A third win for Land Rover in design category at annual World Car of the Year awards.

Land Rover’s new Defender has been judged the 2021 World Car Design of the Year, as part of the annual World Car Awards that recognise automotive excellence.

Highlighting new vehicles with innovation and style that push established boundaries, the World Car Design of the Year award is part of a broader competition that also includes World Performance Car, World Green Car, World Luxury and World Urban Car categories, as well as the overall World Car of the Year.

Cars eligible for the 2021 World Car Design of the Year award encompass all contenders competing in the other four award categories, so the judging panel had dozens of new cars and SUVs to choose from.

Defender wins World Car Design of the year

That panel consisted of seven highly respected world design experts, including Gernot Bracht (Germany – Pforzheim Design School), Ian Callum (United Kingdom – Director of Design, CALLUM, and formerly with Jaguar, Ford and Aston Martin), Gert Hildebrand (Germany – Owner Hildebrand-Design), Patrick le Quément (France – Designer and President of the Strategy Committee – The Sustainable Design School, and formerly with Ford and Renault), Tom Matano (USA – Academy of Art University, Former Head of Design – Mazda), Victor Nacif (USA – Chief Creative Officer, Brojure.com and Design instructor, NewSchool of Architecture and Design) and Shiro Nakamura (Japan – CEO, Shiro Nakamura Design Associates Inc.).

Defender wins World Car Design of the year

The panel was asked to first review each candidate, and then establish a short list of recommendations for the final vote. In addition to Defender, the short list included the Mazda MX-30, Honda e, Polestar 2 and Porsche 911 Turbo.

From this group, a 1 through 5 voting system determined the three finalists – Land Rover Defender, Mazda MX-30 and Honda e – which were announced on 30 March.

The final was held on 20 April, where the Defender was declared the ultimate winner, with 299 points, over the Honda e (239 points) and Mazda MX-30 (197 points). 

Defender wins World Car Design of the year

Prof. Gerry McGovern OBE, Chief Creative Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “New Defender is influenced by its past but is not constrained by it and we are delighted it has been honoured with this award.

“Our vision was to create a 21st century Defender by pushing the boundaries of engineering, technology and design while retaining its renowned DNA and off-road capability. The result is a compelling 4×4 that resonates with customers on an emotional level.”

This year’s win is the third for Land Rover in the design category, following the Range Rover Velar in 2018 and Range Rover Evoque in 2012.


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About Author

Mike Ryan

A 30+ year veteran of the JUST AUTO Network working as a journalist and getting behind the camera at motoring events, Mike brings a wealth of knowledge from the local Australian car scene from over the decades.


  1. Land Rover have done lots of amazing design work over the years and I love them, but they still need to get so much better at building and supporting their products!

  2. I read these awards for land rover and cynically think they must be pay to win. Appart from the price and reliability issues the landrover sounds ideal.

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