BEATING OUT A FIELD of over 30 rival cars, the Volkswagen Polo 5 has been voted Europe's Car of the Year - the first victory for VW in 18 years.
The Polo received points from each of the jury's 59 motoring journalists from 23 European countries. Twenty-five of the judges chose it as their favourite, leading to a grand total of 347 points.
"The Polo convinced most of all thanks to its complete safety package and its range of modern engines," jury president Hakan Matson said.
In a race that demonstrated Europe's shift toward small cars and greater fuel efficiency, the little Volkswagen beat the ultra-small Toyota iQ by just 10 points.
The Opel/Vauxhall Astra hatch - discontinued in the Australian market - took third place honours.
The new Polo is scheduled to arrive in Australia in the first half of next year. Specific dates, local pricing and engine options have not yet been revealed.
In Europe, engine options include 1.2 and 1.4 litre petrol engines, and a turbocharged 1.2 litre TSI petrol engine. A new 1.6 litre TDI common rail diesel engine is also offered.
Outside the top three, the other four finalists were the Citroen C3 Picasso, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Peugeot 3008 and the Skoda Yeti - all four of which either will be soon or are available in Australia right now.
Last year's winner was the Opel Insignia, also sold in the UK as the Vauxhall Insignia and the US as the Buick Regal. There are no plans to offer the Insignia in Australia.