Friday, November 11, 2016

World Car of the Year 2017

World Car Awards 2017

The World Car Awards are the biggest, most high-profile automotive awards in the world. Globally recognised and highly prized by manufacturers, winning one of the five category awards is a significant achievement – which is why all eyes are on the longlist for 2017 that’s now been announced.

The overall World Car of the Year Award is the big one and, this year, there are 23 cars in the running, including big-hitters such as the Jaguar F-Pace, Skoda Kodiaq, Audi Q2, Honda Civic and Chrysler Pacifica. The World Luxury & Performance Car Award includes exotica stretching from the Bentley Bentayga to the Audi R8 Spyder.

The World Green Car of the Year 2017 is an exciting one for 2017, benefiting from the many new planet-saving models manufacturers have launched recently. These include the innovative Hyundai Ioniq range, the new Chevrolet Bolt, the bold Tesla Model X and the far-sighted Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.

There’s a new award for 2017, too – the World Urban Car Award. This is for cleverly-packaged city-friendly cars less than four metres long, which help smartly address the challenges of growing urbanisation. Longlisted cars here stretch from the BMW i3 94Ah, the Citroen C3 supermini, the funky Suzuki Ignis and the left-field Citroen E-Mehari.

World Car of the Year 2017

The big prize is the title of overall World Car of the Year. This is the flagship award from the World Car Awards jurors, and is genuinely big: the awards are, officially, the number one awards program in the world. In 2016, the Mazda MX-5 won it. This year, from the 23 cars in the longlist, a shortlist of 10 finalists will be drawn up. And so, in alphabetical order, they are…

Audi A5/S5 Coupe

The new A5 is as understatedly elegant as the original. It’s not the most standout of new arrivals, but it’s more ‘new’ than it first appears, with greater form and more tightly-profiled curves. Derived from the same platform used in the new A4, it’s sure to drive well, and the S5 ensures there’s a V6 turbo performance pinnacle straight from the off.

Audi Q2

Audi has joined the compact crossover class with the Q2 SUV. Competing with the BMW X1, it’s the smallest Audi Q model yet, and boasts a bit more muscle and attitude than its larger brethren. Audi A3 underpinnings mean it’s a tidy drive and, despite being the smallest Q SUV, it’s surprisingly roomy and practical inside.

Audi Q5

As with the A5 Coupe, the Q5 SUV is a second-generation all-new Audi that, at first glance, looks similar to the model it replaces. With time and familiarity, though, it appears more of a step on than it first appears. It also has newfound curves, and the interior is a masterpiece. Again, underpinnings related to the A4 (and the big Q7) ensure it’ll measure up on the road.

Buick LaCrosse

Buick has made big progress with the new LaCrosse. It’s turned this conventional full-size sedan into something that’s a genuine luxury car contender. Certainly one that now rivals models from Lexus and Acura. It’s full of technology to help improve the drive, suggesting no expense has been spared to bring it up to scratch.

Buick Envision

Built in China, the Envision mid-size SUV has quickly proven itself in dealer showrooms – it’s been one of the best-selling new Buicks since its launch in spring 2016. Luxurious, well equipped and very smooth-riding, it’s a model that’s all about wellbeing, something it delivers in abundance.

Chevrolet Cruze

The latest Chevy Cruze has really grown up and matured. It’s much smoother and more sophisticated than the previous version, with a big-car look and much greater breadth of abilities. It’s a decent compact car that delivers on comfort and quality, as well as value for money.

Chrysler Pacifica

Chrysler made its name in minivans back in the 1980s. With the Pacifica, it’s aiming to reassert itself as king of the people carriers. The North American Pacifica is a large multi-seater that’s jam-packed with real-world-relevant innovations such as foot-operated sliding rear doors and touchscreens mounted in the back of the front seats.

Fiat/Abarth 124 Spider

Fiat cleverly teamed up with Mazda to create the 124 Spider – but this is more than just a rebadged MX-5 roadster. All the body panels are new, engines are Fiat’s own turbocharged units and the suspension has been tuned to give it a different feel on the road. The retro looks really work well and this is an unexpected success from the Italian firm.

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is the car Japan’s most enthusiast-focused carmaker had to get right. First evidence is that it has. The model has already been winning prizes in sedan and coupe guises in the United States: now the British-built five-door hatchback looks set to continue the success. Is it 10 out of 10 for the 10th generation Civic?

Hyundai Elantra

The latest Hyundai Elantra is a clear evolution of the previous model. The firm has chosen to meticulously refine the design rather than completely reinvent it. The idea is to make it even more of an able Volkswagen Golf alternative. While it’s not exciting, the all-round talents of the new Elantra provide worthy competition to the VW.

Hyundai Genesis G80

The Genesis G80 is Hyundai’s mid-size sedan. It’s billed as an exceptional-value alternative to conventional luxury brands. Rivals include the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Cadillac CTS. Genesis branding instead of a Hyundai badge aims to take on those established premium makes on a level footing, and the G80 is a worthy price-led alternative to them.

Infiniti Q60

The super-stylish Infiniti Q60 coupe is the best-looking model yet launched by the brand. It has no trouble squaring up to the more mundane BMW 4 Series Coupe, and will likely give new Audi A5 Coupe and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe buyers something to think about. The drive isn’t quite as good, but for sheer kerbside appeal, the Q60 certainly cuts a dash.

Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar’s first SUV, the F-Pace was always a big ask. How would Jaguar make an SUV that didn’t tread on the toes of its Land Rover sibling? By making a sporty, stylish crossover SUV, that’s how. The F-Pace is a near-perfect new model that gives the British brand much-needed breadth at last.

Kia Cadenza

The Kia Cadenza competes in North American’s volume mid-size sedan market, which is dominated by cars such as the Chevrolet Impala, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon. Showing all the thoughtfully well-developed prowess of other models, the classy-looking Cadenza packs a punch way behind the once-humble roots of its badge.

Kia Rio

The previous Kia Rio was a worthy enough car, but not a remarkable one. It felt a bit ‘old Kia’, alongside stylish, appealing models such as the Sportage. The new Rio aims to do a better job. The styling is neater and more conventional, the interior is packed out with the latest in connectivity and we’re promised a class-competitive drive, too.

Kia Sportage

The Sportage is the car that really put Kia on the map. The first-generation model was a perfectly-executed mid-size SUV, meaning this new one had a hard act to follow. Some find the styling more controversial, but it certainly makes an impact – and on-board features and practicality are as strong as ever.

Mazda CX-9

Mazda’s well-priced three-row SUV is all about refined, upscale quality. Super-practical, it’s not as standout as an MX-5, but more than delivers in terms of family-friendly usability and refinement. It proves that the enthusiasts within Mazda can also make worthy family-haulers when they want to.

Seat Ateca

After the success of the latest Leon, Seat has further secured its future with the highly appealing new Ateca crossover SUV. The firm’s rival to the Nissan Qashqai, it looks great, has a roomy interior and drives with neat and tidy appeal. It’s very keenly priced as well – a car with very few weaknesses and lots of appeal.

Skoda Kodiaq

The large seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq is another Volkswagen Group SUV success. Exactly the type of new car Skoda should be making, it’s good-looking, exceptionally practical and, like the Seat Ateca, keenly priced on the road. Already, some are asking whether this could be the car that helps Skoda break into North America.

SsangYong Tivoli/XLV

The Tivoli has done wonders for the SsangYong brand. Helping people sit up and take notice, it’s a genuinely appealing budget-price crossover SUV that’s helping people look past the curios sold by the brand up to now. It’s recently gained further appeal with the addition of an ultra-roomy XLV version.

Subaru Impreza

The sophisticated-looking new Impreza perhaps doesn’t have the impact suggested by Subaru’s concept cars, but it’s still a big step on for the popular all-wheel-drive model. With ample new technology that includes Subaru’s safety-boosting EyeSight autonomous-sensing gadget, here’s hoping it makes it to Europe.

Toyota C-HR

Think Toyota is dull and boring? Think again. The new C-HR crossover is one of the most distinctive models on sale, instantly making cars such as the pioneering Nissan Qashqai seem that bit more humdrum and mainstream. There’s even a hybrid version, so you can stand out, but still keep your green credentials intact.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen insiders say the previous Tiguan was an enigma. A car that sold better and better the more it aged. To further capitalise on this ever-stronger interest, there’s now a new one, bigger and more premium than before. It looks great and drives ably, too. Is it the perfect package to lift the overall World Car Awards prize?

World Luxury and Performance Car 2017

The World Luxury and Performance Car Award features some of the most exclusive new cars on sale. A dream list of rides, it’s all about being the best of the very best: only the most premium and most high-performance car will win. And the contenders are…

Audi R8 Spyder

Audi launched the new R8 Spyder with a bang at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. With imposing new looks and a howling 540hp V10 engine, it lacks for little impact and aims to be as alluring an all-rounder as the original Spyder was. We already know it drives even better…

BMW 5 Series

The new BMW 5 Series goes on sale early next year to bring some 7 Series indulgence to the executive car sector. It’s one of BMW’s most important model lines, so the firm has to get it right. On first evidence, it has done. The styling is sophisticated, the interior looks exceptional and we’re sure it will drive extremely well, too. Here’s to finding out whether it’s got what it takes to win.

Bentley Bentayga

Bentley’s mighty Bentayga luxury SUV is one of the most extraordinary cars here. Big, brash and bold, it’s no shrinking violet – but the world’s first genuine luxury SUV also works exceptionally well in practice. It’s a feel-good machine that treats its occupants like movie stars. It’s no wonder the factory can’t build enough of them.

Cadillac CT6

Cadillac billed this car at launch as the model to, at last, take on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It may just have a point. Striking to look at, the CT6’s most standout aspect is its breathtaking interior. It’s packed with tech, beautifully finished and a joy to sit in. We weren’t expecting this car to be quite as good as it is.

Cadillac XT5

Another all-new luxury Cadillac is the XT5 mid-size SUV. It’s a striking-looking machine, but perhaps isn’t quite good enough to take on models such as the BMW X3, the Audi Q5 and the impressive new Jaguar F-Pace.

Honda/Acura NSX

Honda NSX, take two. And this time, it’s all about space-grade technology, from a trio of electric motors merging with a mid-mounted V6 petrol engine, to exotic body construction, to an interior that feels purposeful and feature-packed.

Hyundai Genesis G90

The big Genesis G90 is the first full-size luxury car from Hyundai. With big V6 and V8 engines, it’s focused on challenging the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is a formidable test indeed. But with value pricing on its side, and no little ability, it’s a surprisingly able machine that gives weaker luxury-class players such as the Jaguar XJ something to think about.

Lexus LC500

Lexus’ most exciting car since the wild LFA supercar, the LC500 is a big, luxurious two-door super-coupe that will part crowds with its concept car styling. It uses a 5.0-litre V8 and advanced construction materials to hopefully ensure it delivers on the road. We’re very excited about this one.

Lincoln Continental

The imposing new Lincoln Continental certainly cuts a dash in the luxury car parking booths. A dramatic concept car suggested we might be in for something special, and this production version is barely less impactful. It’s perhaps not quite as masterful in action, but it’s still an encouraging sign of life from Ford’s luxury division.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a formidable executive-class car. Inheriting much of the brilliance already seen in the S-Class, it’s one of the most thoroughly developed cars currently on sale, with a huge repertoire of abilities. Perhaps it’s not the most thrilling of machines, but its svelte new style serves it well and, in terms of real-world luxury, there are few better.

Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

We love the Mercedes-AMG GT coupe and now, at last, there’s an open-top Roadster version to add a slice of fresh-air satisfaction to the V8 supercar. More than just a coupe with a chopped roof, it has a cool new look of its own, and is sure to send its two occupants wild with all the extra exposure to the AMG-tuned exhausts it brings.

Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman

The Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman have proven controversial because, well, out went two of the world’s finest straight-six engines and in came a pair of four-cylinder boxer turbos. That’s progress, says Porsche, which thoroughly overhauled each model while it dropped in the new engines to make them more immense to drive than ever. More immense, certainly, but less charismatic and thus less appealing overall?

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Another controversial model, the Range Rover Evoque Convertible is an open-top SUV the world didn’t really feel it needed. Arguably, it still doesn’t. But there’s no denying it’s an innovative take on the multi-award-winning lifestyle crossover SUV. And that may just make it the luxury machine to be seen in come summer 2017. Maybe.

Volvo S90/V90

Volvo has quietly undergone a revolution. The XC90 SUV is truly brilliant, and the architecture used to create it has now been twisted into mid-size saloon and estate guises. The smart-looking S90 sedan and V90 wagon are two more ultra-talented new Volvos that are more than up to taking on the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

World Urban Car 2017

The World Urban Car Award is a new prize for 2017. More than half the world lives in cities, so this new category aims to pick out the best small car sized between one and four metres (3.2-13.1 feet) long that is safe, quiet, green, good on the open road and as considerate for cyclists and pedestrians as for occupants. It’s a lively, innovative group of contenders for the first year…

BMW i3 94Ah

The ever-intelligent BMW i3 electric car has been enhanced for 2016 with an all-new battery that extends its range to 125 miles on a single charge – or over 200 miles if buyers pick the Range Extender model. BMW says four in five i3 buyers are new to the brand; this new version is likely to further enhance its appeal.

Citroen C3

Citroen has been in the design doldrums for years, but the C4 Cactus was a sign things were changing. The C3 supermini continues this evolution. With vibrant design very much in the style of the C4 Cactus, it’s one of the most eye-catching small cars on sale and is fitted out with some innovative new technology to make city life easier. It’s a very strong contender indeed.

Citroen E-Mehari

The Citroen E-Mehari is a budget electric convertible car that’s a cool retro-modern successor to the original Citroen Mehari. The beach buggy-style machine is a refreshingly novel twist on the low-price electric car that deserves to find favour in climates suited to its open-air nature. Pity it struggles on the open road, though…

Ford Ka+

The third-generation Ka, now called Ka+, is Ford’s latest take on the city car, and at last gains five doors. It’s an all-Ford machine that, like the original, has been created from Fiesta underpinnings rather than being a joint venture with Fiat. It’s much more well-rounded than the previous one, and once again gives Ford a competitive city car offering.

Smart Brabus

The latest Smart is as small as the original, but more sophisticated than ever. Now there’s a performance Brabus version that aims to add a bit of spice to the range. It does this well, but we somehow can’t help but think yet more spice would be nice...

Smart Cabrio

The Smart Cabrio is just that – a smartly-conceived open-top version of the regular Smart Coupe. Compromise-free, it’s almost a default choice for anyone seeking the ultimate in safe city centre drivability and parkability. It’s not bad on the open road either.

Suzuki Baleno

The ageing Suzuki Swift is a cool but compact supermini. The Baleno is its more grown-up big brother. It’s not significantly larger on the outside, but it’s much better packaged within, and the sober styling also pays more of a nod towards practicality than personability. Nice to drive, it’s a talented low-price family five-door with a surprising breadth of all-round ability.

Suzuki Ignis

The Ignis revives a Suzuki name from the past. It’s a compact city car that, like all Suzukis, is extremely intelligently designed. It delivers maximum bang for buck, but with an appealing layer of modern Japanese urban style on top. Thoroughly charming, it’s in with a strong shot of taking the inaugural World Urban Car prize.

World Green Car 2017

The World Green Car Award is an established category that seeks out the most innovative new developments in sustainable high-volume transport. With air quality and sustainability becoming ever-more important considerations for new car buyers, the significance of this award grows with every year – and the 2017 contenders are a very competitive group of green machines indeed.

Audi Q7 e-tron

Audi’s big luxury SUV has found its eco side with the e-tron. Plug-in hybrid tech combines electric motor with 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine, for swift performance, 35 miles’ full EV range and 46g/km CO2 on the NEDC combined cycle. Who says big SUVs need be gas-guzzlers?

BMW 740e Performance

BMW’s clever plug-in 7 Series is a real forward-looker. It uses a high-efficiency 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, along with high-capacity batteries and an electric motor for extended EV running and small car economy when they’re depleted. Add in the indulgent luxury of the 7 Series itself for a cosseting car you can enjoy guilt-free.

Chevrolet Bolt

The Chevrolet Bolt gives Tesla something to think about. Chevy’s full EV car has an amazing 238-mile electric range according to the US EPA test, making it a thoroughly useable zero-emissions car in the real world. That it’s sold at an affordable price is the icing on the cake. This clever, standard-setting car is certainly a top contender for the World Green Car 2017 prize.

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid brings tech from the clever Chevy Bolt into the mainstream. It’s not designed to be a long-distance full EV, but one created to maximise mileage from its conventional petrol engine. Hybrid tech stretches the range to diesel car levels, but without the emissions, and the price is kept well in check, too.

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is at last on sale outside Japan, so is able to join the World Green Car longlist. A smart-thinking hydrogen fuel cell car, it’s said to be a taste of the future. But do the practicalities of actually using hydrogen every day preclude it from winning here?

Hyundai Ioniq

To take on the Toyota Prius, Hyundai has been clever. It’s not simply designed a petrol-electric hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid, or even a full EV. It’s designed all three in one car – yes, the Ioniq is available with a choice of three green powertrains, so you can be eco-conscious no matter what your demands. A clever approach: enough to give it the green car prize?

Kia Niro Hybrid

The Kia Niro Hybrid is the sister car to the Hyundai Ioniq. Instead of covering all bases, it brings hybrid technology to the popular crossover SUV sector, offering a fuel-efficient way to stay on-trend. Will this be more relevant to customers and thus make it more likely to win the top prize?

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e

Mercedes-Benz is going plug-in hybrid crazy. The latest to get the swift eco-friendly drivetrain is the GLC compact SUV. It’s impressive on paper: the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine plus electric motor give a combined 320hp, for 0-62mph in 5.9sec with 60g/km CO2 and over 20 miles’ electric-only running. It further enhances the appeal of the already-likeable new Merc SUV.

Tesla Model X

The Tesla Model S is a landmark electric car. Now the firm hopes to do the same again with the striking Model X electric SUV. Distinctive because of its huge Falcon doors, like the Model S it carries on the Tesla trick of offering a huge electric range and truly breathtaking performance. Problem is, it’s far from cheap.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

An under-the-radar car, the RAV4 Hybrid is a petrol-electric upgrade for the current-generation RAV4, which fits far more comfortably within the eco-friendly Toyota range than the diesel version it sits alongside. It performs well on the road, delivering decent fuel economy, and further stands out for being a rare compact SUV hybrid. In this sector, diesel dominates.

Toyota Prius Prime

At long last, we have a genuinely appealing plug-in Prius: the Toyota Prius Prime. Much better looking than the car it replaces, it has an EV range of 22 miles and delivers superb combined economy figures thanks to its ultra-efficient Atkinson Cycle petrol engine. Given how mainstream the normal Prius is, the impact of the Prius Prime could be significant, bringing plug-in hybrid tech to many more people.

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