New York Motor Show - The Volvo XC60 is the 2018 World Car of the Year, the first Volvo ever to take this award.

It beat 34 entries from around the world to become one of three finalists announced at the Geneva Motor Show earlier in March, along with the Mazda CX-5 and the Range Rover Velar.

The candidates which had to have been available on two continents between 1 January 2017 and 31 May 2018 to be eligible, were selected and voted on by an international jury panel of 82 top motoring journalists from 24 countries, including South Africa’s Hannes Oosthuizen from our competitor Cars.co.za.

Since the only times they are in the same place is at international motor shows the evaluation drives were held in conjunction with the Tokyo Motor Show in October and the Los Angeles Motor Show in November, and jury deliberations at the Geneva Motor Show, where Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson was also honoured as the inaugural World Car Person of the Year.

CATEGORIES

World Luxury Car of the Year

Here the Audi A8 beat the Porsche Panamera and the Porsche Cayenne in an all-Volkswagen final, to give Audi its ninth category win in the 14 year history of World Car of the Year.

World Performance Car of the Year

There’s an extra twist to this category - to qualify, at least 2000 examples of each candidate car must have been sold during the elegibility period, which cuts out a number of specialist makes and brings this award back into the real world.

And it was the BMW M5 that got the nod, ahead of the Honda Civic Type R and the Lexus LC 500.

World Car Design of the Year

This category is meant to highlight new vehicles with innovation and style that push established boundaries and candidates includes all the cars entered in the other five categories.

A panel of seven design experts was asked to review them all and draw up a short‐list for the jurors.

They were Anne Asensio (France), vice president of design for Dassault Systemes, Gernot Bracht (Germany) of the Pforzheim Design School, Patrick le Quément (France) president of the strategy committee of the Sustainable Design School, Sam Livingstone (Britain) from the Royal College of Art, Tom Matano (United States) of the school of industrial design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco,  Gordon Murray (Britain) of Gordon Murray Design and Shiro Nakamura (Japan) head of Shiro Nakamura Design Associates.

Livingstone commented: “The Velar delivers a new level of svelte sophistication for Range Rover: both outside and inside, the car eschews chunky forms and details whilst cleverly maintaining true Range Rover DNA.

“It also leads with its harmoniously integrated human‐machine‐interface design, and with colour and material design featuring (amongst other innovations) a vegan option.”

World Green Car of the Year

There were only four entries in this category, so one was dropped at the evaluation stage, leaving the Nissan Leaf to take the honours from the BMW 530e iPerformance and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

World Urban Car of the Year

This year’s winner, the Volkswagen Polo, was chosen from an initial entry list of eight, and beat the Ford Fiesta and Suzuki Swift in the final showdown.

The World Urban Car award was introduced in 2017; World Car vice-chairman Mike Rutherford commented then: “Everyday cars in many parts of the world will have to become smaller if road and parking space is to be found for them in increasingly crowded towns and cities.”

The inaugural World Urban Car winner was the BMW i3.

IOL Motoring