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Electric SUVs dominate Car of the Year shortlist

The Volvo EX30, on sale in early 2024
The Volvo EX30 is one of the cheaper family electric cars on the market, but one of the best too

The 2024 Car of the Year shortlist has been announced, with seven contenders going forward out of 28 eligible cars – and five of them are electric SUVs.

The new BMW 5 Series, BYD Seal, Kia EV9, Peugeot 3008 and E-3008, Renault Scenic, Toyota C-HR and Volvo EX30 will be closely scrutinised by the 59 eligible jury members in 22 countries, with the winner being announced early next year.

As in recent years, the jury has voted for an EV-heavy shortlist, with just the BMW, Peugeot and Toyota having (or at least being available with) combustion engines. While the Volvo and the BYD are built in China by Chinese-owned companies, the Kia is built in South Korea and Georgia, US, and the Toyota is built in Turkey, the Renault in France, the BMW in Germany and the Peugeot in France.

It has been a bit of a fight to determine which cars are eligible for the 2024 award, with many initially promising cars not available in time or on sale in sufficient countries to qualify. In the end, 16 vehicles were left off the list, including the Ineos Grenadier, Lotus Eletre, Lexus LM and Mercedes-Benz CLE. Car makers left off the list because of a lack of availability include Nio and XPeng.

The shortlisted cars will now be driven and picked apart by the judges – including the six UK jurors – and voted on ahead of the winner being announced at the end of February 2024. Here are the seven contenders…

BMW 5 Series

From £51,000 (on sale now)

BMW i5: pure electric power
BMW i5: pure electric power - Mark Fagelson Photography

The all-new 5 Series brings BMW’s big executive saloon to the forefront of autonomous, powertrain and user-interface tech. It’s available with petrol, plug-in hybrid and – in the BMW i5 – pure electric power. Despite its evident focus on tech, the BMW has retained its core identity as the driver’s car of choice in this class.

BYD Seal

From £45,695 (on sale now)

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BYD Seal: benefits from the company’s cobalt-free, LFP Blade battery tech

Chinese manufacturer BYD has made a big impact in the few years that it has been selling cars in Europe, and the Seal – its rival to the Tesla Model 3 – is by far the best of the three models it has launched in the UK to date. Complete with a high-performance, four-wheel-drive version and a long-range, rear-wheel-drive model capable of up to 354 miles, it also benefits from the company’s cobalt-free, LFP Blade battery tech.

Kia EV9

Price from: £64,995 (on sale now)

Kia EV9: seriously good
Kia EV9: seriously good

There aren’t many full-size, seven-seat electric cars or SUVs on the market, but Kia has just released a seriously good offering. Complete with a range of up to 349 miles, and clever, flexible seating that can be specified with rotating seats in the middle row, it’s a smart, practical and luxurious offering in an under-served class.

Peugeot 3008

From £32,830  (on sale early 2024)

The driver's side interior of the new Peugeot 3008
The touchscreen infotainment system in the new Peugeot 3008 is an upgrade on the previous generation

This all-new third generation of Peugeot’s family-favourite crossover benefits from a new Stellantis-developed platform, as well as the French brand’s much-improved new touchscreen system. Available in pure electric E-3008 form with two batteries, offering a range of 326 or 435 miles, as well as in plug-in hybrid and full hybrid guises, the Peugeot 3008 and E-3008 offer a powertrain to suit everyone, as well as a classy interior and useful practicality.

Renault Scenic

From £40,000 (est, on sale early 2024)

The Renault Scenic pure-electric crossover SUV
The new Renault Scenic SUV has got plenty of room for the passengers in the back - DPPI

The Renault Scenic is back, but it’s not like the MPV that many are familiar with. Reborn as a pure electric crossover SUV with a WLTP range of up to 388 miles, the Scenic gets in-built Google tech, really smart materials and masses of rear passenger space. For the equipment and long-range ability, it represents decent value within the electric SUV masses.

Toyota C-HR

From £31,290 (on sale early 2024)

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The C-HR will better service company-car buyers looking for low emissions and tax payments - Jeroen Peeters

The Toyota C-HR is another popular option in the mid-sized family SUV class that has dominated the 2024 Car of the Year shortlist. Now evolved to include a plug-in hybrid version, as well as a self-charging hybrid powertrain, it’s roomier, has an improved interface and will also better service company-car buyers looking for low emissions and tax payments.

Volvo EX30

From £33,795 (on sale early 2024)

Scandinavian styling in the interior of the Volvo EX30
The typically Scandi-styled interior of the Volvo, with its Tesla-like infotainment interface - David Shepherd

The Volvo is a pure electric car that sits on a Geely-developed platform (Geely being the Chinese company that owns Volvo). It’s offered with two battery options, rear- and four-wheel drive, and a range of up to 298 miles. Despite being the cheapest Volvo on sale, it’s also, usefully, the fastest, with a sub-four-second 0-62mph time in the dual-motor EX30. In fact, despite the Volvo brand lustre, Scandi-styled interior and Tesla-like interface, it’s one of the cheaper electric family cars on sale, and one of the best.