Toyota Yaris Named European Car Of The Year 2021

This tiny Toyota claims the crown yet again after a 21 year gap. 

The Toyota Yaris has recently been named European Car of the Year 2021. This (European version of the) Japanese supermini that is only available as a petrol-electric hybrid won this prestigious title with 266 points and 14 best votes from the panel of 59 jurors. 

Putting this into context, the tiny Toyota handily beat out six other deeply impressive cars that were launched last year. The closest of which was the runner-up new Fiat 500, that scored 240 points and 9 best votes, and the third-place Cupra Formentor that finished just 1 point behind (and 1 best vote ahead of) the little Italian supermini. 

In fourth place meanwhile there was the all-new, all-electric Volkswagen ID.3, that secured 224 points and 10 best votes. Rounding up the list of the seven car shortlist was the Skoda Octavia (199 points), Land Rover Defender (164 points) and the Citroen C4 (143 point). 

Having first won the European Car of the Year title back in its first generation form back in 2000, the Yaris joins the small group of cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Renault Clio as being double award winners. As for why this Japanese supermini deserved the title this time round, praise was particularly lavished on its hybrid system, which the jurors deemed to be perfect for a city-runabout due to its low emissions, fuel efficiency and the silent running. 

Additionally, the jurors also noted this new Japanese hatchback was more refined and also more fun to drive than its predecessors and its class competitors. On the topic of fun to drive, the mad, bad 306 hp GR Yaris also certainly ‘caught the eye of many CotY jurors’. 

To those unfamiliar, the European Car of The Year (which actually call themselves just Car of The Year) is an independent organisation supported by nine automotive publications from nine European countries, with the award being voted on by a panel of 59 juries from 22 European countries. First established in 1964 where the Rover 2000 took the top honours that year, more recent winners included the Jaguar I-Pace in 2019 and the Peugeot 208 in 2020. 

Much like prior years, the award 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 however, the show was cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic.


PRESS RELEASE: The Car of the Year 2021 award ceremony has been held in Palexpo -the usual venue for Geneva International Motor Show-and broadcasted worldwide. The Toyota Yaris has won the title, with 266 points and 14 best votes. The Jury of 59 members from 22 European countries has also given 240 points and 9 best votes to the second-placed Fiat New 500; just one point behind finished the Cupra Formentor, which received ten top votes. The Volkswagen ID 3 was fourth, with 224 points and ten best votes, ahead of Skoda Octavia (199 points), Land Rover Defender (164) and Citröen C4 (143).

“A worthy winner of this year’s election, who deservedly prevailed against six top-class competitors,” said Frank Janssen, president of the Car of the Year 2021 Jury, after announcing the results.

Commenting on the win, Matt Harrison, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor 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 recognize 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.”

Excerpts from the jurors:

“A very good all-rounder in its segment that offers top of class safety features.”

“An important car, for an important segment. Toyota continues their work to lower the emissions without compromising the car, with this 3-cylinder hybrid.”

“Not happy enough for having the best full-hybrid system in the segment, Toyota made it even better. More efficient, easier to use and it is fun to drive now.”

“A major qualitative leap in hybridization and efficiency that allows for almost unbelievable fuel economy figures.”

“Something has happened. Toyota Yaris used to be a reliable, fuel efficient but quite boring little car. The new Yaris is fun to drive, nice to ride in and still fuel efficient and reliable.”

“The hybrid system suits a small car. City owners mostly don’t have access to home charging. But the Yaris still gives excellent economy and frequent electric silence in urban driving.”

“Yaris is the best all-rounder in this competition. Hybrid is the way to reduce CO2 if customers miss charging infrastructure where they live.”

“The Yaris has been redesigned from the ground into a good-looking small hatch with also interesting riding, thanks to its new platform.”

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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