Following the announcement of the World Green Car at the New York Auto Show last month, World Car of the Year awards were handed out in a number of other categories, including World Design of the Year, World Performance Car, and the overall Car of the Year.
Top honors went to the Mazda2 (above), which was selected as the 2008 Car of the Year by a panel of 47 automotive journalists, out of an initial field of 39 entries. Completely redesigned for 2008, the Mazda2 made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show, and initially will be sold in the United Kingdom and Europe, as well as in Japan, where it’s known as the Mazda Demio. According to reports, the Mazda2 will be available in the U.S. in 2009 with some minor tweaking, although it will be rebadged as the Ford Fiesta.
The Mazda2 supermini car, similar in size to such cars as the Toyota Yaris, features a sporty, aerodynamic exterior design, a three-spoke steering wheel, white instrument gauges, and an all-new center console. It’s powered by 1.3-liter and 1.5-liter gas engines, as well as a turbocharged diesel, although U.S. powerplants have yet to be determined. The lightweight five-door hatchback has been designed to handle nimbly in traffic, thanks to electric power-assisted power steering and a short-throw gear shift. And despite its compact size, the Mazda provides plenty of storage spaces inside for all types of gear. Two trims are currently available — the TS2 and the Sport.
While the 2008 Audi R8 (above) didn’t take top honors, it was singled out by the awards committee as the World Design of the Year, as well as the World Performance Car of the Year. Not bad for a consolation prize.
Organized and conducted by automotive journalists from around the world, the World Car of the Year awards is a non-profit, non-affiliated program designed to select the world’s top cars using objective criteria. For more information, visit the World Car of the Year’s website at www.wcoty.com.
Would you consider buying a Mazda2…er, a Ford Fiesta?