BEHIND THE WHEEL: Women’s Choices for Best of Cars for 2017


By Rita Cook

I am going to interrupt my regular column this week to give readers a rundown of what women from around the world are looking for when it comes to “Best of” vehicles. As the lone juror from the United States on this panel of female jurors from Women’s World Car of the Year here is what the collective female voices voted as the cars that deserve a shout out in 2017.

The Supreme Winner was the Hyundai Ioniq. This was a clear winner. All three models in the range were considered and treated as one car for voting purposes – the Ioniq EV, Ioniq Hybrid and PHEV Plug-in Hybrid. The runner-up was the Mazda CX-5.

CEO, Women’s World Car of the Year, Sandy Myhre (New Zealand) said “The car that wins the Supreme award has gone through a rigorous test by 25 judges from 20 different countries who are on the panel of Women’s World Car of the Year. “It’s a democratic process and cars that have won categories and the supreme winner really have to stand out.”

The Family Car Winner went to the Mazda CX5. This was an exceptionally close vote between the Mazda CX5 and the Hyundai i30. In fact, the Mazda CX-5 was nominated consistently in two categories – the Family Car category and the SUV/Crossover category.

BMW 5 Series

For the Budget Car this year it was the Ford Fiesta. This segment was very clear with the Ford Fiesta ahead of the Kia Rio by several points and the Citroen C3 coming in at third place.

For the Green Car category, the Hyundai Ioniq – EV, Hybrid, PHEV took that honor too. The Korean car was a clear winner ahead of the Toyota Prius Pug-in Hybrid. The Toyota Prius and the Kia Niro were almost equal until the last votes were counted.

For the SUV/Crossover category the winner was the Peugeot 3008. The Peugeot 3008 convincingly won over the Mazda CX-5 which, in fact, did well to rate so highly in three categories. The third vote was the Volvo XC60.

In the Luxury Car category that honor went to the BMW 5 Series. There was no question here, the BMW 5 Series scored consistently highly and ahead of the Volvo S90 with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class in third place.

Honda Civic Type R

For the Performance Car it was the Honda Civic Type R. This segment was fairly close between the Honda and the Mazda MX5 RF, which was runner-up. The third place went to the BMW M2 Coupe.

The Holly Reich Dream Car Award, dedicated to the memory of Holly Reich, a member of the judging panel from New York, who passed away in October 2016 was awarded to the McLaren 720S. This car was a clear winner over other contenders and, in fact, it’s not the first time a McLaren has won the award. The McLaren 570S won the same award in 2016.

McLaren 720S

The 25 judges nominate their preferences. This year 420 cars were on the first nomination list, whittled down to the top 60.   Judges then voted on those cars by allocating points. Voting is by secret ballot and audited by international accountancy company Grant Thornton from their Auckland (NZ) office.

Director, Paul Kane from the accounting company said voting is not always predictable.

“This year, the Hyundai Ioniq was a standout. It’s always a tight competition, but there were a couple of cars that were ahead of the others in their category, notably, the Ford Fiesta and the BMW 5 Series.”


Autojudge Awards

At the recent SEMA show in Las Vegas the AutoJudge Awards for Automobiles, SUVs, and Pickup Truck were named and I had the honor of sitting on the judging panel for the fourth year. Sponsored by the Texas Automotive Media Association (TAMA), the awards presentation was held October 30.

“AutoJudge was conceived twelve years ago and is the first national award of the incoming auto show season,” said Texas Automotive Media Association President Marlon Hanson. “It is announced at the largest automotive and aftermarket event in the country, SEMA. Selecting the very best gets more difficult every year.”

There were five female and 12 males on the 2017 Judges panel for AutoJudge.

The winners included:

  • Alternative Powertrain:  Nissan Leaf
  • Compact Vehicle:  Mazda Miata MX-5
  • Family Car: Toyota Camry
  • Full Size Sedan: Chrysler 300
  • Luxury Car: Genesis G90
  • Van/Wagon: Chrysler Pacifica
  • Full Size Truck: RAM 1500
  • Mid Size Truck: Honda Ridgeline
  • Compact SUV: Nissan Rogue
  • Full-Size SUV: Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Sports Car: Dodge Challenger
  • SUV of the Year: Volvo XC90
  • Truck of the Year: RAM 1500
  • Car of the Year: Genesis G90
  • Woman’s Choice: Volvo XC60

For more auto tips and information follow Rita @RitaCook13.