The annual World Car Awards announcements are normally a high-energy affair held at the opening ceremonies for the New York International Auto Show. Given the postponement of the 2021 New York show and the ongoing worldwide impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 World Car Awards winners were revealed via livestream on the organization’s website and on YouTube.
The results were revealed by World Car juror representatives remotely connected from: New Delhi, India; Austin, Texas; Mexico City, Mexico; and the offices of the New York International Auto Show in New York City, and accepted online by automakers’ representatives from their home bases.
The winners in each of the five World Car categories, as selected via secret ballot by a jury of 93 distinguished automotive journalists from 28 countries, are:
2021 World Car Design – Land Rover Defender
Perhaps surprisingly, Land Rover’s big off-road specialist was a clear winner over the cute-as-a-bug Honda e and the sleek new Mazda CX-30 in the Design category, which was open to all World Car contenders.
This is the sixth World Car Design of the Year win for Jaguar Land Rover – more than for any other OEM in the World Car Awards’ 17 year history.
In accepting, Gerry McGovern, now Chief Creative Officer for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “New Defender is influenced by its past but is not constrained by it and we are delighted it has been honoured with this award. Our vision was to create a 21st century Defender by pushing the boundaries of engineering, technology and design while retaining its renowned DNA and off-road capability. The result is a compelling 4x4 that resonates with customers on an emotional level.”
2021 World Urban Car – Honda e
While it missed out on the Design award, the Honda e ranked highest of all among the Urban Car finalists, which also included the Honda Jazz/Fit and the Toyota Yaris.
Koji Watanabe, Operating Executive & Chief Officer of Brand and Communications Operations for Honda Motor Company, said: “We are very proud to receive this prestigious award from the World Car Awards organization. We have strived to create new value through products like Honda e, and it is rewarding to see those efforts recognized. We aim to be a company which society wants to exist, and awards like this only strengthen our commitment to provide joy to our customers for years to come.”
2021 World Performance Car – Porsche 911 Turbo
Perennial winner of World Car’s Performance Class, Porsche did it again, this time with the Turbo versions of the Porsche 911. It’s the seventh World Performance Car win for Porsche.
Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Model Line 911 and 718 at Porsche AG said, “We could not be more excited to accept this award, which represents the eighth instance of Porsche winning a World Car Awards title (Taycan also won World Luxury Car in 2020). The 911 Turbo S is the peak of performance and luxury from Porsche, a fact this recognition underscores. With the new generation 992, we continue to push the boundaries.”
2021 World Luxury Car – Mercedes-Benz S-Class
As its sixth-generation predecessor did, the new seventh-gen Mercedes-Benz S-Class claims World Luxury Car honours for 2021, easily outscoring the Polestar 2 and Land Rover Defender for the honour.
“It’s a great honour to see the new S-Class recognized around the globe as the 2021 World Luxury Car”, said Prof. Dr. Uwe Ernstberger, Head of S-Class and C-Class model series product group at Mercedes-Benz AG. “And it feels right. Building on its long tradition of innovation, the new generation once again sets the pace in the automotive industry. The S-Class offers trailblazing innovations in all areas, from safety and comfort to efficiency.”
2021 World Car of the Year – Volkswagen ID.4
Volkswagen is a multi-time winner of the top award, having won four times previously with the Golf VI (2009), Polo (2010), UP! (2012) and Golf (2013). The all-new, fully electric ID.4 repeats those triumphs as 2021 World Car of the Year.
It beat out 24 other vehicles in doing so, including the Honda e and Toyota Yaris, which were also Top Three in the World finalists.
Commenting on the award, Ralf Brandstätter, CEO Volkswagen Cars said: “We are particularly pleased about our ID.4 being named “World Car of the Year”. Not only because it is one of the most important car awards in the world – but because the jury also honoured a great idea and a great team. The first ID. Model for the key markets of Europe, China and the U.S. carries our electric offensive around the world. A convincing car, a great idea – and the “World Car of the Year” award? That goes well together for us!”
2021 marks the 16th year of the World Car Awards partnership with the New York International Auto Show. The 2022 awards season and the Road to the World Car Awards journey will officially begin at the rescheduled New York International Auto Show on August 19, 2021 in the newly renovated Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
Additional information about the World Car Awards, including detailed voting results, can be found online at worldcarawards.com.