India bound cars make it to top 3 for WCOTY. Check details

india bound cars make it to top 3 for wcoty. check details

WCOTY jury has announced the top three finalists for this year which includes Kia EV9, BYD Seal and Volvo EX30.

The World Car Of the Year (WCOTY) jury has unveiled the top three finalists for 2024, and it’s noteworthy that two of these vehicles are set to make their debut in India this year. The finalists include the Kia EV9, BYD Seal, and Volvo EX30, announced at the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS). The winners will be revealed on March 27, 2024, at the 2024 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).

WCOTY is a highly anticipated event in the automotive world, with executives and leaders eagerly awaiting to see if their latest models make it to the finalist list. This prestigious award recognises the best new cars of the year, acknowledging the immense effort and investment that goes into developing and marketing these vehicles.

India bound cars make it to the list

Returning to the contenders, Kia’s EV9 emerges as the first one. Kia India has confirmed that this electric SUV will debut in India in 2024. The EV9 will mark Kia’s second electric vehicle after the EV6 and its initial foray into the realm of three-row electric vehicles. Kia is banking on the EV9 to capture a significant share, around 15 per cent, of the passenger EV segment in India, which is currently dominated by Tata Motors.

Built on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which also underpins the EV6, the EV9 boasts a length exceeding five metres, putting it in a similar league as its global SUV counterpart, the Telluride. It will be available in either six or seven-seat configurations, offered in two distinct variants: the HT Line and the GT Line.

Kia claims the EV9 will deliver a range of up to 541 kilometers on a single charge. With a 150 kW electric motor, the EV can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 9.4 seconds. For those seeking more power, the RWD version comes equipped with a 160 kW electric motor. The EV’s 800-volt electrical architecture enables ultra-fast charging, with Kia stating that the EV9 can achieve a range of 239 kilometers with just 15 minutes of charging.

The top-tier Kia EV9 GT-Line boasts level 3 ADAS, allowing for hands-free driving on highways through its highway driving pilot feature. Supported by 15 sensors placed strategically around the car, including two lidar, radar, and cameras, the EV offers a full 360-degree field of view.

Another candidate to make it to India: BYD Seal

The debut of BYD’s Seal at the 2023 Auto Expo marked the beginning of its journey. Confirmed for launch in the Indian market on March 5, 2024, the Seal will join BYD’s existing EV lineup in India, alongside the Atto 3 electric SUV and e6 electric MPV.

Already a contender in global markets, the BYD Seal stands tall with dimensions of 4,800 mm in length, 1,875 mm in width, and 1,460 mm in height. Built on the EV maker’s dedicated e-Platform 3.0, the Seal features BYD’s Blade battery technology, offering buyers two battery options.

One option includes a 61.4 kWh battery with a range of 550 kilometers on a single charge, while the larger 82.5 kWh unit boasts a range of up to 700 kilometers (CLTC). Fast charging is a breeze with the Seal, supporting speeds of up to 150 kW with the bigger pack, and up to 110 kW with the smaller pack.

Equipped with both single PMS and dual-motor options, the Indian variant of the BYD Seal will feature the more powerful dual-motor version, delivering a combined 523 bhp. Accelerating from 0-100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds, the Seal promises a premium driving experience with an expected price range of ₹65-70 lakh (ex-showroom, India).

Inspired by the Ocean X concept showcased in 2021, the BYD Seal’s design is a testament to its aerodynamic prowess, boasting a drag coefficient of just 0.21 cd. With crystal LED headlamps, boomerang-shaped LED DRLs, and full-width LED taillights, the Seal is a sight to behold. Inside, premium materials adorn the cabin, with a 15.6-inch rotating touchscreen infotainment system taking center stage, complemented by a 10.25-inch digital driver display. Additional features include a head-up display and two wireless charging pads, among others.

Volvo’s new entrant: EX30

Below the recently renamed EX40 and EC40 (formerly XC40 and C40 Recharge), the EX30 marks Volvo’s smallest SUV yet, available globally with single- and dual-motor options and two battery pack choices.

Volvo has confirmed plans to introduce two more electric vehicles in India by 2025. The EX30 will be available in India with two battery pack options. The base version features a single motor producing 272 hp, paired with a 51 kWh battery offering 344 km of range. An Extended Range variant with the same motor but a larger 69 kWh battery promises 480 km of range. The top-of-the-line Twin Motor Performance model boasts dual motors delivering 428 hp, accelerating from 0 to 100 kmph in just 3.4 seconds, making it Volvo’s quickest model ever. It offers 460 km of range on a single charge.

Volvo plans to import the EX30 to India as completely knocked-down (CKD) units, but the exact launch timeline remains undisclosed.

Eligibility criteria and selection process

To qualify, vehicles must be new or substantially redesigned, have a global presence, and be available for sale in more than two major markets across two or more continents in the 14 months leading up to March 2024. Votes are counted by KPMG, and the final results are kept confidential until announced at the New York Auto Show.

WCOTY specifies that eligible vehicles must be manufactured in volumes exceeding 10,000 units per year, priced below the luxury-car segment in their primary markets, and available for sale in at least two major markets (China, Europe, India, Japan, Korea, Latin America, USA) across two continents between January 1, 2023, and March 30, 2024.

Besides car of the year, the other finalists are:

  • Electric vehicle: BMW i5, Kia EV9, Volvo EX30
  • Luxury car: BMW 5 Series/i5, Mercedes Benz E-Class, Mercedes Benz EQE SUV
  • Performance car: BMW M2, BMW XM, Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
  • Urban car: BYD Dolphin, Lexus LBX, Volvo EX30
  • World Car Design: Ford Bronco, Ferrari Purosangue, Toyota Prius.

During the 2023 World Car of the Year (WCOTY) awards, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 emerged victorious, clinching the titles of best electric vehicle, best overall car, and best design of 2023.

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