World Car of the Year 2021: shortlist announced

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The 2021 World Car of the Year jurors have narrowed down the list of competitors for this year’s final award. Now, there’s just 10 cars to choose from in the main category and five cars in the supporting Urban, Luxury, Performance and Design categories.

Among the panel of judges is Automotive Daily’s own Steve Fowler, Matt Prior and Mike Rutherford. Each category will be further trimmed down to just three entries each over the next month and the winners will be announced on the World Car of the Year YouTube channel on 20th April.

To be eligible for the World Car of the Year award, entrants must be produced in volumes of at least 10,000 units per year, must be priced below the luxury car threshold in their respective regions and must be sold in at least two major markets (such as Europe, China, Japan, USA, Latin America and Korea).

Slightly different regulations apply to the World Urban, World Luxury and World Performance Car of the Year awards. The former two categories require production figures of at least 5,000 units per year, while the latter only requires an annual volume of 2,000 units. World Urban Car of the Year entrants must also not measure more than 4.2 metres long.

Finally, all cars eligible for any of the World Car of the Year categories are automatically entered into the draw for the World Car Design of the Year award. The winner will be decided by a panel of seven automotive design experts, including former Aston Martin and Jaguar design lead Ian Callum, plus Tom Matano, the former head of Mazda’s design department.

The shortlists for each of the 2021 World Car of the Year awards can be found below… 

2021 World Car of the Year

  • Audi A3
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe
  • BMW 4 Series
  • Honda e
  • Kia Optima / K5
  • Kia Sorento
  • Mazda MX-30
  • Mercedes-Benz GLA
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Volkswagen ID.4

2021 World Urban Car

  • Honda Jazz / Fit
  • Honda e
  • Hyundai i10
  • Hyundai i20
  • Toyota Yaris

2021 World Luxury Car

  • Aston Martin DBX
  • BMW X6
  • Land Rover Defender
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class
  • Polestar 2

2021 World Performance Car

  • Audi RS Q8
  • BMW M2 CS
  • BMW X5 M / X6 M
  • Porsche 911 Turbo
  • Toyota GR Yaris

2021 World Car Design

  • Honda e
  • Land Rover Defender
  • Mazda MX-30
  • Polestar 2
  • Porsche 911 Turbo

Despite being a US-only model, the Kia Telluride impressed the World Car of the Year judges enough to walk off with the overall title for 2020.

In a double success for Kia, the Soul EV took the award for the best Urban Car, beating the MINI Electric and Volkswagen T-Cross.

The Mazda 3 was claimed the World Car Design of the Year award, stealing the favour of the judges from the Peugeot 208 and Porsche Taycan. However, the Taycan didn’t walk away empty handed, as it won both the World Performance Car of the Year and World Luxury Car of the Year awards.

Previous World Car of the Year winners to date…

2020 Kia Telluride
2019 Jaguar I-Pace
2018 Volvo XC60
2017 Jaguar F-Pace
2016 Mazda MX-5
2015 Mercedes C-Class
2014 Audi A3
2013 Volkswagen Golf
2012 Volkswagen Up!
2011 Nissan Leaf
2010 Volkswagen Polo
2009 Volkswagen Golf
2008 Mazda Demio
2007 Lexus LS460
2006 BMW 3 Series
2005 Audi A6

world car of the year

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