The COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the entire 2020-2021 auto show season, yet automakers found a way to introduce a number of new models, which made things interesting for journalists in charge of selecting the traditional Car of the Year award winners.
When looking at Canada, then North America and finally the world, we can see once again that no vehicle really stood out above the rest. There is plenty of diversity, and that’s a good thing.
First, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) crowned the Mazda3 as the Canadian Car of the Year—for the second time in a row—as well as the luxurious Genesis GV80 in the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year category.
Meanwhile, the team at The Car Guide picked very different models for 2021, namely the Polestar 2 as Best New Car of the Year and the Toyota RAV4 Prime as Best New Utility Vehicle of the Year. The former is an all-electric premium sedan, while the latter is a plug-in hybrid SUV. As for Best New Truck of the Year, The Car Guide voted for GM’s quartet of full-size SUVs consisting of the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.
On a bigger scale, the jury of the North American Car of the Year Awards also announced different winners. The new, seventh-generation Hyundai Elantra was chosen as the North American Car of the Year, while the polarizing Ford Mustang Mach-E electric crossover got the nod as North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Ford secured a double win as the redesigned F-150—with available hybrid technology—won the North American Truck of the Year award.
Now, what about the global stage? The 2021 World Car of the Year Awards were presented on April 20 and the all-new Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV took home the main title. It’s not even on sale yet in Canada, and barely has been in the U.S., but over in Europe this model is off to an impressive start since last fall.
In other WCOTY categories, the Honda e (not available here) is the World Urban Car of the Year, the Land Rover Defender boasts the World Car Design of the Year, and the Porsche 911 Turbo can brag about being named the World Performance Car of the Year. Finally, the next-gen Mercedes-Benz S-Class won the award for World Luxury Car of the Year.
Congratulations to all the winners. And now the race for the 2022 awards is on.