Mazda CX-5 and Suzuki Swift WCOTY cover photo

2018 World Car of the Year

World Car Awards has announced their finalists for the 2018 World Car of the Year Awards, with the Mazda CX-5 finding itself in the final three for the top award. The Suzuki Swift has also made it to the final round for 2018 World Urban Car.

In the world of motoring, there’s no award more prestigious or sought after than the World Car of the Year.  And we’re thrilled to see both Mazda and Suzuki recognised for their brilliant contributions in the form of the Mazda CX-5 and Suzuki Swift.  The CX-5 has made it to the final three of the top prize – the 2018 World Car of the Year. It is joined at the top by the Range Rover Velar and Volvo XC60.  The Swift has also been shortlisted for the 2018 Urban Car of the Year, competing against the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.  It’s a fantastic achievement for both Japanese manufacturers, beating out stiff competition and proving once again that they can compete with the big hitters in the industry.

What are the World Car Awards?

World Car of the Year Logo

Initiated, organised and conducted by automotive journalists from around the world, the World Car Awards aims to combine expertise and experience from around the world to root out the best new cars on offer each year.  With judges hailing from Asia, Europe and North America, the Award aims to provide something that regional and national awards cannot – a comparison of everything, even those limited to certain regions.  As it says on their website, the World Car of the Year Awards is “intended to complement, not compete with existing and regional COTY [car of the year] awards.”

How is a winner decided?

The road to deciding a final World Car of the Year is a long one – 10 months long, in fact! It begins (typically in June) with the nomination of the official jurors (80 for this year’s awards), selected from independent automotive journalists around the world.  Then, the vehicle candidates are nominated in 6 categories: World Car of the Year, World Luxury Car, World Performance Car, World Urban Car, World Green Car, and World Design of the Year. To be eligible for nomination, these cars must have been launched within the previous year and be available in at least two continents.  At this stage, there is usually a list of 20-30 cars. Then, the jurors begin testing, aiming to have test driven each nominee before voting begins. In the meantime, the nominees are announced at one of the main auto shows in November/December; this year it was Frankfurt.

The first round of voting begins in January, and the list is whittled down to a top 10 in each category.  This is then followed by a second round of testing and voting, with the finalist being reduced down to only three, which are announced at Geneva in March.

All these months of voting and testing finally culminate in the final prizes being announced in New York at the end of March/ beginning of April.

How is it kept fair?

With previous winners ranging from the Nissan Leaf and Mazda 2 to the Jaguar F-Pace, you may be asking yourself, how can such different brands and cars be compared? Luxury and premium cars will surely outperform more modest entrants. And how can you compare the styling of the sporty Mazda MX-5 to that of something like the Citroen Cactus? Well, I have three words for you: fitness for purpose. In order to provide a level playing field so that small manufacturers can compete with the market leaders, and that cheap and cheerful can go up against luxury, the jurors are asked to follow the fit for purpose principle. Rather than simply comparing like for like (i.e. style vs style, space vs space), they judge each model with an emphasis on its primary purpose. For example, the MX-5 is designed to be sporty, fun, stylish and offer great handling so the judges will apply this to the set criteria.

Mazda CX-5 in the final three for 2018 World Car of the Year

all-new Mazda CX5

This brings us back to the 2018 World Car of the Year Awards, and the Mazda CX-5 has made it to the top three for the 2018 World Car of the Year. It’s up against the Volvo XC60 and the Range Rover Velar. As the buying trend heads more towards SUVs, it’s no surprise that the top three is made up entirely of them.

As for the Mazda CX-5, we’re not so surprised to see it rising through the ranks of this award season.  On a regional and national level, it’s been scooping up awards left, right and centre, including the 2 WhatCar? Best Car of the Year 2018 awards,  Best Small Utility Vehicle from the Canadian Car of the Year Awards and Best Crossover at the 2017 Scottish Car of the Year Awards.  It’s also been roundly praised by motoring journalists the world over for its refined design, fantastic drive and premium styling.

Suzuki Swift in the final three for World Urban Car

Suzuki swift front

The Suzuki Swift has also been given a final three spot at this year’s awards, in the World Urban Car category.  The category itself is a newcomer to the awards, having only been introduced last year.  It was added to recognise the increased need for small, economical, city-friendly cars in a world of increased traffic and small parking spaces.

The Swift is an obvious choice for this category, with the Hybrid SHVS version offering fantastic economy on top of the Swift’s agile and compact design.  It’s already been recognised on a regional and national level for its smart city design, winning Eco Car of the Year at the Scottish Car of the Year Awards and Small Car of the Year at the Green Apple Awards.

The winners of the 2018 World Car of the Year Awards will be announced on Wednesday 28th March 2018 at the New York International Auto Show

Want to put these cars to the test? Visit our website, or get in touch with our sales teams to book your test drive. For Mazda, we have showrooms in Weybridge, Bookham and Orpington. As for Suzuki, get in touch with our sales team in Effingham.