Two French cars in the running to become the car of the year

Two French models are selected from among the finalists to claim the title of Car of the Year 2023. They come from Peugeot and Renault, but neither is a 100% electric model. They thus stand out from competitors at Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan and Jeep, which offer 100% electric models.

Will this weigh on the chances of French manufacturers to win the prestigious prize, awarded by a panel of 59 European automotive journalists? Last year, it was indeed a 100% electric that won the competition: the Kia EV6. In 2021, we were entitled to a Yaris, which had won the price very tightly, especially against an electric Fiat 500 which sold particularly well. At Peugeot, decorations have been numerous in recent years, with the 208 in 2020, the 3008 in 2017 and the 308 II in 2014.

Last year, the Kia EV6 stole the show from the Renault Mégane E-Tech, an electric revival at the Diamond firm, which is now preparing for an in-depth restructuring (with the arrival of a new stock market structure). To claim to become the Car of the Year, its model in the running will have to prove that thermal engines have not become a public enemy and that hybridization still has a future (an opinion that is no longer really shared by politicians ).

Car of year 2022

© GIMS / Maxime Schmid

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We will therefore have to support the Peugeot 408 and Renault Austral, the two French finalists for the title of Car of the Year 2023. The Peugeot 408, faithful to the electric-skeptical strategy of the lion brand, comes in petrol and hybrid versions . The gasoline range revolves around a 1.2 liter PureTech block of 130 horsepower. Hybridization brings the 408 to 180 and 225 horsepower. Note that 100% gasoline is measured at a consumption of 6 liters per 100 kilometers. Not sure it will happen in 2022.

On the side of the Renault Austral, we are entitled to two micro-hybrid engines: a 1.2 petrol unit of 130 horsepower with a small 48V engine and another with a displacement of 1.3 liters for 160 horsepower. Then, on the classic hybrids, Renault equips the Austral SUV with a 1.2 petrol unit of 160 or 200 horsepower. According to our colleagues from AutoPlus, blocks equipped with micro-hybridization would be particularly energy-intensive compared to conventional hybrids.

The other contenders for the title of Car of the Year 2023 are therefore all 100% electric and we find the Jeep Avenger (from the same Stellantis group as Peugeot), an SUV presented at the last Paris Motor Show. It will face the new Kia Niro, the big SUV Ariya from Nissan, the Toyota bZ4X criticized by our colleagues from 01Net and the Volkswagen ID Buzz, which left us wanting more during our tests at the beginning of the month. To see how the panel of international journalists will make their choice. Verdict in March 2023.

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