If You Could Pick One Car, Any Car, as the Best Car in the World…

Best Car World Car Awards
Best Cars World Car Awards Nominees

My fellow World Car Awards juror George Notaras (left) and Abby Bassett (right) with the Porsche Taycan (in Gentian Blue Metallic) and the Porsche 911 (in Racing Yellow). ? Scotty Reiss

Which would you choose? 

That’s exactly what the World Car Awards does, choosing from among the many new cars that are introduced around the world each year. And luckily, we have a voice in that decision. 

Each year A Girls Guide to Cars writers are invited to drive most of those cars. We evaluate them and size them up for the buyer and driver they are intended to serve. I make it my mission to drive every one of the cars we write about so that, along with the rest of the World Car Awards jurors—86 from around the globe in all—I can vote on them.

In February a short list of winners was announced— 3 for each of the 5 categories. And, some interesting trends emerged. First of all, electric cars are everywhere, with nominees in 4 of the 5 categories with models from Kia, Porsche, Mini and Mercedes-Benz nominated. And, this is a banner year for Porsche. With a redesign of the iconic Porsche 911 flagship and the introduction of the brand’s first electric car, the Taycan, Porsche was nominated in 3 of the 5 categories and owns the Performance category–it’s just a matter of which Porsche wins. 

But what we loved most is the showing that both Mazda and Kia made: Both had two models nominated, demonstrating that you can be smart, beautiful AND accessible to all drivers.

The winners will be announced on April 8th at 10:30 AM Eastern and you can catch the live stream on our Facebook page. Here’s what we thought of the nominees. 

Best Cars World Car Awards Nominees

The Kia Telluride really set the 3-row SUV world on fire this year. ? Scotty Reiss

World Car of the Year

The nominees in this category particularly made us happy. Not only did we love each one of these cars, but they are fundamental, foundational cars for our everyday lives. They are not designer’s fancies that are out of our reach, but realistic daily drivers that take us and our needs into consideration. They get us, and we love that!

Best Cars World Car Awards Nominees

The Mazda CX-30 fills the need for a smaller car with the flexibility of a nicely sized SUV. ? Scotty Reiss

Mazda 3: This stylish sedan may be the pinnacle of Mazda’s recent pivot to premium. Filled with lush, plush leathers and fine details, you can’t quite believe this is the same brand you drove in college because it was cheap. But you grew up and so did Mazda. 

Mazda CX-30: Needing to serve a growing need for smaller but still roomy, people-filled SUVs, Mazda slimmed down the CX-5 to create the CX-30. While we stumbled over the name a bit–it’s the first in the lineup with a two-digit name– we can’t forget it: it’s fun, flexible and all that Mazda’s finely outfitted SUVs promise, only a tiny bit smaller for a better fit on city streets and in tight parking structures.

Kia Telluride: This is the Kia we’ve been waiting for all our lives: A full-sized (Kia calls it mid-size but don’t let that fool you), room for everyone 3-row SUV –really, 7 full size passengers will fit – outfitted with every luxe detail you want in a large SUV for under $44,000.  

Best Car World Car Awards

The Porsche Taycan was nominated in 3 of the 5 categories. ? Scotty Reiss

World Luxury Car

You might think that all the World Car Awards nominees are luxury and you wouldn’t be wrong. These are the luxe of the luxe, and it’s worth noting that two of the nominees are all-electric. Quiet, sustainable performance is the new luxury.

Mercedes-Benz EQC: The EQ is a play on “I.Q.” and signals this car’s electric intelligence quotient. With a range of 279 miles on a charge, this SUV is based on the brand’s most popular GLC model, a 5 passenger cloud of luxe comfort. 

Porsche 911: The redesign for 2020 left the iconic profile of this sports car in tact but added more luxury to the interior and tuned up the drive experience with a bit more power and a lot more muscle. Fans and critics raved, and for good reason. This one will steal your heart. 

Porsche Taycan: The long awaited Tesla killer is here. The market has been waiting for a high-design, ultra luxury competitor and Porsche delivered. The company re-tooled the iconic Panamera sedan for the electrified future. With about 200 miles of electric-only driving range, the Taycan has unique interior features like a curved glass driver information screen and a toggle gear selector. Slide behind the wheel, hit the accelerator and you literally hear yourself soar into the future. 

Best Cars World Car Awards Nominees

The Kia Soul EV takes a modern pose. ? Scotty Reiss

World Urban Car  

Cars designed and engineered for the city are a huge factor everywhere around the world. Practical, easy to park, easy to drive and easy on the budget, these are the cars that our populations depend on. And again, two of the three entries are electric! 

Kia Soul EV: We couldn’t love this little car more: Fun, freeing and perennially young at heart, the Soul now gets an all electric motor that lets you drive 243 miles on a charge. Kia has long believed – and it looks like the rest of the market is following– that electric cars don’t need to “look” electric. We love that they continue to build the Soul EV, and that for 2021 they more than doubled the driving range (up to 243 from 111 miles on a charge). 

Mini Cooper SE EV: Mini has incorporated electrified systems in the past but this is the first time a model has gone all electric. While it has a 110 mile range, not huge but great for around town, this brand knows its customers: There’s a big emphasis on using the deceleration paddles to regain energy and recharge the battery, with screens and driver feedback to help drivers continually improve their performance. 

Best Cars World Car Awards Nominees

The Volkswagen T-Cross shares a lot of the same design DNA as the VW Atlas, but in a much smaller package. And, unfortunately, is not available in North America. ? Scotty Reiss

VW T-Cross: Based on one of our favorite cars of recent years,  this little cutie-pie is inspired by and resembles the Volkswagen Atlas. The T-Cross isn’t available in the US (yet), but we have our fingers crossed. That’s because this compact crossover features the sharp, classic lines of the Atlas and has a high enough ground clearance that you don’t feel as if you need to squat and crawl to get into the driver’s seat.  And it’s small enough for city driving and parking, making it a great way to get around a city of any size.

Best Car World Car Awards

The Porsche 718 Spyder might be the ultimate driver’s car, stick shift and all. ? Scotty Reiss

World Performance Car  

Looks like Porsche has this one wrapped up; the only question is, is performance defined by an old-school drop-top sports car, a sports coupe with heightened sensibilities or an electric sedan? 

Porsche 718 Spyder: This might be the ultimate driver’s car. Seriously. The Spyder (which is old-school car slang for convertible) packs 414 horsepower into an exhilarating ride. Top up or down, this is how sport driving is meant to feel. And you’ll feel it all. Oh, and it is available in a stick shift—a true bonus for those of us who prefer to really feel the road and drive the machine.   

Porsche 911: The redesign amped up this car’s performance giving it even more stick-to-it-ness than before, for faster starts and tighter cornering on the track. And more thrills, even driving the speed limit on city streets. Yes, there are cars with more horsepower—the 911 ranges from 374 to 443 horsepower depending on the model – but the secret is to balance the vehicle so it feels effortless to drive and it uses all of that power smartly. 

Porsche Taycan: Part of the magic of electric cars is quick acceleration and power, and Taycan is on point here, as you’d expect Porsche to be. Whether the Taycan wins the WCA Performance category or not, expect to see it setting records and winning races soon. 

Best Cars World Car Awards Nominees

The elegant silhouette of the Mazda 3 proves you can get a beautiful car for a reasonable price. ? Scotty Reiss

World Car Design of the Year

This category shows how auto design has evolved, and how great design is more democratic than ever, available to anyone at an affordable price. These three very diverse finalists all share one thing: they’re gorgeous. 

Mazda 3: We aren’t surprised that Mazda 3 finished at the top of the design category out of all new cars that were introduced in the last year. The first time I opened the door and sat in the driver’s seat I had to take a breath and take in the details. It’s simply beautiful. And stylish. And smartly engineered. 

Peugeot 208: We haven’t driven this retooled French model but the critics love it. A crossover SUV, the Peugeot 208 is designed to indoctrinate French drivers and families in the SUV way of life. And it’s available in a gas engine or electric plug-in, keeping sustainability and fuel economy as top of mind as style—which is very important in Europe.

Porsche Taycan: Porsche hits all the important points in the Taycan: an electric designed to crush – as in, the competition; a performance car designed to thrill; and a highly designed sedan that sets new standards, for the brand and for the category. Yes, its based on the Panamera but the Taycan’s design, inside and out, sets distinct new heights of style.

Join us next Wednesday, April 8th at 10:30AM ET on our Facebook page to find out who the final winners are!

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