Supreme and green: Women’s World Car of the Year Awards Review
by Sue Baker
It is a sign of the times that this year’s top car, voted by an international panel of 25 women motoring writers across the globe, is one of the greenest newcomers. Here’s what we chose as our 2017 winners.
Female motoring writers are a comparatively rare breed. Vastly outnumbered by our male colleagues, and not so pumped up with the testosterone that fuels many of their car reviews, we judge cars rationally and practically but just as enthusiastically as any of them.
Car awards proliferate around the world, but what triggered the creation of the Women’s World Car of the Year Awards eight years ago was the realisation that most of the others were almost exclusively voted on by men. In some notable cases, entirely so. Considering that women comprise half the driving population in most developed countries, that seemed wrong.
So WWCOTY was born, and has grown over the years to include 25 judges from 20 countries. The UK has two: me as the English judge and my chum and frequent co-driver Maggie Barry in Scotland.
The WWCOTY awards are not just cars for women. Rather, they are the best cars, chosen by knowledgeable women, for discerning drivers regardless of gender.
We had a long list of 420 cars to choose between, initially slimmed down to the most deserving 60. Then the judges voted by secret ballot for what we viewed as the best in each of six key categories, and finally for the supreme winner. These are the results of this year’s voting, just announced.
Supreme winner – Hyundai Ionic
This was the clear winner as our overall favourite and most highly regarded car of the year. The Ionic, produced by respected South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, comprises three versions: electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid. Good to drive, a practical package as a family car, with smooth looks and behaviour, the Ionic is a worthy winner.
Budget Car Award – Ford Fiesta
Another clear winner here, Ford’s new Fiesta romped home with the award for an affordable small car. Chic and highly competent, the Fiesta is an intelligent choice as the best car in its category. The Kia Rio was the runner-up, with Citroen’s C3 coming third.
Family Car Award – Mazda CX-5
This was a very close result. For its all-round prowess and practicality, the Mazda CX-5 claimed the honours. But the runner-up ran it a very close race, and it was an honourable second place for the Hyundai i30.
SUV/crossover Award – Peugeot 3008
Here is a car that surprised many this year with just how good it is to drive, and Peugeot’s 3008 won convincingly in this category. The runner-up was the Mazda CX-5, featuring again, and Volvo’s XC60 came third.
Performance Car Award – Honda Civic Type R
What a thriller. Any keen driver will love the way the Civic Type R performs, and its dramatic looks make it a head-turner. The runner-up here was the Mazda MX-5 RF, and the BMW MJ2 Coupe came third.
Luxury Car Award – BMW 5 Series
A very clear winner this time. For its impeccable driving calibre and sumptuous comfort, the 5 Series scooped most of the votes and beat Volvo’s S90 into second spot, with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class coming third.
Green Car Award – Hyundai Ionic
No question which car stuck its green credentials out in front here. The Hyundai Ionic, also our supreme winner, emphatically claimed the green car category. It is available as an EV, Hybrid and PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle). Runner-ups were the Toyota Prius and Kia Niro.
Holly Reich Dream Car Award – McLaren 720S
This category honours the memory of WWCOTY’s New York-based judge who died of breast cancer in October 2016. We remember her as a true petrolhead, and her fellow judges’ money-no-object choice this time is the exquisite McLaren 720S supercar. It beat some fine rivals, coming out top ahead of the Aston Martin Rapide S and DB11, Maserati Levante, and Ferrari’s Portofino and GTc4 Russo. It is the second year that Woking-based McLaren has won this award, and together the two WWCOTY UK judges, Maggie Barry and I, went to the company’s Woking headquarters this week to present the two certificates.
Do you like the look of one of this year’s winners? Sell your car and upgrade to an award winning vehicle.
Images: Sue Baker
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