2021 World Car Awards: Here's the Preliminary List of Eligible Vehicles

The 2021 World Car Awards is officially underway. This marks the release of the preliminary list of eligible vehicles competing for World Car of the Year, World Luxury Car, World Performance Car, World Urban Car, and World Car Design awards, and we all have all the details right here.

True to form, Editor-in-chief Vincent Nguyen is on his second stint as juror of the 2021 World Car Awards. The magnificent Kia Telluride won the prestigious World Car of the Year award last year, beating the Mazda CX-30 and Mazda 3 for the coveted plum. We understand the Telluride is not a car per se, but you'll have to test drive it to know what the buzz is all about.

And despite the lingering threat of an infectious COVID-19 virus, here is the preliminary list of eligible vehicles for the 2021 World Car Awards.

2021 World Car of the Year

The candidates for next year's World Car of the Year award consists of an interesting mix of small cars, crossovers, and electric vehicles.

Audi A3

BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe

BMW 4-Series

Citroën C4 / ë-C4

Ford Escape / Kuga

Genesis G80


Honda Jazz / Fit

Hyundai Elantra / Avante

Hyundai i10 / Grand i10

Hyundai i20

Kia K5 / Optima

Kia Sorento

Kia Sonet

Mazda MX-30

Mercedes-Benz GLA

Nissan Rogue / X-Trail

Seat Leon

Skoda Octavia

Toyota Highlander

Toyota Sienna

Toyota Venza / Harrier

Toyota Yaris / Yaris Cross

Volkswagen ID.4

Worth noting are the Honda-e and the Volkswagen ID.4, although the Honda is not coming to North America while the Volkswagen is not arriving until early or mid-2021, we have a strong affinity for quirky electric vehicles. Browsing through the list, the Genesis G80 stands out for being the only luxury vehicle in the list. Make no mistake, the new Genesis G80 is a marvelous car, and it's worthy of representing South Korea for World Car of the Year along with the Hyundai Elantra and Kia K5.

2021 World Luxury Car

Last year's winner for World Luxury Car is the Porsche Taycan EV. The initial candidates for the 2021 World Luxury Car award consist of two electric vehicles, a hydrogen-powered car, and a posh high-performance SUV.

Aston Martin DBX


Genesis GV80

Land Rover Defender

Polestar 2

Tesla Model Y

Toyota Mirai

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD

Right off the bat, the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model Y are strongly tugging at our heartstrings, most particularly the Polestar for its sustainable interior. But if we're really talking about a luxury car, it's hard to ignore the Aston Martin DBX, although the Genesis GV80 delivers the goods for less money.

2021 World Urban Car

The Kia Soul EV walked away with the 2020 World Urban Car award. It bested the Mini Electric, Volkswagen T-Cross, and the Kia Soul EV. But this year, the preliminary list includes a single all-electric model.


Honda Jazz / Fit

Hyundai i10 / Grand i10

Hyundai i20

Kia Sonet

Toyota Yaris / Yaris Cross

The new Honda Jazz/Fit is exiting the U.S. market for next year, and this is despite having a new hybrid powertrain offered in other markets. But for the World Urban Car of the Year Award, we're pining for the Honda-e. It represents the genuine essence of a clean-driving city car with vintage styling, practical levels of space, and a fun driving demeanor despite the inherent lack of range.

2021 World Performance Car

This is where it gets exciting. Last year, the Porsche Taycan took the crown for its mesmerizing performance. But now, the preliminary list of candidates for the 2021 World Performance Car award is devoid of an all-electric model.

Audi RS Q3

Audi RS Q8

BMW Alpina XB7


BMW X5 M / X6 M

Hyundai Veloster N

Mini John Cooper Works GP

Mercedes-AMG GLS 63

Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche 718 GTS 4.0

Toyota GR Yaris

The Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is worthy of praise alongside the Audi RS Q8, BMW X5 M, and the Porsche 911 Turbo. However, we like the Hyundai Veloster N and the Toyota GR Yaris. Both are considered pocket rockets and are elevating the performance status of small hatchbacks into unprecedented territory.

The preliminary list of eligible vehicles is subject to change and may be updated until December 1, 2020. To be eligible for the 2021 World Car Awards, the vehicle must be for sale in at least two major markets on a least two continents before May 1, 2021. Tell us your favorite vehicles by leaving your comments below.