The all-new Mazda MX-5 has been named World Car of the Year making it a double win at the New York International Auto Show as the popular roadster scooped the top spot in the design category too.

Mazda, one of the smaller Japanese auto manufacturers, is no stranger to the World Car Awards program – now in its 12th year – winning the top car award once before and top three votes twice.

The Mazda2/Mazda Demio was the 2008 World Car of the Year. While the Mazda3 (2014), Mazda6 (2013) and Mazda MX-5 have all earned “Top Three in the World” status as voted by the 70 plus international automotive journalists that make up the jury.

Mazda MX5 RF
Toyota MIRAI
BMW 7-Series
Audi R8 coupe

The MX-5 was chosen from an initial entry list of 23 vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of ten, then three finalists: the Audi A4 Sedan/Audi A4 Avant, the Mazda MX-5, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.

“What a wonderful honor, to have the Mazda MX-5 named World Car of the Year,” said Masahiro Moro, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations. “As our iconic MX-5 roadster approaches one-million units of production, this award is proof that it is as young, vibrant, fun and relevant as ever.”

The World Car Awards jurors observed that, “With the launch of its all-new MX-5, Mazda has thrown out the blueprint and gone back to basics – back to 1989 basics. Shorter, lower, wider and – most importantly – lighter, the new MX-5 comes with a choice of either 1.5 or 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engines.”

The announcement came hot on the heels of Mazda revealing its new retractable hardtop version of the model.

To be eligible for the overall World Car award, the candidates must become available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning January 1, 2015 and ending May 31, 2016.

The BMW 7 Series was declared the 2016 World Luxury Car. BMW has won the World Green Car title two years in a row (2015 – BMW i8; 2014 – BMW i3) and in 2008 for the BMW 118d with Efficient Dynamics.  In 2006, the BMW 3-Series was the World Car of the Year while in 2014, the BMW i3 won World Car Design of the Year.

This year’s winner was chosen from an initial entry list of eight prestigious cars from all over the world, then a short list of three finalists:  the winner as well as the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC 90.

The Audi R8 Coupe was declared the 2016 World Performance Car . . . again. R8 variants won the same award in 2010 and 2008, adding the design award in the latter year.

The Toyota MIRAI hydrogen fuel cell car won the 2016 World Green Car Award.

“Just as Prius changed the world nearly 20 years ago, the hydrogen-powered Mirai is ready to make history,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division.  “With a range of over 300 miles per tank, a refueling time of under five minutes, and emissions that consist only of water vapor, Mirai is leading the world forward toward a more sustainable future.”

The MIRAI was chosen from an initial entry list of eight new vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of three finalists that included the winner as well as the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Hybrid.

The Toyota Prius (2010) has previously earned “Top Three in the World” status for both the World Green Car and the overall World Car of the Year categories.

In addition, the Toyota GT86 was a “Top Three in the World” finalist for World Car of the Year in 2013; the Toyota iQ in 2009 for the same category; and the Toyota Harrier Hybrid in 2006 for World Green Car.

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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