The Toyota Yaris has been named Car of the Year 2021. The Yaris was named the winner in a ceremony hosted at the Palexpo exhibition centre in Geneva, on the eve of when the Geneva International Motor Show would have been held. For the second year running, the show was cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Yaris supermini, which is offered only as a petrol-electric hybrid, scored 266 points as it saw off challenges from six other shortlisted cars.
The runner-up was the Fiat 500 Electric, with 240 points, while the Cupra Formentor crossover finished in third, with 239 points. The Volkswagen ID 3 (224 points), Skoda Octavia (199 points), Land Rover Defender (164 points) and Citroën C4 (143 points) completed the seven-car shortlist. It’s the second time a Yaris has won the award – the first-generation Yaris was named Car of the Year in 2000.
Matt Harrison, executive vice-president of Toyota Europe, said: “This is a great honour for Toyota and I’d like to thank the jury for their consideration and recognition. I’d also like to take this opportunity to recognise the passion of our development teams in Europe and Japan. This is the best-ever Yaris, and just as Akio Toyoda intended, it is already putting a smile on the face of our customers.”
Car of the Year is an independent organisation supported by nine automotive publications from nine European countries, including Autocar. The award is voted on by a jury comprising 59 journalists, including Autocar UK's Matt Prior and Andrew Frankel, from 22 countries.
The Car of the Year award was established in 1964, with the Rover 2000 taking top honours.
The Peugeot 208 claimed the prize last year, with the Jaguar I-Pace winning in 2019 on a countback after it finished equal first with the Alpine A110.
Matt Prior, Autocar UK