This week saw Peugeot’s new 308 crowned the European Car of the Year for 2014. In hour of the Peugeot’s achievement, we look back at the the previous winners and pick out our top three European Car of the Year winners.
1. Ford Focus
Replacing an icon like the Ford Escort was never going to be an easy task, but with the Focus for did it. It launched in 1998 and won the Car of the Year title in 1999. Its styling was cutting edge, immediately marking it out as something new and fresh. It drove even better, with a sublime chassis that put driver enjoyment and involvement right at the heart of things. A deserving winner.
2. Peugeot 405
Peugeot were at the height of their powers when the 405 launched in 1987. It beat the Citroen AX and Honda Prelude to the 1988 crown. It became a sales success as well as motorsport icon, thanks to its breathtaking Pikes Peak victory at the hands of Ari Vatanen. It was offered as a saloon or estate and proved popular the world over. In fact that it remains in production, albeit under licence, to this day.
3. Alfa Romeo 156
The 156 faced some stiff competition to win Car of the Year in 1998, beating the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A6 into second and third place. Its gorgeous shape came courtesy of Walter de Silva, the man who would go on to design the Audi TT and R8. The 156 wasn’t just a good looking car, it was good to drive too, with some impressive engineering underneath it.