It’s official. The zero-emission 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car has picked up the title of 2011 World Car of the Year at this week’s 2011 New York Auto Show, beating a field of contenders that listed 39 entries all up including the likes of the Aston Martin Rapide, Audi A8, Lexus LFA and of course, the Ferrari 458 Italia.
Jurors observed that: “The Leaf is the gateway to a brave new electric world from Nissan. This five-seater, five-door hatchback is the world's first, purpose-built, mass-produced electric car”.
The jurors also noted that the Leaf feels just like a normal car, only quieter.
To be eligible for the overall World Car of the Year award, candidates must become available for sale on at least two continents and in five countries during the period beginning January 1, 2010 and ending May 30, 2011.
For this reason, many popular American models, including the Leaf’s closest rival, the Chevrolet Volt, are not applicable for the award. Note, however, that the same criteria does not apply to the Performance, Car Design and Green award categories as we will soon discover.
Last year, the Volkswagen Polo took out the World Car of the Year title, while the World Performance Car crown went to the Audi R8 V-10. The additional World Green Car and World Car Design of the Year awards went to the Volkswagen BlueMotion range (Passat, Golf and Polo) and the Chevrolet Camaro, respectively.
Follow our complete coverage of the 2011 New York Auto Show by clicking here.