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Volvo victorious again at Middle East Car of the Year awards

By Ghaith Madadha - Apr 09,2018 - Last updated at Apr 09,2018

Photo courtesy of Volvo

Securing victory for a second time since the annual Middle East Car of the Year (MECOTY) awards were established five years ago, Sweden’s Volvo XC60 SUV took both the top jury Car of the Year award and the best Midsize Premium SUV category prizes. The second Volvo SUV to claim top honours after the XC90’s 2016 win, the 2018 MECOTY awards ceremony was Volvo’s night, with the brand’s other nominee, the recently launched XC40, also taking home the best Small Premium SUV.

After gruelling nomination and voting stages based on a ten-criteria scoring process vindicating the Volvo XC60’s victory, runners-up for top honours were the Audi RS3 Sedan and Range Rover Velar. Alsos winning the best Small Performance Sedan over the much touted Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, the RS3 Sedan was joined by the Audi TT RS and S5, which respectively won the best Sports Coupe and Premium Sports Coupe categories. Last year’s winning brand, Audi missing out only against the Volvos this year, scoring three wins of five entries.

With a poor showing compared to fellow German rival Audi’s overwhelming trophy count last year, Mercedes-Benz also secured three category wins this year for the S-Class, AMG GT and E200 Cabrio models, against the Lincoln Continental, Lexus LC500 and Jaguar F-Type 2.0 in their respective categories. With a strong line-up of nominees, Ford landed victories with Mustang GT350 Shelby and F150 Raptor SVT, while its luxury Lincoln sub-brand claimed one of the first big upset of the night, with the MKZ snagging the best Midsize Executive Sedan trophy at the ubiquitous BMW 5-Series’ expense.

Unexpectedly missing out on best Compact SUV prize to the Chevrolet Trax, the Nissan Kicks was the first of several misses for a competitive line-up of nominations from Nissan and its Infiniti premium sub-brand. Among these was the Q30, which despite being quite the accomplished car, loss to the near unassailably well-rounded Volkswagen GTI, which took the best Performance Hatchback category for the second year in a row after the Golf GTI Clubsport edition last year.

Other upsets included the more attainable and better looking Volkswagen Arteon winning the best Large Executive Sedan over the Porsche Panamera and the Maserati Levante missing out on the Best Midsize Luxury SUV award against the Range Rover Velar. Having lost to McLaren and Ferrari at previous MECOTY events, the Lamborghini Huracan Performante scored a much deserved and long overdue win for the raging bull brand in the best Supercar category this year against the McLaren 720S. 

Missing out on a victory in its jury-awarded best Small SUV segment, Peugeot’s innovative 3008, however, well-earned the MECOTY 2018’s vox pop non-jury Public Car of the Year Award.

Held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Motor Show and organised by Custom Events L.L.C., MECOTY is the Middle East’s only independent automotive awards event. Pitting the best of the region’s recently launched, available and eligible cars in competition for 23-categories and a top Car of the Year (COTY) award, MECOTY’s 15-member jury panel includes specialised print, online and TV motoring media and journalists representing the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. With a wide range of opinion and expertise, the jury panel’s scoring and voting process is based on ten criteria assessed from jury evaluation test drives.




Middle East Car of the Year and Best Midsize Premium SUV: Volvo XC60


Undergoing a design, engineering and technological revival in recent years, Swedish manufacturer Volvo hits the nail on the head again with a fresh and distinctly Scandinavian take on the popular midsize premium SUV segment. Along with a stylish and jutting design and exquisitely well-appointed and welcoming cabin ambiance, the XC60 boasts a raft of highly advanced driver assistance and semi-autonomous systems to enhance driving comfort and safety. Built on a modular platform, the XC60 is exclusively powered by four-cylinder engine, including supercharged and turbocharger T6 and hybrid T8 variants.


Best Small Performance Sedan and Middle East Car of the Year runner-up: Audi RS3 Sedan


Comparatively understated yet brimming with urgency, the Audi RS3 Sedan is a modern revival of an old and sorely missed small fast saloon car formula that has discretely left quite the impression on those in the know. Powered by a brawny 5-cylinder engine harking back to Audi’s glorious Group B rally years, the RS3 Sedan is a brutally quick yet practical four-door, three-box saloon that is easy to drive and maneuverable, with committed four-wheel-drive road-holding, high speed stability and agile handling.


Best Supercar: Lamborghini Huracan Performante


Among the iconic Italian supercar maker’s finest cars, the Performante is a honed, toned and more focused Huracan able to mix it with the world’s top hypercars, In addition to recalibrated suspension, steering and four-wheel-drive, it receives lighter carbon-fibre components, 30BHP more power and an advanced active aerodynamic system channeling air for improved performance, road-holding and agility. Flattering and phenomenally quick, it dispatches fast winding routes with a perfect combination of commitment, composure and pointy adjustability.


Best Performance Hatchback: Volkswagen Golf GTI


The latest iteration of the car that invented the hot hatch, the Volkswagen Golf GTI remains a byword for practical performance driving. Among the best rounded cars there is, the GTI is fun and fast yet sensible and spacious, with a reserved yet athletic design, clear sightlines, ergonomic driving position, agile handling and settled, forgiving ride. Receiving a mild power hike to 227BHP and bigger, more advanced infotainment and safety systems, the recently face-lifted version is both visceral and technologically modern.



  • Middle East Car of the Year (jury award): Volvo XC60
  • Runner-ups: Audi RS3 Sedan, Land Rover Range Rover Velar
  • Best Sub-compact Sedan: Kia Rio
  • Other nominees: Honda City, Renault Symbol
  • Best Small Sedan: Toyota Corolla
  • Other nominees: Dodge Neon, Renault Megane
  • Best Small Performance Sedan: Audi RS3
  • Other nominee: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
  • Best Midsize Sedan: Honda Accord
  • Other nominees: Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata
  • Best Large Sedan: Hyundai Azera
  • Other nominee: Opel Insignia
  • Best Midsize Executive Sedan: Lincoln MKZ
  • Other nominee: BMW 5-Series
  • Best Large Premium Sedan: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
  • Other nominee: Lincoln Continental
  • Best Large Executive Sedan: Volkswagen Arteon
  • Other nominee: Porsche Panamera
  • Best Compact SUV: Chevrolet Trax
  • Other nominee: Nissan Kicks
  • Best Small SUV: Honda CR-V
  • Other nominees: Peugeot 3008, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox
  • Best Small Premium SUV: Volvo XC40
  • Other nominee: Audi Q2
  • Best Midsize SUV: GMC Acadia
  • Other nominee: Nissan Pathfinder
  • Best Midsize Premium SUV: Volvo XC60
  • Other nominee: Audi Q5
  • Best Midsize Luxury SUV: Land Rover Range Rover Velar
  • Other nominee: Maserati Levante
  • Best Large SUV: Land Rover Discovery
  • Other nominees: Nissan Patrol V6
  • Best Truck: Ford F150 Raptor SVT
  • Other nominees: Ram Rebel, GMC Sierra All Terrain
  • Best Performance Hatchback: Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • Other nominees: Infiniti Q30
  • Best Premium Cabrio: Mercedes-Benz E200 Cabrio
  • Other nominees: Jaguar F-Type 2.0
  • Best Sports Coupe: Audi TT RS
  • Other nominee: Lotus Evora 410
  • Best Premium Sports Coupe: Audi S5
  • Other nominee: Infiniti Q60
  • Best Performance Coupe: Ford Mustang GT350 Shelby
  • Other nominee: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
  • Best Premium Performance Coupe: Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
  • Other nominee: Lexus LC500
  • Best Supercar: Lamborghini Huracan Performante
  • Other nominee: McLaren 720S
  • Public Car of the Year (non-jury): Peugeot 3008
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