The winner of the 2018 European Car of the Year award has been announced on the eve of the Geneva International Motor Show.

The Volvo XC40 drove away with the crown for 2018. The new XC40 is scheduled to launch in South Africa in April, and we have already published local pricing for the initial models in the Swedish brand’s fresh-faced baby crossover range.

The little Swedish crossover beat six other finalists to the title: the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi A8, BMW 5 Series, Citroën C3 Aircross, Kia Stinger and Seat Ibiza.

The XC40 scored a total of 325 points to take an overwhelming win, with the Ibiza in second on 242 points. The BMW 5 Series claimed the final place on the podium with 226 points, while the Stinger (204), C3 Aircross (171), A8 (169) and Stelvio (163) rounded out the rankings.

“Winning this award with our new XC40 is perfect timing,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. “Volvo now has three globally available SUVs in its range for the first time. The XC40 will be a strong contributor to further growth, taking us into a new and fast-growing small SUV segment.”

In 2017, the Peugeot 3008 took top honours, while the Opel Astra triumphed in 2016, the Volkswagen Passat in 2015, the Peugeot 308 in 2014 and the Volkswagen Golf in 2013.