Euros for Cars Group A: Meet the contenders

 

Euro 2016 cars for national teams

With Euro 2016 about to kick off, we’re launching the Euros for Cars. The idea is simple. You vote for your favourite cars when the two countries play each other in the football tournament. As in the real contest, the cars then get three points for winning the most votes, one point if it’s a draw and nothing for losing. The cars with the most points progress through into the knock-out stages.

Over the next few days we’ll be publishing the cars that are taking part. For each of the 24 countries in Euro 2016, we’ve selected a car that we think best represents that nation. Of course not every country has a car industry. For those that don’t we’ve chosen cars popular in that country, cars made in that country, or in some cases, cars that were once, or will be, built there.

In the run up to the first games of the tournament – France vs. Romania, Albania vs. Switzerland ‑ here are the four cars in Group A.

Albania

Car Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Euros for cars

(Picture © Mercedes)

 

How it qualified

Owning a car is still a luxury in Albania so one of the most popular vehicles on the road is the taxi. For that there are few better cars than the Mercedes E-Class, built between 1984 and 1995.

Need to know

Called the W124 in Mercedes speak, this was the first car referred to as the E-Class. On its launch, it featured advanced engineering including multi-link suspension, a plastic floor to make the underneath more aerodynamic and an oxygen sensor in the exhaust to help reduce emissions.

Why it’s a Euro star

Built for endurance rather than speed, this sturdy challenger will run and run. Enormously strong with sufficient stamina to cover a huge amount of ground, it was one of the sleekest on the field in its day.

France

Car Citroen 2CV

Euros for cars

(Picture © Citroen)

How it qualified

There is no car that breathes France more than the 2CV. In the middle of the 20th Century it succeeded in motorising the nation before going on to sell 8.8m examples.

Need to know

The 2CV was described by one commentator as ‘the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car’. Initially it had deckchair type seats and corrugated iron panels. It maintained the principles of simplicity, light weight and cheap running costs throughout its 42-year life. 

Why it’s a Euro star

Not the fastest contender but makes up for it with agility and intelligence. The skinny looks belie an inner strength that makes it a perennial favourite with fans.

Romania

Car Dacia Logan

Euros for cars

(Picture © Dacia)

 

How it qualified

Dacia (pronounced Datcha) is Romania’s only car company. The Logan family car is the best seller, accounting for nearly a fifth of all the new cars sold in the country.

Need to know

Dacia is owned by Renault and the Logan is built on the same oily bits as the Clio. It’s affordable and popular outside its homeland too. Logans are practical and simple with a decent choice of engines and equipment allied to low running costs.

Why it’s a Euro star

This might be a budget competitor but there’s nothing sub-standard about it. A true no-nonsense talent that gets on with the job in any conditions.

Switzerland

Car Rinspeed Splash

Euros for cars

(Picture © Rinspeed)

 

How it qualified

There are no mass-market Swiss car makers. But Rinspeed ensures its homeland is well represented on the world stage by regularly producing outrageous concept cars like the Splash.

Need to know

Considering Switzerland is land locked, it’s ironic that the Splash is amphibious. It will do 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds on dry land. And it’s pretty handy on the water too, setting a record for a hydrofoil crossing the English Channel.

Why it’s a Euro star

This money-no-object contestant is probably the most exotic entry in the Euros for Cars. Although on the wild side, it’s nonetheless hugely capable.

The best way to cross the channel to the Euros

 

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