Two all-electric cars are in the running to take out the coveted Wheels Car of the Year award in 2020.

The magazine has chosen its five finalists with the winner to be named on January 30.

Among the contenders are the Tesla Model 3 all-electric sports sedan and the Mercedes Benz EQC, an all-electric sports utility vehicle.

Both cars have made the shortlist despite selling in very small numbers in the Australian market over the past year.

Official vehicle industry figures for 2019 put total EQC sales at just 11 while sales of the Tesla Model 3 were not recorded in the final industry report.

Other cars to make the final five were the Porsche 911, the Mazda 3 and the Toyota Rav 4 hybrid.

The Wheels award is probably the most prestigious for the Australian motor industry and is now in its 57th year.

The cars eligible to win are tested by a panel of judges during a week-long program and are rated against a set of criteria including function, efficiency, safety, technology and value.

Wheels editor Alex Inwood said it was important to remember that the finalists were not competing against each other.

“This ensures we deliver the best pound-for-pound new car on the market,” he said.

This year’s award is the first time no Ford or Holden car was among the vehicles tested.

It also comes after a tough time for the vehicle industry in Australia with total sales in 2019 falling by 7.8 per cent to their lowest level since 2011.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said the result reflected the issues facing the wider Australian economy.

“Challenges included a tightening of lending, movements in exchange rates, slow wages growth and, of course, the extreme environmental factors our country is experiencing,” Mr Weber said.