The Vauxhall Astra has been voted the European Car of the Year in what is widely acknowledged to be one of the stiffest competitions for many years. The new family hatchback scored 309 points from the 58-strong Jury (including Andrew English from Telegraph Cars) with the Volvo XC90 SUV in second place with 294 points and the Mazda MX-5 with 202 points.
In a ceremony on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show where the points are added up Eurovision Song Contest style, Karl-Thomas Neumann, chairman of Opel and General Motor's president of Europe, received the trophy from Hakan Matson, the Coty jury president.
"You cannot believe how happy I am and for the team that created this car," said Neumann.
This is the first time that the Astra has won the coveted trophy, but its predecessor the Opel Kadette won the 1985 Coty trophy and the Astra has been second twice in 1992 and 1999, and third in 2010.
The other shortlisted cars were the Audi A4, Jaguar XE, Skoda Superb and BMW 7-series.