All of the movers and shakers in the Irish motor industry were at Dublin's Crowne Plaza hotel to witness a glittering awards ceremony. The event is the highlight of the Irish motoring year. The IMWA's 27 jury members voted the 3008 into overall top spot ahead of the E Class from Mercedes Benz, with the Kia's Soul coming third overall.
Since the launch of Nissan's Qashqai a few years ago the Irish car market has seen huge growth in popularity of so called SUV/Crossovers. These vehicles are basically cars that look rough and tough like any four-wheel drive SUV but have more car like dynamics, are cheaper to buy as they are mainly two-wheel drive and of course have far cheaper running costs. Peugeot's two-wheel drive answer to Nissan's Qashqai the 3008, offers great value for money in a package that is very versatile and family friendly. The 1.6 litre HDi front-wheel drive car has a large interior and clever split tailgate and boot (see motors archive & video archive for more) and is economical to run.
To win the coveted overall award, a car must first win one of the five sub categories. From the list of eligible cars launched this year a shortlist of just two contenders in each category were further tested by the jury members. At the IMWA's refresher day, held earlier in November, members put the cars through their paces again and then awarded points on criteria ranging from innovation and safety to space, comfort, build quality, driving quality, value for money etc. The Irish market is a little different to Europe and this fact is often reflected in the cars chosen. With VRT and CO2 tax changes we now see more than ever the need for a car to delivery more than just the sum of its parts.
Peugeot's 3008 won the Continental Irish SUV/Crossover of the Year award ahead of Kia's Soul. Honda's Jazz was crowned Continental Irish Small Car of the Year ahead of Volkswagen's Polo. The Continental Irish Family Car of the Year award was won by Volkswagen's Golf by 1 point from Opel's Insignia. The Continental Irish MPV of the Year title went to Renault's Grand Scenic from Renault's Kangoo, while the E Class from Mercedes won the Continental Irish Luxury/Sports Car of the Year title ahead Honda's Accord.
Ford made a clean sweep in the Continental Van of the Year awards with the Transit Connect and the Ford Kuga winning the car-derived van category. Presenting the award to Eddie Murphy, Chairman and Managing Director of Ford Ireland, Paddy Murphy of Continental Tyres said "Ford has long enjoyed a leading position in the van marketplace in Ireland, and it's through vehicles like the new Transit Connect. The blue oval's hat-trick of awards is a tribute to the brand's CV credentials."
As an IMWA Juror I want to say well done and congratulations to Peugeot 3008 for winning the title Continental Irish Car of the Year 2010.