Kia Motors’ Telluride large SUV was named as the World Car of the Year this year, a feat no Korean brand has achieved so far.
Along with the Telluride, Kia Motors scored a double at the prestigious award, with its Soul electric vehicle (EV) winning in the World Urban Car category.
The Telluride beat out the other finalists, the Mazda CX-30 SUV and the Mazda 3, among 29 vehicles submitted for this year’s award, according to the World Car Awards (WCA).
The WCA was launched in 2004 and has been naming top cars of the year based on evaluations by an international jury comprising 86 prominent automotive journalists from 24 countries around the world. Each juror is appointed by the World Car Steering Committee on the basis of their expertise, experience, credibility, and influence according to the WCA.
The WCA is one of the most prominent vehicle awards in the world along with the North American Car and Truck of the Year and the European Car of the Year. The WCA has been announcing winning vehicles at the New York International Auto Show every year, but it awarded vehicles this year through a streamed ceremony after the motor show was rescheduled to August.
The seven-seat Telluride is a U.S. exclusive model, produced by a Kia plant in Georgia. From its debut in February last year to last month, 75,430 have been sold. In January, the Telluride also won the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.
The Soul EV beat the Mini Cooper SE and the Volkswagen T-Cross to win World Urban Car of the Year. According to the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test, the Soul EV can travel 452 kilometers on a single charge.
This is the first time for a Korean brand to win awards at the WCA. Last year, the Kia Soul and the Hyundai Nexo fuel cell EV made it to the three-model finals in the World Urban Car and World Green Car categories, respectively, but failed to win.
“Everyone at Kia is truly honored to receive not just one, but two awards from the WCA judging panel,” Kia Motors Executive Vice President Thomas Schemera said.
“This is one of the hardest-fought competitions in the global automotive industry, proving that the Telluride and Soul EV are both truly outstanding vehicles. These accolades are testament to the talents and efforts of a worldwide team, who all strive to create desirable, high-quality and practical cars that drivers love.”
The Jaguar I-PACE EV won the top award last year, following the Volvo XC60 in 2018, the Jaguar F-PACE in 2017 and the Mazda MX-5 in 2016.