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New Ypsilon is quirky by name and nature, writes Ian Mallon

A FUNNY thing happened in motoring last week that not many people know about.

A group of continental types with names like Gunter and Hans and Pierre and Sebastian got together and picked an Opel as the best car in Europe.

The same people last year picked the Nissan Leaf as the European Car of the Year, and the year before it was VW Polo -- this year they even threw a Fiat Panda in as a runner up.

For years the European press have been giving us all a good giggle on this side of the pond with their choices of Best in Show for the car industry.

The very thought that Opel are now building the best cars on the planet would have been absurd just a few short years ago, when Opel were shambolic feast of non-engineering, starved of funding by its GM overlord.

Opel has happily changed and their cars have come a long way up the food chain, but are they better than Audi, BMW or Ford?

The reason that the Opel Ampera was selected by the motor writers of Europe is simple.

Motoring journalists on the continent are some of the dullest individuals on the face of the earth, and worse again, many of them have turned into a bunch of idealistic, left wing eco warriors, determined to rid the world of fossil fuel powered cars.

Despite the fact that the electric car has been a commercial catastrophe so far, they continue to pound us over the head with their professions.

Sure, put in a new feature next year, where there is a Best Electric Car but don't sully an already rubbished process any further.

Why else would they pick another electric car as the Car of the Year for the second year in a row -- following in last year's preposterous selection of the Nissan Leaf as the winner -- unless they were pushing an agenda?

I haven't yet driven the Ampera but I am expecting bells and whistles and a better experience than I enjoyed in both the Audi Q3 and Range Rover Evoque -- and if not I will hunt down all 300 journalists who voted for the Opel.

Another America marque who've made headlines last week has been Chrysler.

The Chrysler Ypsilon is certainly no Car Of The Year, but it is a very decent effort.

It also looks good, performs well, and costs in the mid teens.

The only problem of course is that it's a Chrysler, and we'll just have to wait and see if it can stick the test of time, an area where American imports have failed miserably this side of the Atlantic.

One of the funniest aspect of the Ypsilon is that the car features a quirk which allows the engine roar like it is an all-American gas guzzler -- it made me feel a bit boy racer-ish, but it was a fun feature.

The Chrysler Ypsilon will cost you between €14,245 and €18,745.