After months of whittling down the field, a panel of 86 jurors from across the globe selected the World Car of the Year winners, announced early Wednesday morning. The awards recognize the most significant new vehicles of the past year. For the first time in the awards’ 16-year history, a vehicle designed specifically for the North American market has won.
Yes, Kia’s Telluride drove off with the top honor. It’s another addition to the three-row crossover’s trophy cabinet, alongside a recent win for North American SUV of the Year. It faced a Mazda duo in the final three, in the shape of the new 3 compact car and CX-30 crossover.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Kia Telluride Review
Mazda might’ve missed the main title, but it won one of the supporting fights. The little Mazda 3 picked up World Car Design of the Year, beating out the Peugeot 208 and Porsche Taycan. We’ve lauded the design of Mazda’s mainstream hatch since its redesign last year, especially the high-class interior, easily the best in its class.
The Porsche Taycan won two titles from the global awards: World Performance Car and World Luxury Car. In the former category, it was a guaranteed win for Porsche, with the Taycan, 911, and 718 Cayman GT4/Boxster Spyder all making it to the final three. The 911 showed up with its all-electric sibling in the latter category too, as well as the Mercedes-Benz EQC. That the Taycan won isn’t a huge shock: yours truly enjoyed the Taycan 4S when I drove it in Finland last year, calling it “a Porsche for a new era.”
The fifth and final World Car of the Year category was for the Urban Car category. Kia won here too, netting its second (ever) WCOTY win with the funky Soul EV. Like the Luxury lineup, the final three here were predominantly battery-powered, including the Mini E and the conventionally-powered Volkswagen T-Cross.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Kia Soul EV Review
As the global market shifts ever more towards crossovers, it shouldn’t be surprising that one snatched up the top honor again at the World Car Awards. Last year the Jaguar I-Pace did the same, plus won in two additional categories. The UK brand’s F-Pace took the top spot in 2017, and the Volvo VX60 in 2018.
The New York Auto Show was originally going to host this year’s announcement, but the ongoing COVID-19 situation has forced a rescheduling to August 28 through September 6. The 2021 World Car Awards will launch there with a preliminary list of vehicles.