The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
Since 2004, motoring journalists from across the globe have come together to assess the merits of the latest and greatest cars to shoot out of factories and design studios. Known as the World Car of the Year awards, the programme comprises 94 journos who are tasked with recognising excellence in the automotive industry. The awards have developed, now including more categories, including World Luxury Car, World Performance Car and World Urban Car awards.
The panel has recently revealed the winners for 2021. Let’s take a look at the esteemed winners.
World Car of the Year: Volkswagen ID.4
Claiming Volkswagen’s fifth WCOTY award is the brand’s newly launched ID.4 electric crossover. While not available in SA, the rules of the competition state the vehicle needs to be for sale on at least two continents and five countries. In the UK, the electric SUV retails from just over £40,000. Together with the compact ID.3, Volkswagen intends on using the ID.4 to spearheading the shift towards electric cars in Europe.
World Luxury Car of the Year: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Often referred to as the crystal ball of the motoring world, the bahnstormer from Stuttgart clinched the luxury car honours, reminding everyone that the folks at Mercedes-Benz know a thing or two about building a large luxury car. The latest W223 has been criticised by some who reckon it lacks the gravitas or glamour of previous models, but the tech on offer is sure to make up for that. Want to experience the sumptuousness of an S? Locally, prices start from R2 413 360 for the S400d up to R2 428 840 for the S500.
World Performance Car of the Year: Porsche 911 Turbo
The 911 Turbo has a fearsome reputation among Porsche aficionados. The original 930 was known for its immense capabilities – but also terrifyingly twitchy handling at the limit. The recipe has been enhanced over the years, with each generation inching closer to perfection. The current model, the 992, is capable of being a perfectly comfortable commuter or grand tourer. However, it’s also able to breach the 100 km/h barrier in just 2.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 330 km/h. The dual personality of the Turbo – and the sheer usability of the halo 911 is why it enjoys great popularity with keen (and monied) drivers.
Both the coupé and roadster are available in South Africa, priced at R3 903 000 and R4 102 000, respectively.
World Urban Car of the Year: Honda e
Another vehicle that isn’t available locally is Honda’s inspired e. The styling is wonderfully retro, harking back to the city cars of old – but with a modern, minimalist twist. The e is an electric vehicle and relies on a 35,5 kWh battery for power. This gives it a decidedly impressive range of 220 km – ample range for a city car. The interior of the three-door hatchback is just as stylish as the exterior, with wonderful materials and a massive emphasis on quality.
In the UK, the little Honda retails from just over £26,000.
World Car Design of the Year: Land Rover Defender
Land Rover had to tread carefully when replacing the original Defender. After all, it was an icon of off-roading and British ruggedness. Many people swore they’d never buy a modern take on the cherished classic, but Land Rover got it just right. The design is fantastic and adored by all – a truly modern Land Rover, but it homage to the original while retaining its own character.
Like the old model, it can devour the rough stuff with ease. But in town, it leaves the old car for dead. The new Defender may have the spirit of its predecessor, but its road manners are more in line with a luxurious Range Rover. As a style statement, few can beat it.
- Budget-friendly load luggers for large families
- Four budget beating hatchbacks for the cost conscious consumer
- So you’ve won the lottery? These dream cars should fit the bill
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.