Best Cars Of The Year 2023: Celebrity Judges Reveal Winners

  • Boasting world-renowned car designers and auto industry titans, Best Cars of the Year is like no other auto awards program
  • The Volkswagen ID. Buzz EV captures Best Car of the Year trophy
  • The voting process is a simple, democratic one judge one vote system at bestcarsoftheyear.com

A totally new style of car awards program was born on the last day of 2021. Called simply the Best Cars of the Year, these new World Car Championships are shaking the very foundations of current international awards programs, not just because of the way the judges vote, but because of who the judges are. 

The World Champion-winning VW ID. Buzz took inspiration from the VW Kombi popularized in the 60s.

Last week, the second running of the awards was announced with the brilliantly modern retro classic Volkswagen ID. Buzz 5-seater EV capturing the overall World Champion ‘Best Car’ trophy while the Toyota GR86 sports car came second and the Nissan Ariya electric SUV placed third. 

Hand-picked by British veteran motoring writer Mike Rutherford and yours truly, the judging panel is made up of world-renowned car designers and engineers, automotive industry titans, motorsport legends, TV personalities, journalists, and other media pros. 

Best Cars of the Year is a simple, fair and democratic, one judge one vote program that is as unique as it is unaffiliated and unbiased. Judges are merely required to pick their best three cars as they see fit. There are no binding rules like how many units have to be sold, or whether a car has to fall into a certain price bracket, or how many continents it must be sold on.

The electric Genesis GV60 is one reason why the brand won Best Car Company.

So when influential American designer Frank Stephenson, known for his inspirational work with Ferrari, BMW, Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Ford, and Maserati, and ex-Pininfarina design director Fabio Filippini, voted for Ferraris, we nodded and said thanks. Around the same time, former Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer was giving one of his votes to the tiny $10,000 Citroen Ami EV, while former Nissan design supremo Shiro Nakamura and ex-F1 and Le Mans racer Ukyo Katayama were voting for the latest Mercedes and Nissans. Meanwhile, car nuts and stars of the popular National Geographic’s ‘Car SOS’ TV series, Tim Shaw and Fuzz Townshend, voted at complete opposite ends of the spectrum, giving depth to the results. 

Hosts of National Geographic’s ‘Car SOS’ show, Fuzz Townshend and Tim Shaw, are judges.

Other judges include legendary F1 race car designer and creator of the McLaren F1 road car, Gordon Murray, who is as passionate about inexpensive Fiat 500-type cars as he is about the latest hypercars. And you can always rely on Britain’s multiple record-holding top stunt driver Paul Swift to go against the grain and vote for the latest off-road sensation or sports car. On the flip side, it was refreshing to see several veteran automotive journalists like Daily Mail motoring editor, Ray Massey, and Auto Express’s editor-in-chief, Steve Fowler both vote for Chinese cars like the MG4 and BYD Atto 3. One unique aspect of these New Car World Championships is the public vote—in which members of the public have a small but influential say in the voting by logging onto the bestcarsoftheyear.com site and voting for their favorite car.

Toyota’s GR86 won Best Affordable Sports Car.

But at the end of the day, it was the VW ID. Buzz EV which scored the most votes to win the Best Car of the Year, while the relatively new kid on the block and internationally lauded luxury Korean brand Genesis received multiple votes to give it the Best Car Company of the Year, beating its older, wealthier siblings in Hyundai and Kia. In other categories, the Toyota GR86 sports car picked up the Best Affordable Sports Car award, the Chinese-made MG4 took out the Best Affordable EV, the Citroen Ami EV captured the Best Quadricycle, the 7-seater Dacia Jogger won the Best Bargain Car award and the VW ID. Buzz Cargo picked up the Best LCV award. 

OUR THOUGHTS

While VW, Toyota, Citroen, MG, Dacia, and Genesis were picking up awards, many other industry-leading carmakers were conspicuously absent from the voting process. In fact, several leading premium car companies failed to scoop up even one vote from a single judge, while relative newcomers like BYD were receiving high praise. Given the effort and investment, they’re no doubt putting into their design and production processes, especially for the ongoing electrification strategies, it would seem as though their public relations and marketing sections are not quite reaching the pulse of our judging panel. And that in itself is cause for concern.

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