test centre outside Paris.
In total, I-PACE already got 55 major global awards, including German Car of the Year, Norwegian Car of the Year and China Green Car of the Year and has chance for World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year, World Green Car of the Year and European Car of the Year. The European title to be announced today.
Last year’s winner was the Volvo XC40, a compact SUV.
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