Awards Season

World Car of the Year award winners announced, U.S.-made vehicle wins top honors

The Porsche Taycan has won two awards this year.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

A jury of automotive journalists from across the globe have tested a bevy of new vehicles and given an American-made model top honors. The 2020 World Car of the Year awards consist of four category winners and one top dog.

Scroll down to see the winners.

2020 World Car of the Year - Kia Telluride

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Telluride is a new three-row SUV offering from the mass market automaker. It's constructed in West Point, Georgia. The model has won numerous awards this season including the coveted North American Utility Vehicle of the Year honor.

2020 World Luxury Car of the Year - Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Residents of Utah and Nevada are the Americans most excited about the Porsche Taycan. And, according to the World Car of the Year jury, they should be. The all-electric performance car delivers on athleticism and handling, two top priorities for Porsche buyers.

2020 World Urban Car of the Year - Kia Soul

2020 Kia SoulPhoto courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Soul was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It has a sleek new front end but maintains its characteristic boxiness. It's easy handling and small size make it ideal for urban environments.

2020 World Performance Car of the Year: Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The Taycan double dipped, which shows its strength in a market that is growing increasingly comfortable with all-electric cars. This despite the fact that a recent Ford survey found that over one-third of respondents globally had no interest in owning one.

2020 World Car Design of the Year - Mazda Mazda3

2020 Mazda Mazda3Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The 2020 Mazda Mazda3 is a top-to-bottom redesign of popular model. It's a freshly sleek and stylish take on the car that is known for its athletic handling and well-appointed interior.

Trending News

 
 

The CX-5's styling is sharp and clean.

Mazda

Crossovers have clearly become the family vehicle of choice. Minivans and large sedans are far less common than they used to be as buyers opt for the relative plushness and more generous space offered by utility vehicles. That's not a bad thing, but many people will find the increasing levels of sameness in the crossover market to be off-putting.

Thankfully, Mazda is here to help keep things interesting. Its CX-5 takes a different approach than its rivals. Where vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V focus on comfort and efficiency over almost everything else, Mazda managed to jam in loads of vehicle feedback and engagement. Behind the wheel, the crossover feels and sounds much more alive and responsive than its competition. Jumping out of a larger vehicle and into the CX-5 felt like a shock at first, as the Mazda's steering wheel delivers real, actual feedback and transmits a picture of what's going on underneath the vehicle, which is something not often seen outside of expensive performance vehicles.


2021 Mazda CX-5 The CX-5's cabin is more upscale than its rivals. Mazda


Engaging Powertrains

The CX-5's base four-cylinder engine is fine, but the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is where things start to get interesting. It bumps the standard mill's 187 horsepower to 250 and gives off a pleasing turbo whine under heavy throttle. It pairs almost perfectly with the six-speed automatic transmission and delivers surprising power and torque. My test vehicle's all-wheel drive gave the CX-5 a surefooted feel, and from experience I can say that it's worth the added cost if you live anywhere with legitimate winter weather.

There are a few tradeoffs that come along with the CX-5's level of driver engagement, largely related to interior space and noise levels. While the Mazda's cabin is comfortable and is in no way low-rent, a great deal of wind, road, and drivetrain noise make their way into the vehicle at all times. You could argue that this is just another expression of the CX-5's connection with its driver, and you'd be right in some cases. At many times, however, such as when taking the kids to school or just running to the grocery store, it gets tiresome. Your five-year-old won't care about how good the steering feel is when they have to keep asking you to crank up the volume on their podcast story. The noise level is most noticeable around town with the constant stop and go of traffic.

The other main drawback with the CX-5, at least for families (like mine) that don't travel lightly, is interior space. Thanks to its curves and beautifully sloped roof, the Mazda's cargo hold is not as spacious as some of its rivals, such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda CR-V, or Toyota RAV4. That dramatic shape also makes the rear seat feel tighter than it reads on paper, but thanks to a friendly ride height and large rear door openings, parents will have no issues with loading kids in car seats.


2021 Mazda CX-5 A sloping roofline can make rear-seat headroom challenging for taller people.Mazda


Great Tech and Safety

Mazda bumped the CX-5's infotainment screen size from 7.0 to 10.3 inches across the board for 2021, but there's no touchscreen here. Instead, the system is controlled using a rotary dial and volume know that are mounted behind the gear shifter in the center console. It's a responsive and fairly straightforward process to use and control the system, but scrolling through long menus or trying to wade through several options using the rotary controller becomes tiresome and distracting at times.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 was named a Top Safety Pick + by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That award is due in part to the crossover's excellent performance in crash tests, but also comes thanks to its long list of standard advanced driver aids. All models get a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings with lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, a smart brake support system, and high beam control. My top trim tester also got a driver attention alert system, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree monitor.

It's hard to ignore the quality, value, and fun that the CX-5 brings to the table, even considering how good its competitors have gotten. With a price tag that maxes out under $40,000, the Mazda's driving experience and plush interior should put it at the top of shoppers' lists. Its few drawbacks don't spoil the overall package, and only really present a problem for families of four or more – like mine. Those people, myself included, should be shopping for a slightly larger vehicle, anyway, and for them, there's the Mazda CX-9.


2021 Mazda CX-5 The CX-5 is one of the most fun-to-drive crossovers on sale today.Mazda

Trending News

 
 

New appearance package

2022 Kia Stinger gets new Scorpion Package

The range-topping GT2 trim is available with a new Scorpion Package.

Kia

Passenger cars have been losing ground to SUVs and trucks in the United States for years, but that hasn't stopped some automakers from continuing to build compelling, fun-to-drive coupes and sedans. Kia is among them, and has just announced a new addition to its Stinger lineup for 2022. The fastback sedan will still offer blazing performance from either a turbocharged four-cylinder or twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine, but will also be available with a special edition package that adds unique exterior styling and interior trim pieces.


Kia Stinger GT2 with Scorpion Package The package includes exclusive wheels and exterior appearance changes.Kia


The Scorpion Special Edition will be limited to just 250 units per month and will only be available to customers in the United States. Kia says the package is expected to sell out quickly, and notes that it will be available for the Stinger GT2 RWD and AWD. The package will be offered in Snow White Pearl, Aurora Black, and Ceramic Silver paint colors.

The 2022 Stinger got several other meaningful updates to keep it fresh. They include a new LED exterior lighting scheme, geometric alloy wheels, and a sportier quad exhaust system. Kia also added a new GT-Line trim, which gets a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that make 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. The GT trim that can be equipped with the Scorpion package gets a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 that get a bump in power to 368 ponies and 375 pound-feet of torque. Power hits the rear or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.


Kia Stinger GT2 with Scorpion Package The Stinger GT2 is available with RWD or AWD.Kia


The Stinger can match its bark with some real bite, but it also happens to be a spacious, comfortable sedan with plenty to like inside. The car gets a standard 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a multi-device Bluetooth system, wireless charging, and more. The Scorpion Edition adds carbon fiber pattern trim pieces throughout the cabin.

The 2022 Kia Stinger is on sale now. The base GT-Line trim starts at $37,135, which includes a $1,045 destination charge. The Stinger GT1 starts at $44,735 and the GT2 trim starts at $52,335. Adding the Scorpion Package to the GT2 model bumps the price by $1,295.


Kia Stinger GT2 with Scorpion Package The Stinger got a new exhaust for 2022.Kia

Trending News