2021’s World Car of the Year goes to the electric Volkswagen ID.4

The real measure of success for Volkswagen’s embrace of electric vehicles (EV) post-dieselgate will be how many the company can sell each year. But on Tuesday, VW’s job might have gotten a little easier. That’s because the new ID.4 crossover just won this year’s World Car of the Year award, beating two other finalists, the adorable Honda E and the new Toyota Yaris. Fear not, E-fans: the diminutive electric hatchback won the World Urban Car category. Previous years’ winners have included the Kia Telluride and the Jaguar I-Pace.

I expected the Honda E to win World Car Design of the Year; as one of the 93 jurors around the world, I gave it high marks because just look at it. But more of my fellow jurors picked the chunky Land Rover Defender for that honor, and the Land Rover also beat the Mazda MX-30 in the process.

The World Luxury Car award went to the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, perhaps no surprise considering the other two finalists were the Defender and the Polestar 2. The Polestar is a fine EV with some very nifty tech, but it’s no match for the bombastic Benz.

Porsche’s new 911 Turbo took the top spot in the World Performance Car category. To be honest, this one hurts a bit. In a normal year, I’d have driven most or all of the finalists in all the categories, but COVID cancellations meant only getting seat time in a handful. Jurors are only allowed to score vehicles they’ve actually driven, so Ars had no input to provide for the performance award, which also included the Audi RS Q8 and the Toyota GR Yaris. The Toyota is a homologation special for a racing version that never raced. It has a cut-down body shell compared to the normal Yaris, and just about everyone who has driven it has fallen in love. Sadly, there are no plans to bring it to the US.

The same is true for all three finalists for World Urban Car, which also included the Honda Jazz (or Fit) and the normal Yaris, along with the aforementioned Honda E. The E’s win here was to be expected; the environment is one of the characteristics each car is judged upon, which means that an EV powertrain is at an advantage, all else being equal.

For 2022, that won’t be the case—at least for a newly introduced category for World Electric Vehicle of the Year. With so many new EVs due to hit the showrooms over the next year, it’s sure to be a hotly contested prize.

Listing image by Volkswagen