The World Car Awards Finalists Were Just Announced – and We Are Not Surprised

It's no surprise that EVs and SUVs are some of the best new cars this year. The World Car Awards finalists were just announced and the list includes some of our favorites!

The Front Of Volvo Ex30
The front of the Volvo EX30. Credit: Scotty Reiss

SUVs and Electric Cars Again Top the Survey of 100 Global Journalists

When the World Car Awards announced the finalists for each of its 6 categories at the Geneva International Motor Show, you could practically hear the cheers from around the world: Volvo, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and BMW — some of our favorite car makers — were among the top 3 in several of the categories.

And, there were some surprises, including Chinese carmaker BYD, which just surpassed Tesla as the no. 1 electric car maker in the world, was nominated to two categories: World Car of the Year, for the Seal crossover,  and World Urban car for the compact Dolphin.

Another surprise was the Ford Bronco, named among the top 3 World Car Design of the Year nominees. Even though we’ve been driving this retro-modern SUV in the US for a few years, it has just qualified as a World Car Awards vehicle because is finally for sale on multiple continents.

Another surprise was the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, which was named among the top 3 World Performance Car nominees. A souped up and sportier version of the popular electric crossover, I found this car is a blast to drive and apparently, so did many of the other WCA jurors.

But let’s get to what wasn’t a surprise.

Related: Which are the Best Cars in the World? World Car Awards Narrows Them Down

The Front Cabin In The Kia Ev9 Is Lovely And A World Car Awards Contender

The front cabin in the Kia EV9 is lovely. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Hello, Kia EV9!

I was particularly glad to see this SUV land among the top 3 for World Car of the Year and World Electric Vehicle. I really loved the space, efficiency and innovative approach to design and function in this electric family SUV. And, once families have more choices in electric cars that meet all their needs, the segment will really start to gain traction. People will appreciate not having to go to the gas station almost as much as they’ll enjoy the drive experience, which is typically pretty great.

Related: So, You Want to Buy a 2024 Kia EV9 Electric 3-Row SUV

The Front Of The Volvo Ex30; This Is A World Car Awards Contender

The front of the Volvo EX30. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Volvo EX30’s Design and Price Won Us Over

Someone described Volvo EX30 to me as inexpensive without looking cheap, a perfect way to describe this compact electric SUV. And it’s exciting: When have we ever been able to buy a Volvo for $35,000 (or what that sum represents today)? Especially a futuristic, well-equipped, high-tech Volvo? That’s the magic of the EX30, which will be built in China through a relationship with Volvo’s parent company Geely. To keep the price low, the electric powertrain efficient and the carbon footprint minimal, Volvo thought of every detail from the ground up to make sure it made sense. And it really does.

Related: We Saw the Volvo EX30 Compact Electric SUV and This is What You Need to Know 

Me With The 2024 Bmw I5 Bmw 5 Series Sedan

Me with the 2024 BMW i5. Photo: Scotty Reiss

BMW’s Luxury and Performance Approach Puts It in the Top 3

There’s just no debating it: The redesigned BMW 5 Series is groundbreaking, and the model, which has both gas-powered and electric versions, was recognized in both World Electric Vehicle and World Luxury Vehicle categories.

But still, performance is important: The BMW M2, a gas-powered sports coupe, and the BMW XM, a hyper-powered electric SUV, took two of the three spots in the Top 3 (Hyundai Ioniq 5 N was the third entry).

Related: 2024 BMW 5 Series First Drive: All New, a Gleaming Princess Cut of a Luxury Car

The Mercedes-Benz Eqe Suv And Myriam Joire. Photo Provided My Myriam Joire

The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV and Myriam Joire. Photo provided my Myriam Joire

Mercedes-Benz Continues to Define Luxury

Just think of that feeling when you slide into the seat of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle — any of them: stress melts away as you hear the door close with a satisfying ‘thunk,’ shutting out any noise that might intrude. The seats, the technology, the, materials all serve to simply make you feel good.

This dedication to luxury has the brand competing against itself in the World Luxury Car category; both the E Class and the EQE SUV were nominated. I can attest to the luxury of both, though I can hardly think of a car or SUV that is more luxe in its overall approach to the environment in the cabin, with the full span of the hyper screen, fragrance, massaging seats and ambient lighting that creates a salon-like feel. It is simply superb.

Related: Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV First Drive: Well Roundedm All-Electric, Packed With Tech

2023 Toyota Prius Prime

The new Prius Prime is a real LOOKER! 👀 Photo: Connie Peters

The Most Disparate Top 3: World Car Awards Design of the Year

This one really caught me by surprise. Normally, I’d expect the top 3 design vehicles to have something in common, to reflect a trend or innovation. But no. Each is its own through and through, with almost nothing in common. The Ford Bronco, the Ferrari Purosangue and the Toyota Prius. The Bronco’s design is so pure it’s spawned trends on its own. The Ferrari finally brings a 4-door SUV-esque design to the classic performance brand. And the re-design of the Prius is so sleek and elegant that it left us breathless. It earned a place on this list, which is a feat for a car whose design has always been driven by aerodynamics and not typically one that that people are drawn too for its aesthetics.

So which ones will win? That’s the big secret, something that even I, a member of the World Car Awards jury and steering committee, won’t know until we open the envelopes on March 27th. The ceremony takes place at the New York Auto Show and is the first official event of what is a very big week in the automotive business.

I have my feeling about things, and my favorites, but like everyone else, I’ll just have to wait and see.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss