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An electric van, a twin-turbo supercar and a luxury limo – World Car Awards 2021 winners have been announced

The all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 is the winner of the World Car Awards

The all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 is the winner of the World Car Awards

Published Apr 21, 2021


JOHANNESBURG - The all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 minivan has been named as the 2021 World Car of the Year (as voted for by 93 motoring journalists from 28 countries that make up the World Car Awards jury panel).

Ralf Brandstätter, the chief executive of Volkswagen Cars says: “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.

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“The first ID. Model for the key markets of Europe, China and the USA 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.”

This year’s winner was chosen from an initial entry list of 24 vehicles, then a short list of three finalists as announced on March 30, 2021. The top three in the World finalists for 2021 were the Honda e, the Toyota Yaris and the Volkswagen ID.4.

Vehicles eligible for the World Car of the Year award must be produced in volumes of at least 10 000 units/year, priced below the luxury-car level in their primary markets, and “on-sale” in at least two major markets, on at least two separate continents, between May 1, 2020 and May 1, 2021.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class


The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, meanwhile, has won the 2021 World Luxury Car crown. This is the fourth World Luxury Car win for Mercedes-Benz and the second time the S-Class has won the title in the World Car Awards’ 17 year history.

“It’s a great honour to see the new S-Class recognised around the globe as the 2021 World Luxury Car,” says Uwe Ernstberger, the head of S-Class and C-Class model series product group at Mercedes-Benz. “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.”

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The Mercedes-Benz S-Class was chosen from an initial entry list of 10 cars from all over the world then a short list three finalists that included it, the Land Rover Defender and the Polestar 2.

2021 Honda e


The Honda e has been voted for as the 2021 World Urban Car of the Year.

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Koji Watanabe, the operating executive and chief officer of brand and communications operations at Honda, says: “We are very proud to receive this prestigious award from the World Car Awards organisation. We have strived to create new value through products like Honda e, and it is rewarding to see those efforts recognised. 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.”

The Honda e was chosen from an initial entry list of seven cars, but then a short list of three finalists that included the all-electric Honda e, the Honda Jazz and the Toyota Yaris.

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo


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The Porsche 911 Turbo has been named 2021 World Performance Car of the Year. This is the seventh World Performance Car win for Porsche in the World Car Awards’ 17-year history.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, the vice-president of model line 911 and 718 says: “We could not be more excited to accept this award, which represents the eighth instance of Porsche winning a World Car Awards title. 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.”

The 911 Turbo beat all comers in an initial entry list of nine cars that included the Audi RS Q8 and the Toyota GR Yaris.

2021 Land Rover Defender


The Land Rover Defender scooped the 2021 World Car Design of the Year award. This is the sixth World Car Design of the Year win for Jaguar Land Rover. No other OEM has received as many design awards in the World Car Awards’ 17-year history. Previous Design awards were: 2019 – Jaguar I-PACE, 2018 - Range Rover Velar, 2017 – Jaguar F-PACE, 2012 – Range Rover Evoque and 2013 – Jaguar F-Type.

Gerry McGovern, the chief creative officer of Jaguar Land Rover, says: “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.”

The World Car Design of the Year category, and the corresponding award, highlight new vehicles with innovation and style that push established boundaries. This year, the cars eligible for the 2021 World Car Design of the Year award encompassed all the contenders in the other four award categories.

A design panel consisting of seven highly respected world design experts was asked to first review each candidate, and then establish a short-list of recommendations for the jurors’ final vote. The design experts are:

Gernot Bracht (Germany – Pforzheim Design School), Ian Callum (UK – director of design, CALLUM), Gert Hildebrand (Germany – owner of Hildebrand-Design), Patrick le Quément (France – designer and president of the strategy committee at the Sustainable Design School), Tom Matano (US – Academy of Art University, former head of design – Mazda), Victor Nacif (US – chief creative officer, and design instructor, NewSchool of Architecture and Design) and Shiro Nakamura (Japan – chief executive of Shiro Nakamura Design Associates Inc).

You can visit the World Car Awards website to learn more about this year’s winners as well as past winners.