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Hyundai i20 wins ICOTY 2021; Tata Nexon EV crowned Green Car

S Muralidhar | Updated on March 04, 2021

The Tata Nexon EV won the inaugural Green Car award.

Making it to the final lap: The Tata Nexon EV won the inaugural Green Car award. This year’s award ceremony was held in a secure environment in view of Covid. Guests were offered sanitised spaces and urged to follow social distancing norms

Notwithstanding the pandemic, the Indian automobile market’s diversity shone through the lens of cars that made the shortlist for 2021 awards

The year 2020 would be considered very forgettable by the automobile industry. Or is it? Maybe, it’ll be remembered for testing the industry’s resilience and helping it come out stronger. Maybe, eventually, the rise in need for personal mobility will result in higher car and bike sales in the long term. And maybe the experience gained will help the industry handle a similar crisis if it did strike the industry in the future.

But, looking back at 2020 and the difficult months in between, including a historic month of zero sales, it is quite surprising to see that the automobile industry still managed to stick to its calendar of launches. Yes, there were delays and postponements, but as the year came to an end, most of the planned premieres had been done. To understand the return to normalcy, all one needs to do is look at the shortlists for the Indian Car of the Year 2021, the 16th edition of the awards.

The ICOTY is the most credible and truly independently adjudged automotive award in India, with the most diverse and experienced jury too. It has been a bellwether of the automobile industry, reflecting the growing complexity and maturity of the passenger car market. And if there were any doubts about the year of the pandemic leading to a drought of contenders, they were summarily dismissed by the time the award’s shortlist was made. But yes, the jury round and the award ceremony had to be deferred due to the delay in return to normalcy. Instead of the usual ICOTY calendar, the dates had to be pushed to February 2021 instead of December 2020. Interestingly though, this year’s edition of the awards witnessed the addition of a Green Car award by ICOTY.

Long shortlist

The stipulated November 30 cut-off date for making the shortlist meant that a couple of interesting new cars couldn’t make it to the final shortlist for the ICOTY 2021 and the Premium Car award by ICOTY. And yet, the number of cars that made it to the final shortlist represented a diverse cross section of the industry and its categories.

The contenders for the Indian Car of the Year 2021 were Honda City, Hyundai Aura, Hyundai Creta, Kia Sonet, Mahindra Thar, Kia Carnival, MG Gloster, Tata Altroz and the Hyundai i20. So, there were four SUVs, two sedans, two hatchbacks and one MPV in the final list. Reflecting the growing appetite for the SUVs, this body style dominated the 2021 award shortlist. But, the winner with 104 points was the new Hyundai i20, a premium hatch that has already made its presence felt in the small car market. The runners-up were the Kia Sonet with 91 points and the new Mahindra Thar with 78 points.

In 2019, in recognition of the growing demand for luxury cars in the country, the ICOTY jury introduced the Premium Car Award. In its second edition, the contenders for the Premium Car award by ICOTY included the Audi Q8, A2 and A8, the Mercedes-Benz GLE, GLS and AMG GT 4-Door, the Lexus LC 500h, the Land Rover Defender, the BMW 2 Series and 8 Series, and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. The winner was the Land Rover Defender with 108 points and the runners-up were the Mercedes-Benz GLE with 77 points and the BMW 2 Series with 61 points.

EVs are the flavour currently and with the impending entry of Tesla into India, battery electric vehicles and hybrids have come into the limelight. Remarkably, despite 2020 being a difficult year, there were enough shortlisted new launches to institute the Green Car award by ICOTY. So, the inaugural Green Car award contenders list included the Hyundai Kona, the Lexus ES 300h, Mercedes-Benz EQC, the Tata Nexon EV, the MG ZS EV and the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

The winner was the Tata Nexon EV with 106 points, and the runners-up were the Hyundai Kona with 99 points and the MG ZS EV with 93 points.

Introduced in 2005, the ICOTY is the most prestigious award in the Indian Automobile Industry. Adjudged by a panel of domain experts from the motoring fraternity in India, ICOTY and its two sub-category awards are adjudged based on an evaluation of these cars on various key parameters, such as price, fuel efficiency, styling, comfort, safety, performance, practicality, technical innovation, value for money, and suitability. JK Tyre has been the event sponsor for the awards since the inception of the awards. And Grant Thornton Bharat is the Validation Partner.

The awards were presented by Dr Raghupati Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. This year’s award ceremony, like the previous 15 editions too, was sponsored by JK Tyre, though given the unprecedented conditions created by Covid-19, it was organised in a strictly secure environment. Guests were offered sanitised spaces and urged to adhere to social distancing norms.

Experienced jury

The jury members of ICOTY represent a wide swathe of publications in the print, TV and electronic space. The publication partners include Auto Today, AutoX, Car India, Evo India, Motoring World, Overdrive and BusinessLine. A total of 13 jury members from these publications and another four independent jurors bring nearly 300 years of car evaluation and testing experience into the ICOTY jury.

The voting process is clearly defined and the ICOTY constitution lays the foundation with the necessary rules to ensure that a fair evaluation is done. Each jury member has to vote for a minimum of five contenders from the final shortlist and can only distribute a total of 25 points amongst the cars being voted for. The maximum points that can be awarded for a single contender is 10 points. And the juror must pick only one clear winner that gets the maximum number of points. The voting process is based on European Car of the Year. The ICOTY awards’ final count and authenticity is validated by Grant Thornton Bharat.

Published on March 04, 2021

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