The European Car of The Year (ECOTY) recently announced the final nominees eligible to win the Car of The Year Award of 2015. From 32 candidates, the ECOTY jury was able to narrow the list down to 7 nominees that included automakers from Germany, France, Japan and the US.
First up is the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer, the brand's first FWD vehicle and their attempt in the premium compact MPV. Still underpinned by the 2-Series chassis, it is roomier and offers a larger luggage space. Powering the 2-Series Active Tourer range are two engines; for the 218i model, the car is powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine that generates 138 PS with 220 Nm of torque while the 218d is fitted with a four-cylinder diesel engine that generates 152 PS and 330 Nm of torque.
Up next is the Citroen C4 Cactus, a compact SUV that sports a distinct exterior design, an extensively equipped interior, and a frugal and low-maintenance powertrain. Marketed by the company as a low-cost car that features French flair, the exterior of the car is fitted with Citroen's Airbump technology, wherein the body panels are air-filled and protects the car against minor bumps and dents. Inside, it comes standard with automatic climate control, an infotainment system with navigation, wireless connectivity and driver aids like the reverse camera and cruise control. The C4 Cactus can be had in six different engines, 4 gasoline-powered engines and 2 diesel-powered units which can be mated to a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.
Third to be nominated is the all-new European Ford Mondeo. It now carries Ford's design language like the thin headlights and the wide hexagonal grill. It is available as a 5-door hatchback and as a 4-door sedan which is solely powered by a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine. The rear axle now uses a multi-link suspension that provides a more comfortable ride and available engines for the new Mondeo include a 1.5-liter EcoBoost that generates 160 PS and a 1.0-liter inline-three that cranks out 125 PS will also be available soon. Its other feature consist of a larger interior, and wireless connectivity.
The fourth car to be nominated is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It is the automaker's smallest sedan but is 9cm longer and 4cm wider than traditional compact sedans. Weight-saving technology was also used on the car as its body and chassis is now constructed from aluminum and high-strength steel. The front suspension makes use of double wishbones while the rear suspension sits on multi-link suspension. Available engines for the C-Class include an array of inline-four engines and sitting at the mid-range is a gasoline-fed V6 that produces 333 PS. Those that want a more powerful C-Class can opt for the AMG spec that is equipped with a 6.3-liter V8 that churns out 476 PS. A BlueTec Hybrid diesel engine that creates 231 PS can also be equipped on the C-Class.
From Nissan comes the Qashqai, a compact SUV that slots below the new 7-seater X-Trail. It slightly resembles the larger X-Trail in terms of looks but its dimensions are smaller. Underneath, the rear suspension uses a torsion beam as it has a Renault/Nissan CMF platform. It comes in 3 different powertrain trims, the gasoline-powered 1.2-liter DIG-T that produces 116 PS, the diesel-driven 1.5-liter cDi that cranks out 110 PS and the range topping 4x4 variant that is equipped with the 1.6-liter cDi that generates 130 PS.
Originally developed by Renault as a back-to-basics car, the new Renault Twingo is the sixth car to be nominated by ECOTY. It is a 5-door sub-compact car that has its engine fitted at the rear thanks to a partnership with Mercedes parent company, Daimler in doing the Smart ForTwo and ForFour cars. It is a small car that sells itself in customized décor and equipment. It is available in 2 different engine options, the standard 1.0-liter inline-three that cranks out 70 PS and the smaller yet more powerful turbocharged 0.9-liter that produces 90 PS.
The last but not least of the nominees is the Volkswagen Passat, one of Volkswagen's longest running mid-size cars. Now on its 8th generation, it has a longer wheelbase that measures 2,791mm yet it is shorter by 2mm, only measuring 4,767mm. It is also wider as it now has a width of 1,832mm, 12mm wider than its predecessor. It can come in either wagon or sedan body styling and one of notable highlights are two new powertrains, a 2.0-liter twin-turbo diesel engine that delivers 240 PS and 500 Nm of torque which can only be mated with the brand's 7-speed DSG gearbox and 4MOTION AWD system, and a plug-in hybrid variant that is comprised of a 1.4-liter TSI engine paired with an electric motor, giving the car a total system output of 171 PS and 400 Nm of torque.