The Kia EV9 at the 2024 World Car Awards.

All the Winners From the 2024 World Car Awards

The 2024 World Car Awards took place at the New York International Auto Show on 27 March, recognising the very best in automotive design and engineering. It’s no surprise that electric vehicles (EVs) stole the show, scooping up several high-profile awards.

At Drive South Africa, we want to keep you updated with the latest motoring news. We’ve put together a quick recap of the 2024 World Car Awards. Read on to discover all the winners, including the 2024 World Car Person of the Year.

What are the World Car Awards?

For 20 years, the World Car Awards have recognised the finest production vehicles from around the globe. This year, more than 100 global jurors from 29 countries selected the winners by secret ballot.

Vehicles eligible for World Car of the Year must:

  • Be produced in volumes of at least 10,000 units per year
  • Be priced below the luxury-car level in their primary markets
  • Be “on-sale” in at least two major markets (China, Europe, India, Japan, Korea, Latin America, USA) on at least two separate continents at some time within the period January 1, 2023 and March 30, 2024

The criteria differ slightly for other categories, but it all comes down to the quality of the product.

2024 World Car of the Year: Kia EV9

The 2024 World Car of the Year, the Kia EV9

The Kia EV9 at the 2024 World Car Awards

The Kia EV9 isn’t just the 2024 World Car of the Year – it’s also the 2024 World Electric Vehicle of the Year. Kia has now won a total of five awards throughout the event’s 20 year history. 

The EV9 is a fully-electric SUV with dual-motor all-wheel-drive, self-levelling rear suspension, and an incredible towing capacity of more than 2,200 kg. Kia says it can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds, making it quicker off the line than both the 2023 Mercedes EQS SUV and 2023 Land Rover Range Rover P400 3-Row.

It’s unclear whether Kia will launch it in South Africa.

2024 World Luxury Car of the Year: BMW 5 Series / i5

The BMW 5 Series on a tar road.

The brand new BMW 5 Series

The BMW 5 Series is a stalwart of the luxury car segment. Now in its eighth generation, the lineup now includes the i5, a fully-electric variant. At some stage, BMW will likely unveil an M5 performance variant, as well.

You might have already seen the new BMW 5 Series on South African roads. Local customers have a choice of two variants: the BMW 520d, a diesel model that produces 153 kW of power, and the i5 M60, which packs a whopping 442 kW with a range of up to 516 km.

2024 World Performance Car of the Year: Hyundai IONIQ 5 N

The Hyundai IONIQ 5 N performance car in a warehouse.

Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 N performance car

Hyundai continues to lead the way in terms of what a modern hot hatch should look like. It’s no surprise, then, that the IONIQ 5 N – also the reigning Top Gear Car of the Year – is the 2024 World Performance Car of the Year. 

This is the first all-electric model in Hyundai’s N performance lineup, promising cutting-edge EV technology and full-blown racetrack capability. With all-wheel drive, it lets you corner and drift to your heart’s content.

Despite what petrol purist naysayers might believe, this EV performance car is no compromise. Instead, it’s a bonafide electric rocket that blasts from 0-100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds! In terms of practicality, it can charge from 10% to 80% in as little as 18 minutes, provided you use the right power source. This is a genuine everyday sports car.

2024 World Urban Car of the Year: Volvo EX30

The Volvo EX30 on a country road.

The Volvo EX30

In South Africa, the EV conversation still revolves around electricity supply issues and practicality. However, car manufacturers continue to refine their EV models – whether we’re ready for them or not. Volvo calls the EX30 SUV “a perfect car for today’s marketplace”, and motoring journalists agree, naming it the 2024 World Urban Car of the Year.

The EX30 is Volvo’s smallest ever SUV, but it packs wallopping performance and an electric range of up to 480 km. Buyers benefit from some truly awesome standard features like collision avoidance systems, a 360° camera, and the Park Pilot Assist system, which can literally parallel park the car for you.

Other urban-friendly features include a 12.3 inch tablet that serves as the dashboard and centre display, app integration, and a wireless phone charger.

2024 World Car Design of the Year: Toyota Prius

The 2024 Toyota Prius at sunrise.

The 2024 Toyota Prius

Over its 26 year history, the Toyota Prius has certainly divided opinion. However, we can’t deny the impact it’s had on hybrid vehicle technology and perceptions. While people continue to associate the second and third-generation Prius with Hollywood eco-warriors, the latest iteration is so beautiful that it is the 2024 World Car Design of the Year.

Toyota calls it “tomorrow’s hybrid, today” and it’s certainly futuristic both inside and out. In fact, it’s probably one of the best-looking cars Toyota has ever produced. It features a fixed glass roof, plush interior, and 19 inch alloy wheels, plus a suite of technological tools.

Under the bonnet, it still pairs a 2.0 l petrol engine with the Hybrid Synergy Drive system, but it’s anything but boring to drive. Toyota South Africa will likely introduce it later this year.

2024 World Car Person of the Year: Adrian Newey, OBE, Red Bull Racing

The Red Bull Racing headquarters in Austria.

The Red Bull Technology Factory in Milton Keynes, England

Last, but not least, the 2024 World Car Awards has recognised an individual “who has made a significant contribution to the global automotive industry during the previous calendar year”. As a result of his incredible achievements as Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing, Adrian Newey, OBE is the 2024 World Car Person of the Year.

Newey has enjoyed a long and decorated stint in Formula One, but jurors say he’s now “at the absolute peak of his spectacular career”. He designed the RB19, officially the most dominant car in the history of Formula One – the same one that Max Verstappen put to work winning 21 of 22 races in 2023.

The other nominees were:

  • Stephan Durach, Senior Vice President Connected Company Development, BMW Group
  • Andreas Preuninger, Director GT model line, Porsche AG
  • C.V. Raman, Chief Technology Officer, Maruti-Suzuki
  • Lisa Reeves, Head of Interior Design, Volvo Cars

Get Behind the Wheel with Drive South Africa

As the automotive industry  continues to chase perfection, we’re as committed as ever to putting customers behind the wheel of some of the best cars in the world. Drive South Africa is Africa’s leading car rental service – we offer everything from luxury car hire in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban to 4×4 rental throughout southern Africa.

Ready to rent a car with us? Speak to one of our expert agents today.

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