The World Car Awards organisation used the Geneva International Motor Show as a platform to announce its top 3 finalists in 6 categories. Most of the categories are fiercely contested.
A jury of 75 distinguished international automotive journalists, including the only South African juror, Cars.co.za's Hannes Oosthuizen, has selected the following “Top Three in the World” finalists by secret ballot based on their evaluation of each candidate as part of their professional work. International accounting firm KPMG tabulated the jurors’ ballots.
World Car of the Year (Overall)
Our tip for the win in this category - the Jaguar F-Pace.
Hannes says: I'm yet to drive the new Q5, so couldn't vote on that vehicle, but it's interesting to note that, as far as I can recall, this is the first time that the top 3 is made up entirely of SUVs and crossovers. This reflects current market trends. I do suspect the fight for the win will be between the Volkswagen and Jaguar. VW has always done well in these awards and the latest Tiguan is widely acclaimed, including scooping our own Cars.co.za Consumer Awards - Powered by WesBank, Family Car of the Year title earlier this year. On the other hand, the F-Pace has a strong chance too, because the World Car Awards includes a score for "significance", and the F-Pace is not only Jaguar's first venture into the SUV/crossover segment, it is a very successful one that has significantly improved the company's sales volumes (reportedly making up half of the company's overall sales). I predict a win for the Big Cat.
World Luxury Car of the Year
Because of its sumptuous interior and refinement, we predict the Mercedes-Benz E-Class will take this category.
Hannes says: The brand new BMW 5 Series arrived too late in SA for me to evaluate, so I could not score that vehicle. The battle between the E-Class and S90 is very interesting. By most measures, the E-Class is the best car in this battle, being so superbly refined and with a first-class interior. But the Volvo is a very interesting alternative. If the judges value what it means for Volvo as a brand highly, it could score well in the "significance" section. However, based on what I've seen in overseas reports, I think the Mercedes-Benz E-Class will still sneak a victory here.
World Performance Car of the Year
Hannes says: Some very attractive machinery in this segment, but they're all very different cars and strong contenders for different reasons. The Porsche is unbeatable value, the Audi the most usable everyday supercar, and the McLaren one of the best drives on the planet. Given past selections by the WCA jury, I'm inclined to predict a vote for the Audi.
World Urban Car of the Year
The bold BMW i3 is a bold step into the future of city car motoring... a few years on it remains pretty much unchallenged.
Hannes says: This is a new category in the WCA programme. There is no past record to go on, but the BMW is probably the most truly "world" car here, even though it's the only electric. The Citroën and Suzuki brands are not represented as widely. Therefore, I predict a win for the i3, which I'd be very happy with as it's a superb vehicle.
World Green Car of the Year
- Chevrolet Bolt
- Toyota Prius Prime
- Tesla Model X
Hannes says: None of these vehicles are offered in South Africa, sadly, but I'm sticking my neck out for the Chevrolet Bolt, which will also be sold as the Opel Ampera-e in Europe. I had a close look at it during last year's Paris Motor Show, and since then it has raked in awards, primarily in America.
World Car Design of the Year
We'd love to see Toyota rewarded for its bold new C-HR design.
Hannes says: This category is judged by a panel of design experts, so my opinion doesn't matter, but I'm holding thumbs for the Toyota C-HR. It is a brave car for the usually conservative company.