Volkswagen has won the World Car of the Year title for a record-extending 5th time. The Wolfsburg-based firm’s ID.4 electric crossover was chosen as the 2021 WCOTY by a jury of 93 motoring journalists, including Cars.co.za's Consumer Experience Manager, Hannes Oosthuizen, from 28 countries across the globe.
The Volkswagen ID.4 was chosen ahead of the Honda-e and Toyota Yaris, the latter of which underpins the South Africa-bound Yaris GR, to take the overall honours in the 16th iterations of the World Car Awards, the winners of which were announced live on YouTube overnight.
In many ways, the Wolfsburg-based brand's battery-electric compact crossover is more significant than its ID.3 hatchback sibling, because it is the first ID model to be rolled out in the US and China (in addition to some key European markets). While Volkswagen SA is evaluating the local viability of ID models with a small ID.3 test fleet, the ID.4 is more likely to be launched in Mzansi in the near future.
This year’s winner was chosen from an initial entry list of 24 vehicles from all over the world. Vehicles eligible for the World Car of the Year award must be produced in volumes of at least 10 000 units/year, must be priced below the luxury-car level in their primary markets, and must be “on-sale” in at least 2 major markets, on at least 2 separate continents, between 1 May 2020 and 1 May 2021.
The category winners of the 2021 World Car Awards, meanwhile, are:
World Urban Car of the Year – Honda e
Honda's cute little "e" electric city car was a finalist in 3 categories and was awarded the 2021 World Urban Car trophy.
Although the Honda-e failed to win the overall 2021 WCOTY, the Japanese brand's pint-sized BEV (battery electric vehicle) was nominated in two other categories, one of which it won: World Urban Car.
World Luxury Car of the Year – Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class the king of luxury once again? We'll find out soon!
The S-Class represents the pinnacle of the Mercedes-Benz product line and apart from being an important part of the brand’s history, it also serves as the spearhead, as it were, for showcasing the latest and greatest technology currently in Merc’s arsenal. Local pricing details have already been released for the new-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class and a correspondent has already driven it overseas.
World Performance Car of the Year – Porsche 911 Turbo
The view most other road users will see – the 911 Turbo S offers unrivalled performance and dynamic capability at the price.
Whereas VW holds the record for the most number of overall WCOTY victories, Porsche has a firm grip on the World Performance Car of the Year title. Since the category was introduced in 2006, the Zuffenhausen-based brand has won it 7 times, including this year, with the 911 Turbo. We recently published a full review of the 911 Turbo S and Porsche SA announced pricing for the 2021 GT3.
World Car Design of the Year – Land Rover Defender
We recently pitted the new Defender against the popular Toyota Prado in a comparative review (including this video).
Whereas the new-generation Land Rover Defender quietly arrived on our shores last year it has made a big impact... We've compared the Solihull-made newcomer with the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and the Landy won the Premium SUV category in the 2020/21 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank. Later this year, the Defender line-up will be bolstered by the arrival of a V8 version.
Previous overall winners of the World Car of the Year programme include the Audi A6 (2005), BMW 3 Series (2006), Lexus LS 460 (2007), Mazda2 (2008), Volkswagen Golf 6 (2009), Volkswagen Polo (2010), Nissan Leaf (2011), Volkswagen Up (2012), Volkswagen Golf 7 (2013), Audi A3 (2014), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2015), Mazda MX-5 (2016), Jaguar F-Pace (2017), Volvo XC60 (2018) and Jaguar I-Pace (2019) and Kia Telluride (2020).
Cars.co.za's Hannes Oosthuizen has served as WCOTY jury member for South Africa from 2006 to 2013 and 2016 to the present day. What's more, two of Hannes' fellow South African WCOTY judges, Brenwin Naidu and Lerato Matebese, are veteran Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank judges.