Our seven finalists came to be known colloquially among the judges as the ‘Magnificent Seven’ and finding one winner among them was no easy task.
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2020 and 2021 have been difficult years for the new car market both domestically and overseas. And yet, sales in Australia have remained strong, with buyers still looking to secure their next new car and manufacturers have kept their end of the bargain releasing a range of high-quality new models into the Australian market.

The judges had their work cut out bringing our Drive Car of the Year segment winners down to seven finalists for the overall award. Every segment winner is eligible for the overall award in Drive Car of the Year, and not every segment winner is new to the market, with some being a strong repeat winner in a segment that it dominates. The first job for the judges then, was to whittle the field down to a select group of contenders for the overall award, and that group came to be known as the ‘Magnificent Seven’.


Our top seven is varied and broad, covering segments Australians spend time and money researching, and in their own way, moves the motoring landscape forward to deliver better options for Australian buyers. All would be worthy recipients of the 2021 Drive Car of the Year award, but there can only be one winner.

Judging for the overall award is conducted in secret with all judges casting their votes separately and no group debate is entered into. The mandate for Drive Car of the Year overall is to reward the vehicle that moves the game forward most significantly for the most Australian new car buyers.

And the Winner is...

The Drive Car of the Year 2021 - Kia Sorento

While it remains a functional family car at heart, the inclusion and integration of the next-generation of safety and assistance technology is what impressed the Drive.com.au judges the most, and is why the Kia Sorento is the 2021 Drive Car of the Year.Consider the bar lifted.

In terms of a vehicle that meets the fundamental criteria of moving things forward for Australian new car buyers, it is no surprise the new Kia Sorento received a unanimous first place from the judges in the 2021 Drive Car of the Year awards.