Matt Prior: It's hardly a classic year for new metal

Matt Prior: It’s hardly a classic year for new metal

The Car of the Year 2022 shortlist is out, then. This is a seven-strong list of the COTY judges’ favourite cars, whittled down from all the cars launched this year that are eligible to be named the winner.

That means they’re genuinely new and will be on sale in at least five European countries by the end of 2021. They are the Cupra Born, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Peugeot 308, Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric and Skoda Enyaq iV.

That’s a very battery-electric-centric list, the most ever for COTY by a long way, even for a contest that first named an EV, the Nissan Leaf, as its winner in 2011. 

The 2021 winner, the Toyota Yaris, is a fine car that can’t be plugged in at all. Whatever wins this time, you won’t be able to say that: the only internally combusting car on the list, the Peugeot 308, is available as a plug-in hybrid already and will gain a full EV option in 2023.

Autocar is one of the competition’s nine sponsoring publications and I’m one of the jurors; there are 61 of us from 23 European countries.

The longlist is chosen by a simple vote. I will be honest: I didn’t find it an easy 38-strong longlist from which to choose seven favourite cars this year, and my five UK colleagues thought similarly. I don’t think this has been a classic year for new metal.

The Ioniq 5 and Mégane E-Tech Electric made my personal longlist. No BMW has ever been crowned COTY, and this isn’t going to change for 2022, but I had the i4 and 4 Series noted down too, as well as the Audi E-tron GT, Mercedes-Benz EQS, Tesla Model Y (the Supercharger network is still worth the cost of entry) and, er, Maserati MC20, which I suspected had no chance but which does new things for both Maserati and, more importantly, the class in which it resides, which is what I would like COTY to do. I like an underdog.

The second round of voting is a more complicated points system and the winner is announced next March in Geneva, at what would have been the eve of its international motor show, had it not been cancelled. More, then, in the new year.