Cars that shine: Women’s World Car of the Year Awards Review

Women's World Car of the Year Awards Review

Every year an all-female international panel of motoring writers judges the cars most worthy of praise. The 2016 winners have been announced.

A few years ago it was noticed by some motoring writers, who happened to be female, that most of the international awards given to the best newly-launched cars were dominated by men. Indeed, one major Car of the Year award was entirely judged by male car journalists.

How could that be right? Female cars buyers are an influential and growing demographic worldwide, a collective voice that shouldn’t be ignored. So one feisty female motoring writer decided to do something about the unrepresentative, testosterone-fuelled nature of COTY awards. By launching a new one.

In 2009, Women’s World Car of the Year was born, the brainchild of Sandy Myhre, based in New Zealand. She enlisted female colleagues around the world to join in. Fast forward to 2016 and the seventh annual Women’s World Car of the Year Awards have just been announced.

They are judged by 17 of us, across 14 countries across the globe, from America to Australia. This year 294 cars were in contention, from which a master list of 32 cars in six categories was chosen. Once the category winners were decided in a secret ballot, a fresh vote chose the supreme winner from amongst them. Here are the results.

Supreme winner – Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar F-Pace, Jaguar F-Pace 1 award, Jaguar F-Pace 1 women's car of the year award

Jaguar’s first SUV is judged a winning formula, not only collecting the category award for this type of car, but also chosen as the overall winner for 2016. The hunky Jag, with its pumped-up style and fine driving manners, is a stand-out model and worthy winner of the top spot in Women’s World COTY.

It just so happens that the global PR boss at Jaguar Land Rover is female, and unsurprisingly she warmly welcomes the award. “We are delighted that the F-Pace has been voted not only best SUV/Crossover but also Supreme Winner in the 2016 Women’s World Car of the Year Awards.

Jaguar F-Pace badge, Jaguar F-Pace logo

“This prestigious title is a true highlight in the continuing F-Pace success story. The combination of beautiful design, everyday usability and unrivalled driving experience set the F-Pace apart from the competition, and is attracting new customers to the Jaguar brand worldwide.”

Budget Car Award  – Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz, Honda Jazz review, Honda Jazz side view

The first of two awards for Honda, the little Jazz hatchback supermini claimed the laurels for the best budget car of the year. Priced from £13,635, the Jazz has a 1.3-litre petrol engine and comes in manual and auto versions.

Family Car Award – Honda Civic

Honda Civic, Honda Civic review, Honda Civic side view

In the family car category, the victor was the latest Honda Civic, new on the market this year. Well done Honda for a double in two of the most competitive categories. Civic prices start from around £16,500, with a choice of engines from 1.5 to 2.0 petrol and 1.6 diesel.

SUV/crossover Award  – Jaguar F-Pace

 Jaguar F-Pace badge,  Jaguar F-Pace logo

The F-Pace is a new departure for Jaguar, and it’s a fine win for a fine car. Designed and made in Britain, launched last spring, it has been an instant success and is admired around the world. Sporty and practical, it was a stand-out choice as the winner of the SUV award. F-Pace pricing starts from £35,000, with a choice of 2.0 and 3.0-litre diesel engines and a three-litre supercharged petrol model.

Performance Car Award – Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang review,

It was an extremely close-run result in this category, with another Ford as the runner-up behind the Mustang. Well done to the maker of two great muscle cars, with the Focus RS chasing its bigger stablemate and beaten by just one point in the result. Mustang prices start from just under £32,000 for the 2.3-litre model and £35,745 for the full-muscle V8.

Luxury Car Award – Volvo S90

Volvo S90

Last year Volvo scooped the supreme award in the 2015 WWCOTY awards, and this time it’s the luxury model winner with the plush new S90. With a two-litre diesel engine, the S90 is priced from £32,500.

Green Car Award – Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

With the Prius, Toyota put hybrid motoring on the map, and the latest model is even more efficient and more gracefully styled. With a 1.8-litre petrol engine and electric motor, teams with a continuously variable auto transmission, the Prius starts from £23,600.

Holly Reich Dream Car Award – McLaren 570S

McLaren 570S

This category is named in memory of WWCOTY’s New York-based judge who died in October of breast cancer. She was a true petrolhead, and the car that is the money-no-object choice of her fellow judges is the ultimate petrolhead’s dream car, the sculptural and sensationally quick McLaren 570S. Another great British model. £143,250 to spare? If only.

Images: Sue Baker

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Sue Baker is a seasoned motoring journalist with a love of all things automotive.