European vehicles dominate the list
The 2017 World Car of the Year (WCOTY) finalists have been announced, and once again the list is dominated by models from European brands.
There are six Car of the Year awards up for grabs this year, including the main prize, as well as gongs for the following categories: luxury, performance, car design, green, and urban. The Urban Car of the Year prize is new for 2017, and is only open to cars under four metres in length.
The 10 finalists for the overall Car of the Year award include six European cars (Audi A5/S5, Q2, Q5, Jaguar F-Pace, Skoda Kodiaq, and Volkswagen Tiguan), one Japanese-Italian collaboration (Fiat 124 Spider), and three Japanese vehicles (Honda Civic, Mazda CX-9, and Toyota C-HR).
Reflecting the popularity of crossover vehicles, seven of the 10 World Car of the Year finalists are high-riding wagons.
In the luxury car category, four of the finalists (Bentley Bentayga, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Volvo S90/V90) hail from Europe, with the Genesis G90 holding up the flag for the rest of the world.
Depending on how you want to slice and dice things, there's either a four-to-one or three-to-two split for the honours in the Urban COTY award, with Europe's BMW i3, Citroen C3 and Smart ForTwo Cabriolet battling it out against Japan's Suzuki Ignis and the Ford Ka+.
The European market Ka+ was developed for emerging markets, like South Africa, Brazil and India, and originally went on sale in 2015 as either the Ka or Figo. Models bound for Europe have been slightly tweaked in accordance with continental preferences.
It's guaranteed that no European vehicle will win this year's World Green Car of the Year award, as the finalists include two Americans (Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model X), two Japanese (Honda Clarity, Toyota Prius Prime), and one Korean model (Hyundai Ioniq).
The winners in each of the categories will be announced at the New York auto show, which takes place in the middle of April.
2017 World Car of the Year finalists
Audi A5/S5 coupe
Fiat/Abarth 124 Spyder
2017 World Luxury Car of the Year finalists
BMW 5 Series
2017 World Performance Car of the Year finalists
Aston Martin DB11
Audi R8 Spyder
Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman
2017 World Urban Performance Car of the Year finalists
2017 World Green Car of the Year finalists
Tesla Model X
Toyota Prius Prime