The World Car Awards is the largest automotive awards programme on the planet. Winning World Car of the Year is a big deal for auto manufacturers – so all eyes will be on the just-released list of finalists for the 2017 prize. Here, we’re revealing which 10 cars are in the running to be World Car of the Year 2017.
It’s not just the overall World Car of the Year finalists that we’re revealing here, either. The awards scheme, that’s been established for more than a decade, also includes prizes for World Luxury Car, World Performance Car, World Green Car and World Urban Car. There’s also a World Car Design of the Year prize.
Here, we’re running through the cars in the running for each award. And so without further ado…
2017 World Car of the Year finalists
Last year, the Mazda MX-5 was awarded the overall World Car of the Year prize. This year, 75 judges from around the world have whittled the longlist down to 10 finalists. In alphabetical order, they are…
Audi A5 / S5 Coupe
The sleek new Audi A5 Coupe has been a bit of a slow-burner, but its elegant, curvaceous lines are now starting to find favour. The high-tech new chassis is excellent and shows off its high-performance side in the 354-horsepower S5.
This is a new entrant for Audi – a small crossover SUV designed to compete with other tiddler machines such as the Renault Captur and Nissan Juke. Styling is a break from the Audi Q norm, and being based on the A3 hatch means it drives tidily.
The new Q5 is another Audi that’s had a bit of a slow start. Again though, the stylish look is now winning friends, and the on-road drive is excellent. It makes it three Audis in the running for the World Car of the Year award – and remember, Audi is no stranger to this prize…
Fiat / Abarth 124 Spider
Last year, the Mazda MX-5 roadster won the overall World Car of the Year award. Can the Fiat/Abarth 124 Spider, which is based on the Mazda, do it again? It would cause quite a stir if it could…
Honda’s 10th generation new Civic has recently been rolled out in hatchback guise, joining the sedan and coupe models already on sale. It’s a big step on from its predecessor – is it enough to earn it a World Car Award gong?
The Jaguar F-Pace was a radical new model for the British sports car company – its first-ever SUV. The Ian Callum-designed lines have been very well received and the Jag also drives extremely well. Will you be placing a bet on it winning the World Car of the Year prize?
Last year, Mazda won the World Car of the Year award. For 2017, it returns as a finalist, with the CX-9 large crossover SUV. Testing in LA last year proved its on-road abilities: now it’s up to the judges to decide…
It’s safe to say the Skoda Kodiaq seven-seat SUV has been exceptionally well received in Europe. There’s even talk of it now going on sale in the United States. A landmark car from the Czech brand, it would be a very deserving victor.
The most radical Toyota in years, there’s no missing the C-HR on the road. There’s a good car beneath the stylish lines as well – but will its weak engines let it down?
The old Tiguan twisted logic by selling in greater numbers the more it aged. Buyers love it – and they’ll find lots to like with this one, which cures all the grumbles with the old one and more. This could be a stealthy front-runner for the overall World Car of the Year prize…
2017 World Luxury Car
And now to the individual categories for the World Car Awards 2017. The World Luxury Car prize features the best of the best luxo-machines. Last year’s winner was the BMW 7 Series: this year’s shortlist of five features some significant all-new models…
The first-ever Bentley SUV, the Bentayga remains controversial for some, but initial sales suggest rich buyers can’t get enough of it. Impeccably finished inside and supremely refined, it’s expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for.
BMW 5 Series
Is this the best new BMW there’s been in years? A brilliantly well-conceived machine, the latest 5 is peerless in almost every respect. The fact it’s a relatively attainable luxury car will also find favour with the judges. Certainly, one to watch.
Hyundai has made its first-ever luxury car, and the Genesis G90 is as significant today as the launch of the original Lexus LS was back in 1989. Thoroughly convincing, it’s a superb luxury car with quality, refinement and the feel-good factor in abundance. This or a Mercedes-Benz S-Class? That’s a serious question.
Like BMW, Mercedes-Benz pushed the boat out in developing the new E-Class. It looks svelte, it’s good to drive and the high-tech interior impresses. Safety standards are also world-class: it’s truly the S-Class of executive cars.
Volvo S90 / V90
Volvo’s transformation continues. First the XC90 SUV, now the S90 sedan and V90 wagon. Both are wholly convincing luxury cars that can finally go eye-to-eye with BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But are they good enough to scoop the World Luxury Car gong?
2017 World Performance Car
The World Performance Car category is always an exciting one. Needless to say, this year’s list of five finalists contains some thrillers – one of them will follow on from last year’s winner, the Audi R8.
Aston Martin DB11
Aston Martin has been reborn and the DB11 is the sports car that will take it into its ‘second century’. All-new from the ground up, it’s an outstanding performer, while Mercedes-Benz-sourced electronics bring the interior bang up to date as well.
Audi R8 Spyder
Can the open-top R8 Spyder follow on from last year’s victor, the Audi R8 coupe? It’s in a strong group of cars but the Spyder is an able machine in its own right. It also looks a million dollars…
Honda / Acura NSX
A long time in development, the Honda / Acura NSX is at last now available. And what a car it is, all high-tech thrills and super-clever abilities. It may not move things on in quite the same way as the original, but it’s nevertheless a significant achievement from Honda.
The McLaren 570S is such a thriller, it raises serious questions as to why you should spend extra on the larger 650S. Performance is staggering, the drive is other-worldly and, both outside and in, it looks fantastic. It’s expensive, but you still question how they can sell such an amazing car for so little…
Porsche 718 Boxster / Cayman
Two controversial cars, because they replaced six-cylinder engines with four-cylinder turbo motors. But also, two fantastic cars that built upon already-brilliant models and made them even better still. This creates a very interesting conundrum for the World Car Awards judges…
2017 World Green Car
The World Green Car prize is back once again for 2017. Last year, the Toyota Mirai aced it. Who’s in the running this year?
In almost every respect, we’d say the Chevrolet Bolt electric car is odds-on to win the World Green Car prize. It has a Tesla-matching range for a decidedly Chevy-level price tag, it looks good and it drives nicely. What’s not to like? The fact you can’t buy a version in Europe’s second-largest new car market, the UK, that’s what…
Honda Clarity Fuel-Cell Car
The hydrogen fuel cell Honda Clarity has been a long time coming but finally it’s on sale in North America. It rolls out in Europe soon too. Is this the future of zero-emissions electric-drive motoring?
Hyundai has created a very clever range of green cars with the Ioniq range. Hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric are all offered, in the same five-door bodyshell. This keeps costs affordable and ensures eco buyers can choose exactly the right model for their driving style. Will this earn it World Green Car-winning points in 2017?
Tesla Model X
With the Model X, Tesla aims to do in the SUV sector what the Model S has done in the luxury car sector. Proving you can have an all-electric SUV with a long range and supercar performance, it’s another striking model from the cool premium car firm.
Toyota Prius Prime
Last year, the Toyota Mirai fuel cell car won the World Green Car prize. Can its plug-in hybrid sibling, the Prius Prime, do the same in 2017? One thing’s for sure – the styling is certainly finding more friends.
2017 World Urban Car
This is a new category for 2017, introduced because more than half the world’s population lives in towns and cities – a figure that’s set only to grow. Cars must be under 4 metres long and be “safe, quiet, clean, driver-, pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly, comfortable, affordable, flexible and to be capable of reaching motorway speeds”.
BMW i3 (94Ah)
BMW’s ingenious and fantastically clever carbon-fibre i3 has been upgraded with a big new battery. Dubbed 94Ah, the extra capacity gives it a range of almost 200 miles. Is this enough to tip the little i3 over onto car-buyer consideration lists?
The old Citroen C3 supermini was a dreary and slightly dreadful machine. What a turnaround there’s been with this all-new one. Inspired by the modernist C4 Cactus, it looks delightful and the fresh-faced image carries through into a clean, crisp on-road drive. You can even get onboard tech that takes selfies as you drive – ingenious.
Another model that’s been transformed. The old Ford Ka was woeful, a pale imitation of the original. Ford has rethought things with this model, which gets five doors for the first time. Derived from the top-notch Fiesta platform once again, it’s well-priced and, while not as radical as the original, is nevertheless a well thought out new city car entrant.
The Smart Fortwo remains one of the most authentic city cars on sale. Super-short, with a turning circle the equal of a London black cab, this cabriolet model brings open-air satisfaction to the table. Daimler integrity costs money but brings further feel-good reassurance.
Small car master Suzuki has done it again with the Ignis. A city car infused with crossover styling and even some cues from the original Suzuki Whizzkid, it’s another perfectly-conceived city star that is affordable to buy and well in with a shot of winning the inaugural World Urban Car prize.
2017 World Car Design of the Year
A committee of top car designers has drawn up the shortlist for the 2017 World Car Design of the Year award. Now it’s up to the jurors to select which they think is the finest. Once again, there’s a five-car group to choose from: which will follow the 2016 winner, Mazda’s MX-5?
Audi A5 / S5 Coupe
The designer of this car’s predecessor reckoned it was the most beautiful car he had ever created. Will the World Car Design of the Year judges agree that its successor is also worthy of such high praise?
Ian Callum proved that you can make a convincing Jaguar SUV with the F-Pace. It’s classy, cohesive and exciting, and as authentically Jaguar as the F-Type coupe it references in its name. This is why we think it’s in with a good chance of winning.
Mazda has given the SUV sector a subtle dose of sports car excitement with the CX-9. It’s an elegant, understated vehicle, whose crossover looks grow on you, not least because they lack the dumpiness of previous large Mazda crossovers.
Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
Over the years, large two-door coupe versions of the S-Class saloon have proven unconvincing. Mercedes-Benz finally nailed it with the S-Class Coupe, and now it’s followed it up with the glorious S-Class Cabriolet. Our design experts have ensured it’s one to watch in 2017.
The car design community has rewarded Toyota’s brave styling approach with the radical C-HR by giving it a chance of winning the 2017 World Car Design of the Year award. Like it or loathe it, you can’t deny it’s a blindingly stand-out model from a traditionally conservative company. Will the judges feel this is worthy of a world car design gong? Stay tuned…