Even as it just begins rolling into showrooms around the globe, the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 6 clearly scored with the jurors handing out the 2023 World Car of the Year awards. Dubbed the “Electric Streamliner” inside the South Korean company, it nabbed three of the six trophies handed out at this year’s New York International Auto Show.
Equally significant was the fact two other battery-electric vehicles rose to the top for World Car jurors. This marks the second year in a row in which BEVs took wins in five of the six categories announced at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center.
And it reflects the growing appeal of BEVs as a wave of new products come to market around the world. All-electric models have dominated recent award programs, including the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards handed out in January.
The honors handed out this week were particularly significant for Hyundai, which took not only took home World Car of the Year honors for the new Ioniq 6 sedan, but awards for World Electric Vehicle of the Year and Car Design of the Year.
The battery-electric sedan was one of 21 initial contenders for World Car of the Year, a list that included a number of other new BEVs, such as the luxurious BMW i7 and Lucid Air.
Ioniq 6 boasts a distinctive shape that essentially curves from front to rear bumpers to minimize wind drag, according to SangYup Lee, head of design for the Hyundai Motor Group. “The daring streamliner styling combines strong emotional appeal with aerodynamic efficiency to give exceptional range.”
Lee was also named World Car’s 2023 Person of the Year.
Repeat win for Hyundai
Ioniq 6 is the second model Hyundai has launched using the dedicated E-GMP BEV platform. The first, the Ioniq 5, was named World Car of the Year in 2022.
“We are thrilled to receive this prestigious honor two years in a row, which recognizes the tremendous talents and unrelenting efforts of everyone at Hyundai Motor Co. to bring EVs like Ioniq 6 to market,” said Hyundai Motor Co. President and CEO Jaehoon Chang.
The E-GMP platform underpinned another one of this year’s World Car winners. The Kia EV6 GT was named World Performance Car, overwhelming a list of competitors that included some high-end brands better known for delivering serious muscle. The GT is a 576-horsepower take on the original Kia EV6 line-up that already has won numerous industry awards, among other things being named North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.
The third BEV to be honored by World Car jurors in New York is the Lucid Air, the first market entry by U.S. startup Lucid Motors. Named World Luxury Car of the Year, it is not only one of the most powerful electric vehicles on the market but currently holds the record on range, the Dream Range version delivering more than 500 miles per charge, according to the EPA.
Victory for a struggling startup
The Air sedan went up against a number of products from better-established brands, such as Land Rover’s newly redesigned Range Rover, as well as yet another entry from the Hyundai Motor Group, its flagship Genesis G90.
“The idea that starting a new car company from nothing, it is not for the faint hearted. That makes this moment incredibly sweet,” said Lucid’s design chief Derek Jenkins.
The only World Car winner to rely on a conventional internal combustion engine this year is the little Citroen C3, the victor in the Urban Car of the Year category. The winners of the World Car awards were chosen by 100 automotive journalists based in 32 countries on every continent but Antarctica. To qualify for this year’s trophies, vehicles had to be available on two continents and two major markets between January 2022 and March 2023.