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Mazda MX-5 named 2016 World Car of the Year at New York International Auto Show

[dropcap style=”style1″]T[/dropcap]he winners of the World Car Awards (WCA) were announced during the New York International Auto Show. The awards are meant to highlight new vehicles with innovation and style that push boundaries. For 2016, categories included the World Car Design of the Year, World Car of the year, World Performance Car Award, World Luxury Car Award, and lastly the World Green Car Award.

The WCA’s judging panel is made up of 73 prominent automotive journalists from around the world that form a global community of experts.   The jurors ensure the integrity and credibility of the awards but also serve as an important resource for the industry with a focus on excellence and innovation on a global scale.

2016 World Car of the Year: Mazda MX-5

The World Car Awards jurors observed that, “With the launch of its all-new MX-5, Mazda has thrown out the blueprint and gone back to basics – back to 1989 basics. Shorter, lower, wider and – most importantly – lighter, the new MX-5 comes with a choice of either 1.5 or 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engines and the promise of unparalleled ‘Jinba ittai’ – a term meaning oneness between car and driver. And yes, it’s still one of the best driver’s cars around.”

To be eligible for the overall World Car award, the candidates must become available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning January 1, 2015 and ending May 31, 2016.

WCOTY2016 World Car Design of the Year: Mazda MX-5 

Candidates for the design award may be on the overall World Car of the Year list or may be included as a stand-alone entry provided the vehicle is available in quantities of at least 10 in one major market during the period beginning January 1, 2015 and ending May 31, 2016. Candidates may be pre-production or all-new production.

The experts commented that, “The new MX5 design is exciting, distinct and fresh. It’s a design that wholly fits with being the unique small sports-car this Mazda is. It captures the spirit of the first generation MX5 design but introduces a very leading twenty-teens aesthetic whilst remarkably also connecting visually to its sibling designs. An exceptional design in all ways.” Adding, “Mazda opted for modern, progressive direction to redefine the 4th generation MX-5. It visually communicates agility, light weight and maintained the MX-5 heritage. It still looks MX-5 100 meters away, only this one instantly recognizable as 4th generation at that distance.”

2016 World Performance Car: Audi R8 Coupe

The World Car Awards jurors observed:  “Arguably, Audi’s Le Mans-inspired R8 has been the most desirable, head-turning supercar of the decade. And now the latest Coupe version has won the World Performance Car 2016 title, successfully claiming the crown after seeing off stiff competition from America, Asia and Europe. Yet despite its racing car heritage and cutting edge technology it’s a surprisingly easy and manageable car to drive – fast or slow.”

Candidates for the World Performance Car award must demonstrate a specific and overt sports/performance orientation while satisfying the same availability criteria as for the overall World Car of the Year award.  Candidates may be chosen from the World Car of the Year list of eligible vehicles, or they may be newly introduced variants that satisfy the same criteria, but are derived from existing rather than brand-new models. In all cases, they must have a minimum annual production rate of five-hundred (500) vehicles.

2016 World Luxury Car: BMW 7 Series

The World Car jurors observed that, “This is the flagship model for the Bavarian car maker, and so it simply has to be the epitome of what the brand represents in terms of technology, design and performance. And the new 7 Series certainly delivers. It is very much the new face of BMW in the new family design – and yet it is a classic BMW all at once. It drives phenomenally well courtesy a new range of engines, and has a sporty drive dynamic that the rivals in the segment cannot claim as their USP. This comes from a 130 kg drop in weight thanks to the new ‘Carbon Core’ frame. 25 new features, of which 13 are segment firsts! Inside the cabin, BMW has taken things up a notch on luxury, pampering the owner with not just very comfortable and well designed seating, but with loads of technology, entertainment too. The new 7 Series brings in new features like the ambient ‘sky lounge’ sunroof, the ambient air package and the all-new gesture control.”

2016 World Green Car: Toyota Mirai

“Just as Prius changed the world nearly 20 years ago, the hydrogen-powered Mirai is ready to make history,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division.  “With a range of over 300 miles per tank, a refueling time of under five minutes, and emissions that consist only of water vapor, Mirai is leading the world forward toward a more sustainable future.”

The Toyota Mirai was chosen from an initial entry list of eight new vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of three finalists that included the winner as well as the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Hybrid.

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