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NY Auto Show: World Car Awards highlight EVs, Kia, and coming China wave

NY Auto Show: World Car Awards highlight EVs, Kia, and coming China wave

New York — Electric vehicles may be sitting on dealer lots, but awards competitions love them.

EVs swept five of the six categories — including the Kia EV9 as World Car of the Year — in the prestigious, 20th annual, 2024 World Car Awards, judged by 100 jurors from international media outlets. Announced at the New York International Auto Show Wednesday, the awards also trumpeted the coming wave of Chinese EVs as the BYD Co. Ltd.’s Seal and Dolphin were finalists in two of the award categories.

Only one Detroit model made the finalist list — Ford Bronco in the World Car Design of the Year category. Other winners included the BMW i5/5-series for World Luxury Car while the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N stunned as World Performance Car over the BMW M2 and BMW XM.

It’s the second World Car of the Year title for Kia — the EV9’s gas-powered sibling, the Telluride, won in 2020. Unlike the Telluride, which is only sold in North America, EV9 is a global model and the first three-row SUV sold in the United States. It squeaked by the Volvo EX30, the Swedish brand’s most affordable EV, for World Car of the Year by 809 points to 804, with the Seal finishing third with 774 votes.

BYD’s Seal is not so distant in the industry’s rear-view mirror, however. The compact sedan is already sold outside of China in Europe and South America and could be knocking on North America’s doors soon. Not surprisingly, a Seal was not available to display in New York for the awards, leaving a poster in its place next to its EV9 and EV30 competitors.

The EX30 will go on sale in the United States later in 2024 while the EV9 has been on sale since last year. At $56,395, the EV9 costs about $20,000 more than the similarly-sized, gas Teluride. The EV9 also captured the North American Utility Vehicle Vehicle of the Year prize earlier this year in Detroit.

The EV9 also won for World Electric Vehicle (the organization does not have a category for any other drivetrain) beating the Volvo and BMW i5.

In World Performance Car,Hyundai beats BMW.

In perhaps the biggest eye-opener, Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 N hot hatch — the brand’s first electric performance car — won World Performance Car over the BMW M2 and electric XM SUV. Not just won, but thumped the Bimmers with 823 points to 764 (M2) and 743 (XM).

BMW’s M badge has set the standard for production performance for decades — inspiring performance sub-brands like Hyundai’s N line. The 641-horsepower Ioniq 5 N beats both Bimmers to 60 mph (3.1 seconds) and has nearly as much grunt as the 664-horse XM SUV. However, it also begs a sticker price of $68,050 – on par with the BMW M2. That’s a lot of coins for a Hyundai.

BMW, which has abandoned auto shows like the one here in Manhattan’s Javits Center, rebounded to win World Luxury Car with its 5-series models — including the electric i5 sedan. Mercedes-Benz finished second and third with its gas-powered Mercedes E-Class and electric EQE SUV, respectively.

Chinas’ BYD also was a finalist for World Urban Car with its tiny Dolphin. The wee car lost to the too-small-for the-U.S.-market, 3-cylinder Lexus LBX and winning Volvo EX30 EV.

World Luxury Car: BMW i5 beats Mercedes E-Class, Mercedes EQS.

World Car Design of the Year featured the most eclectic finalists with the V12-powered, $400k Ferrari Purosangue SUV squaring off against the off-road-focused Ford Bronco SUV and hybrid Toyota Prius.

The winner? Toyota Prius.

“Imagine the Prius beating a Ferrari and a Bronco,” said Prius Chief Engineer Yasushi Ueda on accepting the award. “What a strange world we live in.”

World Car Awards have the world’s largest media reach with its jurors representing forty-seven top global markets and a global audience of 315 million.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at or Twitter @HenryEPayne.