Irish Car of the Year 2019


Car Awards Season – its that time of year again!

November, in Ireland anyway, is the month when various motoring awards are handed out to Ireland’s motor distributors by the professional motoring press and a number of part time motoring writers. The awards ceremony is unique night hosted by the press (kindly supported by Continental Tyres Ireland) for the industry as a celebration of the year. This year’s 33 person judging panel comprised of members of the APMP (association of professional motoring press) of which I am a member and the IMWA. The awards are presented quite late in the year as it is a key time for new year car purchases. Also the timing allows the various category winners and overall title winners to prepare to market the award for the following year. The outgoing 2018 Irish Car of the Year was the Peugeot 3008. It must now hand over the title to the newly crowned overall winner the excellent Volvo XC40.

David Thomas, CEO Volvo Ireland with the VolvoXC40 winner of the 2019 Irish Car of the Year Awards in association with Continental Tyres.
Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2018

The Rules: To qualify for this round of ‘2019’ awards cars must be all-new models and not just refreshed facelifts – even though they are often marketed as new versions by the carmakers to the public. The eligible vehicles (vans are included) must be launched and on sale in Ireland since the last awards – so from November 2017 onwards right up to the end of October 2018. Categories must have at least three vehicles in it or else the category is merged. Judges then distribute a set number of votes in each category and the overall totals deliver a category winner. The overall Car of the Year is chosen by the judges from the category winners by a single/first passed the post vote carried out on the day of the awards. To aid transparency and ensure the integrity of the voting process the APMP insisted the voting process be open and circulated post the event to fellow judges and interested parties in the Irish motor industry.

The Irish Car of the Year 2019 Categories, Contenders and Winner:

Small / Compact Car

Ford Focus
Kia Ceed
Mercedes A Class
Volkswagen Polo
Subaru Impreza

The Winner: Ford Focus

Ford Focus ST Line

My choice: Ford Focus


Small Crossover

Citroen C3 Aircross
Ford EcoSport
Hyundai Kona
SEAT Arona

The Winner: SEAT Arona

My choice: Hyundai Kona, but Arona is excellent also.


Compact Crossover

Dacia Duster
Jeep Compass
Jaguar E-pace
Volvo XC40

The Winner: Volvo XC40

My choice: Volvo XC40


Medium Crossover

Honda CR-V
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Opel Grandland
Skoda Karoq
Subaru XV

The Winner: Skoda Karoq

My choice: Honda CR-V by a whisker


Large Crossover

Hyundai Santa Fe
Porsche Cayenne
Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagen Tourareg

The Winner: Volkswagen Touareg

My choice: BMW X4 – because its fun to drive.


Green/Efficient Car

Ford Mondeo HEV
Jaguar I-Pace
Kia Niro PHEV
Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

The Winner: Nissan Leaf

My choice: Nissan Leaf


Executive/Premium Car

Audi A6
Audi A7
Audi A8
BMW 6 Series GT
Kia Stinger – GT Line
Mercedes CLS
Lexus LS 500h
Volvo V60

Mercedes-Benz CLS

The Winner: Mercedes-Benz CLS

My choice: Audi A6 by a whisker from the CLS


Hot Hatchback (sub 300hp)

Ford Fiesta ST
Hyundai i30N
Volkswagen Polo GTI
Renault Megane RS
Suzuki Swift Sport
Toyota Yaris GRMN

The Winner: Ford Fiesta ST

My choice: Hyundai i30N (275hp) – but ST is brilliant too.


Performance Car

Alfa Romeo Stelvio QF
Audi RS3
Audi RS4
Kia Stinger GT

The Winner: BMW M5

My choice: Audi RS3 – its nuts and compact


Innovation Award

Audi A8 – Level 3 Autonomy
Citroen Advanced Comfort Seats
Citroen Progressive Hydraulic Cushion Suspension
Mercedes Benz – MBUX interface
Nissan LEAF – E Pedal
Volvo XC60 – Run off Road Mitigation
Volvo XC40 – Smart Storage

The Winner: Nissan Leaf e-Pedal

My choice: Nissan Leaf e-Pedal

The awards extended to cover light commercial vehicles.

Irish Van of the Year contenders:

Ford Transit Custom
Iveco Daily Blue Power
LDV eV80 Electric
Nissan eNV200
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
VW Crafter

The Winner: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter


The Irish Car of the Year Awards in association with Continental Tyres took place tonight, November 8th, at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin.

ICOTY Committee member Bob Flavin said: “Congratulations to the Volvo XC40 for winning through from a field of some 48 new models launched this year on the Irish market.”

Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres said about the awards: “The choices of the Irish Car of the Year jury provide a great helping hand to Irish consumers in navigating their way through the bewildering array of high tech vehicles that are launched in Ireland each year.”


About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year. Michael is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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