MUNICH -- Volkswagen's new Polo narrowly beat the Toyota iQ to win the 2010 European Car of the Year award for the first time in 18 years.
The Polo scored 347 points against 337 for the iQ city car. The new Opel Astra was No. 3 with 221 points followed by the Skoda Yeti (158 points); the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (155 points); the Peugeot 3008 (144 points) and the Citroen C3 Picasso (113 points).
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said the new Polo, the fifth generation of the subcompact car, was designed to address customer expectations with even greater uncompromising standards.
“We are naturally very pleased to see our efforts validated in the form of this award," Winterkorn said in a statement.
The Car of the Year is one of Europe's oldest and most valued awards. Some 59 motoring journalists from 23 European countries cast votes.
Last year's winner was the Opel Insignia. VW last won the award in 1992 when the third generation Golf beat the Opel Astra and Citroen ZX.
Hakan Matson, president of the jury, said the Polo's comprehensive safety equipment, advanced engine range and fuel-efficient BlueMotion variant impressed jury members.
VW said it has received more than 130,000 orders for the Polo since its launch in Europe in May.
Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said VW could launch a Polo sedan in the U.S. in 2011 or 2012 followed by a hatchback with more space than the European model.
If sold in North America, the Polo would be priced under the Jetta at between $13,000 and $15,000. Jacoby told Automotive News in an interview in April.
The iQ minicar will be sold in the United States under the Scion badge.