The World Car of the Year awards have been around since 2005. For the last 16 years, there have been interesting and worthy winners and finalists. The 2021 edition is shaping up to be like the past awards as the top three are all deserving of that title. So, which cars made it to the shortlist?
For the first time in its history, there are two electric vehicles (EVs) in the World Car of the Year finals. These are the Honda e and Volkswagen ID.4. The only one with an engine here is the redesigned Toyota Yaris, and even that gets some help from an electric motor with its hybrid drive system. With that, the 2021 World Car of the Year is also the greenest it's ever been in 16 years.
Let's take a look at the first finalist, the Honda e. The Honda e is the Japanese automaker's first mass-produced electric vehicle, and it's won several awards already. The small EV received the Red Dot Award in 2020 for its retro-futuristic design and functional aesthetics. It even bagged the Car of the Year Trophy in Germany, becoming the first Japanese car to get that achievement.
Up next, let's take a look at the Toyota Yaris. By the looks of it, the subcompact Toyota is the most conventional car in this group. That said, it has a lot going for it thanks to a wide variety of models available. For the budget-conscious motorist, there's the 1.0-liter gas engine. Eco-minded folks can opt for the hybrid model, and for those who want a sports car-chasing pocket-rocket, there's the GR Yaris. There is a Yaris model for just about everyone, and we're not even including the Yaris Cross yet.
Last but not least is the Volkswagen ID.4. This model's formula is rather simple, yet it has all the reasons to succeed in World Car of the Year and international sales charts. It packs the latest technologies for batteries and electric motors to give them diesel-like range. It's also wrapped in what seems to be the world's most popular body style these days, a crossover. You can think of this then as an electric Golf that's a bit longer with more ground clearance.
So, which of these three is your bet to win the 2021 World Car of the Year? But if none of those grab your attention, there are four other categories. These are World Urban Car of the Year, World Luxury Car of the Year, World Performance Car of the Year, and World Car Design of the Year.
For World Urban Car of the Year, the nominees are the Honda e, Honda Jazz, and Toyota Yaris. For the World Luxury Car of the Year, the finalists are the Land Rover Defender, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the Polestar 2. For World Performance Car of the Year, the judges are choosing among the Audi RS Q8, Porsche 911 Turbo, and the Toyota GR Yaris. As for World Car Design of the Year, there's the Honda e, Land Rover Defender, and Mazda CX-30.
The winners will be announced on April 20, 2021.