The Vauxhall Astra is the 2016 European Car of the Year.
In one of the closest competitions for some time, the British-built hatchback triumphed over the Volvo XC90, scoring 309 points to the 294 of its Swedish rival.
It is the fifth time Vauxhall/Opel has won in the 52 years of the competition, the most recent being the Ampera range-extender electric car in 2012. The Astra Mk2, Omega A and Insignia also took the trophy.
The result of the competition, which is voted for by 58 leading motoring journalists from 22 European countries, was announced in Geneva on the eve of the annual motor show.
Seven cars were shortlisted, with each journalist having 25 points to allocate across them – awarding no more than 10 points to an individual car or equal first place points and scoring at least five of the seven cars.
Following the competition, the points allocated by all the juries were published on caroftheyear.org and revealed that the British jury’s vote differed significantly from the overall vote. For the UK journalists the Mazda MX-5 was a clear winner, followed by the Volvo XC90, with the Vauxhall Astra finishing joint third with the Skoda Superb.
The award was presented to Vauxhall/Opel CEO Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann by Car of the Year President Hakan Matson.
Vauxhall chairman and MD Rory Harvey is delighted with the accolade, commenting; “To be named European Car of the Year by judges throughout Europe is a testament to the hard work that has gone into the Astra. This is the new model’s first full year of sales, and it has already been well received.”