The new Volkswagen Polo marked its first year of production in style by triumphing in the 2010 European Car of the Year Award, beating six other finalists. VW’s baby Golf scored 347 points, 10 more than runner up Toyota iQ. Both these cars scored well ahead of the rest, which included the new Opel Astra (221 points), Skoda Yeti (158), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (155), Peugeot 3008 (144) and the Citroen C3 Picasso (113).

“This year’s results show that the body of COTY jurors firmly believes that small, economical cars were the best of this year’s crop. The Polo is a very complete, very refined car which delivers all the consistent qualities VW has become so well known for. However, given its unusual layout, controversial looks and premium price, the iQ did amazingly well,” said Steve Cropley of Autocar, one of six UK based jurors among 59 senior motoring jornalists from 23 European countries who decide the award.

The judges voted twice, first to select a shortlist of seven, and again to choose the winner. The Polo was backed as the winning car by 25 jurors, while the iQ was chosen by 20 jurors. The 2009 winner of the European COTY is the Opel Insignia, which narrowly edged out the Ford Fiesta to the title.