The top three finalists for the 2016 World Car Awards (WCA) have been announced at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show.
The top contenders for the 2016 World Car of the Year, World Luxury Car, World Performance Car and World Green Car were selected by a jury of 73 international motoring journalists, including Cars.co.za consumer experience manager Hannes Oosthuizen and Cars.co.za content manager Mike Fourie, who are the only two South African representatives on the panel.
2016 marks the third consecutive year that the World Car Awards is the number one automotive awards programme in the world in terms of media reach. The top three finalists were announced by WCA chairman, Peter Lyon (pictured) at the Geneva International Motor Show, currently unfolding in Switzerland, and the overall winners will be revealed in New York on March 24.
The international accounting firm KPMG tabulated the jurors’ ballots.
The 2016 World Car of the Year will be selected from these three finalists.
Audi A4 / A4 Avant
The all-new Audi A4 recently arrived in South Africa and immediately impressed with its refinement and exquisite interior design. You can read our first drive impressions here.
Both South African jury members and Cars.co.za staffers (Mike Fourie and Hannes Oosthuizen) believe the A4 will scoop the award.
It may seem strange to find a vehicle such as the Mazda MX-5 in the running for the overall award, but the little roadster is so defining of the affordable sports car segment that limiting it to the Performance Car of the Year category doesn't seem fair either. We were very impressed with the little Mazda when we tested it (read the review here) and also nominated it for a Design of the Year award in the first Cars.co.za Consumer Awards.
Mercedes-Benz's first foray into the more compact end of the SUV spectrum appears to have hit the nail right on the head. The GLC has received widespread praise, including from our own test team (read the review of the GLC 300 here).
The 2016 World Luxury Car will be chosen from one of these top three finalists:
The Audi Q7 may not be universally admired for its exterior styling, but there's not much wrong with this product in any measurable way. We particularly like its ride refinement and cabin detailing. You can read our review of the 3.0 TDI here and also watch a video to see how it compares against a rival for this award, the Volvo XC90, here.
BMW 7 Series
Packed with groundbreaking technology, including gesture control and near-autonomous features, the new BMW 7 Series is undoubtedly an impressive piece of engineering. Catch up on some of its features in our first drive.
Our jury members are in agreement that the BMW 7 Series is most likely to take the win in this category.
The Volvo XC90 has raked in awards all over the world, including scooping the trophy for Best Premium SUV in the inaugural Cars.co.za Consumer Awards. View this video to find out how it compares with the all-new Audi Q7, a rival in this World Car Awards category.
The 2016 World Performance Car top three finalists are:
Audi R8 Coupe
Not yet available in South Africa, but due soon, Audi's new R8 looks like a very careful evolution of its successful predecessor. View it in action here.
Honda Civic Type R
Freshly arrived in South Africa, the new Honda Civic Type R could just be the ultimate hot hatch of the moment. To find out what makes it so special, read our in-depth review here.
Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe
Due for its local launch very soon, the rumbling C63 Coupe has already got the thumbs-up in Europe. Find out more about this beast (and watch it burn some rubber) here.
The 2016 World Green Car top three are:
Toyota Prius (hybrid)
Toyota Mirai (hydrogen fuel cell)
Meanwhile, a design panel comprising six respected world design experts produced a short-list of recommendations for the jurors in the World Car Design of the Year category. The three finalists are; Mazda CX-3, Mazda MX-5 and the Jaguar XE.