The winners of the 2018 World Car Awards – one of the industry’s most important showcases – were officially announced at this year’s New York International Auto Show. This year marks the 12th year of World’s Car partnership with NYIAS, where automakers from across the globe compete for highly-coveted titles, including the 2018 World Car of the Year, World Urban Car, World Luxury Car, World Performance Car, World Green Car and the World Car Design of the Year.

Chosen by a jury of 82 distinguished international automotive journalists from 24 countries, three finalists were named in each category. Automakers BMW, Porsche and Lexus, which are known for their high-performance vehicles, appeared as finalists in more than one category. But this year’s list featured a few unexpected contenders that raced would ultimately race their way to the top.

The Volvo XC60 was declared the 2018 World Car of the Year winner, earning the most prestigious award in the automotive industry. Photo Courtesy of World Car Awards
The Volvo XC60 was declared the 2018 World Car of the Year winner, earning the most prestigious award in the automotive industry.
Photo Courtesy of World Car Awards

2018 World Car of the Year – Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 was chosen from an initial entry list of 34 vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of ten, reduced to three finalists announced in Geneva in March – the Mazda CX‐5, the Range Rover Velar and the Volvo XC60. The Volvo XC60 is hardly what you’d expect out of this prestigious category, but the Swedish automaker has earned its stripes with its new midsize SUV, which was also named Euro NCAP’s best overall performer last year.

“I am pleased to see our company’s product investments paying off. We are up against some tough competition, but this award for the XC60 show that Volvo has the right combination of design, connectivity and safety that appeals to customers across the world,” Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars, said.

XC60 is available with a range of diesel and petrol engines, as well as Volvo Cars’ award-winning T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid at the top of the powertrain range, delivering 407hp and acceleration from 0-100km in just 5.3 seconds.

2018 World Luxury Car – Audi A8

German automaker Audi racked up its ninth World Car Award at this year’s New York International Auto Show. Audi’s A8 was declared World Luxury Car of the year, beating out two Porsche models, including the Cayenne and the Panamera.

“This award is a special honor for us and our flagship model,” Peter Mertens, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG, said. “The Audi A8 is an innovation driver for our entire industry. With its innovative touch control system, consistent broad-based electrification and the technical prerequisites for highly automated driving, the A8 sets new standards in automotive engineering.”

Audi has earned four other World Performance Car titles in just over 10 years – 2016 (Audi R8 Coupé), 2010 (Audi R8 V10), 2008 (Audi R8) and 2007 (Audi RS 4). The company also captured the World Car Design of the Year award in 2007 and 2008.

2018 World Performance Car – BMW M5

BMW is no stranger to the World Car Awards. Named 2018’s World Performance Car, the M5 is the seventh BMW model to win a World Car Award in the competition’s 14-year history. Previously, the company won the inaugural World Urban Car award in 2017 (BMW i3); the 2016 World Luxury Car award (BMW 7 series); two back‐ to‐back World Green Car awards (BMW i8 – 2015, BMW i3 – 2014) as well as another World Green Car win in 2008 (BMW 118d with Efficient Dynamics). In 2006, the BMW 3‐Series captured top honours as the World Car of the Year.

The BMW M5 was chosen from an initial entry list of 11 cars from all over the world, which was shortened to a list of two other finalists, including the Honda Civic Type R and the Lexus LC 500.

“We at BMW are very excited to receive this award from the World Car of the Year organization. The BMW 5 Series has always played an important part of the BMW product portfolio. With this sixth generation BMW 5 Series, we are able to offer our customers a broad range of variants ranging from the extremely efficient BMW 530e plug‐in hybrid, all the way to the BMW M5, which is the quickest BMW ever built, reaching 0‐60 in under 3.2 seconds,” BMW said in a statement.

2018 World Car Design of the Year – Range Rover Velar

Range Rover’s new Velar has been crowned the most beautifully-designed car on the market, winning the World Car Design of the Year title. The victory, which was announced at the New York International Auto Show last week, marks the first time Land Rover has clinched a World Car Award.

“Receiving the World Car of the Year award means a lot to us. I feel very honoured and I want to thank all jury members for their trust and support in encouraging the Land Rover team to continue on their unique path,” Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover, said. “I also want to thank our Velar team for their passion and commitment, for going the extra mile to move boundaries for extraordinary solutions.”

“The continued evolution of our design philosophy is driven by a relentless focus on creating highly desirable vehicles our customers will love for life. The Range Rover Velar brings a new dimension of modernity to the Range Rover family with an abundance of innovative technologies, all making this vehicle a joy to drive and be driven in,” McGovern added. “We’re honoured that the jury recognised the tireless endeavours of our designers and engineers in delivering a vehicle with compelling design, tailored technology and relevant innovation which come together to create a vehicle of instant desirability.”

2018 World Green Car – Nissan LEAF

When Nissan first debuted its all-electric LEAF, it received mixed reviews. The automaker has completely reinvented the wheel with its second generation model – and industry insiders are taking notice. The Nissan LEAF was named 2018 World Green Car at the New York International Auto Show last week, outshining BMW’s 530e iPerformance and Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid as the most successful eco-friendly vehicle on the market.

“We’re very proud that since Nissan LEAF launched in 2010, we’ve been able to put more than 300,000 zero‐emission electric vehicles on the road worldwide, helping to reduce carbon footprints around the globe,” Daniele Schillaci, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Sales, Zero Emission Vehicle and Battery Business, said. “We’re honored to be recognized by this esteemed jury and proud to continue to expand the vision of Nissan Intelligent Mobility.”

Combining a greater charge range of 150 miles and a new, bold design, the all-new 2018 LEAF is an innovative and affordable option for the environmentally-conscious consumer. With a base price of just under $30,000 the all-new Nissan LEAF 2018 boasts 147 horsepower and advanced technologies like e-Pedal, Automatic Emergency Braking, this new model will literally transform your daily commute without breaking the bank.

2018 World Urban Car – Volkswagen Polo

While some might be surprised that Volkswagen’s Polo was announced the 2018 World Urban Car, industry insiders are anything but. With more than 17 million units sold, the Polo is one of the most successful compact cars of all time. This year’s victory marks the second time the Polo model earned a World Car title, and the sixth time overall Volkswagen has won a World Car Award in its 14-year history. Volkswagen AG earned “World Car of the Year” honors a total of four times – in 2013 (Golf), 2012 (Up!), 2010 (Polo) and 2009 (Golf VI).

“The whole team at Volkswagen is delighted to have won the 2018 World Urban Car award with the Polo,” said Klaus Bischoff, Head of Volkswagen Design. “With around 17 million units sold, the Polo is one of the most successful compact cars of all time and a pillar of the brand. And the sixth‐generation, based on the MQB platform, is even sportier and more grown-up than its predecessors.”

This year’s winner was chosen from an initial entry list of eight cars from all over the world, then a short list of three finalists as announced last month. The Polo edged out the Ford Fiesta and the Suzuki Swift to win this relatively new category.