South Korean carmaker Kia has won the overall World Car of the Year award with its Telluride SUV (above), a seven-seater available only in some left-hand-drive markets but with a styling language shared by the smaller Seltos, which went on sale in New Zealand last year.
The top gong wasn’t Kia’s only award – it also won the World Urban COTY for its battery-electric Soul, beating fellow finalists the Mini-Cooper SE and Volkswagen T-Cross.
The two 2020 trophies mark the first time Kia has been front and centre in the annual event’s 16-year history, which is decided by an international jury of 86 motoring writers.
The World COTY awards are normally announced at this month’s New York motor show, but because the coronavirus pandemic forced its postponment, the awards were presented online.
The Telluride is available in front or all-wheel drive and runs a 3.8-litre direct-injection petrol V6 engine generating around 217kW and 350Nm.
Kia Motors NZ managing director Todd McDonald said the prestigious award “hasn’t come by accident. Kia has been building towards this for many years, as anyone can see from the exciting product range in our showrooms. It just keeps getting better and better.”
Japan’s Mazda was also a high flyer. Not only did its CX-30 SUV and Mazda3 join the Telluride in the judges’ final three, the Mazda3 (above) won the World Design COTY.
Mazda NZ managing director David Dodge said the design award celebrated the continuing ability of Mazda engineers to design and build outstanding vehicles.
“The stunning design and premium finish of the Mazda3 hatch and sedan has also really struck a chord with New Zealanders who enjoy the thrill of driving a car rather than an SUV.”
The other major category was World Performance COTY, won by the battery-electric Porsche Taycan, beating its siblings the Porsche 911 and Boxster/Spyder Cayman GT4.
The Taycan also won the World Luxury COTY, ahead of the Porsche 911 and Mercedes-Benz EQC. Taycan runs a battery pack with electric motors on each rear wheel.
The awards began in 2005 with one winning category, the World COTY. The categories were expanded in 2006 to include performance, green, and design awards. The luxury category was added in 2014. Winners:
2005 – Audi A6
2006 – BMW 3-Series
2007 – Lexus LS460
2008 – Mazda2
2009 – Volkswagen Golf Mk 6
2010 – Volkswagen Polo
2011 – Nissan Leaf EV
2012 – Volkswagen up!
2013 – Volkswagen Golf Mk 7
2014 – Audi A3
2015 – Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2016 – Mazda MX-5
2017 – Jaguar F-Pace
2018 – Volvo XC60
2019 –Jaguar I-Pace
2020 – Kia Telluride