Volvo beat off some tough competition to take the top prize at the region’s premier car awards in Abu Dhabi.
Volvo triumphed at the Middle East Car of the Year (MECOTY) in Abu Dhabi. The Swedish manufacturer’s XC60 was awarded both the overall Car of the Year (COTY) and Midsize Premium SUV. Meanwhile, Volvo’s other entrant, the freshly launched XC40, won the Small Premium SUV award.
The XC60’s victory stands as a ringing endorsement as Volvo pitches its stall more decidedly in the highly competitive and German-dominated premium car market, and as a recent returnee to the Jordanian market. Winner of last year’s MECOTY award and missing out only to Volvo this year, Audi meanwhile scored three wins out of five entries, including the best Sports Coupe and Premium Sports Coupe categories for the Audi TT RS and S5, respectively.
However, Audi’s highlight this year had to be the RS3 Sedan, which both beat the much-heralded Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio for the Small Performance Sedan award and scored a runner-up position for the top COTY award, alongside the Range Rover Velar. Having been overshadowed by nearly across the board Audi victories last year, Mercedes-Benz made a better showing this year, and also racked up three category awards for the S-Class, AMG GT and E200 Cabrio over the Lincoln Continental, Lexus LC500 and Jaguar F-Type 2.0.
A perennial performer at MECOTY, Ford fielded a strong line-up and was rewarded with best Truck and Performance Coupe awards for the F150 Raptor SVT and Mustang GT350 Shelby. Ford’s Lincoln luxury sub-brand meanwhile scored an upset against the BMW 5-Series for the Midsize Executive Sedan segment, which was echoed by similar upsets with the Volkswagen Arteon usurping the Porsche Panamera as best Large Executive Sedan, and the Maserati Levante missing out on the Best Midsize Luxury SUV honor in lieu of the Range Rover Velar.
Also unexpected was Nissan and its Inifiniti premium brand narrowly missing out on any wins, despite a competitive number of nominees in various categories. Volkswagen meanwhile won the Performance Hatchback category for the second year running, this with the revised and thoroughly well-rounded Golf GTI over the Infiniti Q30. Meanwhile Lamborghini scored a highly deserved and long overdue victory in the best Supercar category, with the Huracan Performante beating three-time winning British manufacturer McLaren’s 720S nominee.
MECOTY’s test drive scoring system is conducted by a 15-member jury panel of specialized print, online and TV motoring journalists and media representing the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. Competing for 23-categories and an overall Car of the Year (COTY) award, nominated cars include the best recently launched and eligible cars. Meanwhile, a non-jury vox pop Public Car of the Year honor is also awarded for the innovative Peugeot 3008.
Middle East Car of the Year & Best Midsize Premium SUV: Volvo XC60
Among the latest in an accomplished, innovative and aggressive product strategy that pits the Swedish manufacturer firmly in the premium segment, the Volvo XC60 is more than just a stylishly designed mid-size SUV. Powered by a range of efficient and capable 2-liter four-cylinder engines and loaded with high tech driver assistance and semi-autonomous systems for comfort and safety, the XC60 also boasts an exquisitely designed and finished cabin that is a master class in its segment.
Best Small Performance Sedan & Middle East Car of the Year runner-up: Audi RS3 Sedan
Devastatingly quick yet practical and agile, the Audi RS3 is a revival of the small, fast saloon segment. It is powered by a burbling and potent 5-cylinder engine driving all four wheels, and is understated yet urgent in design, and agile yet committed dynamically.
Best Supercar: Lamborghini Huracan Performante
A more focused interpretation of the Raging Bull’s scintillating Huracan supercar, the visually arresting Performante sheds weight, adds power and both revised calibrations and an innovative active aerodynamic system. Already channeling its naturally-aspirated V10 fury to all four wheels, the Huracan Performante’s active aero kit meanwhile is nothing short of engineering witchcraft that selectively directs air for added agility, grip and performance.
Public Car of the Year (non-jury): Peugeot 3008
Competing in a crowded segment, the Peugeot 3008 is an agile and comfortable compact SUV with perky yet efficient performance, spacious cabin and stylish design inside and out. More so, it is an innovative and sensible front-wheel-drive vehicle with clever electronic off-road driving aids and posh big car features including massaging leather seats, scented ventilation, optional real wood trim, and a high tech configurable cockpit-like digital instrument panel.