The tension is growing: The jury World Car of The Year has announced the three top candidates in its six categories. 82 international jurors, all of them active motor journalists, have cast their vote in a secret ballot supervised and certified by KPMG. Full disclosure: The jury includes GTspirit.com founder and publisher Des Sellmeijer, as well as GTspirit.de co-publisher Jens Meiners.

Here are the three finalists in each category:

World Car of The Year: Mazda CX-5, Range Rover Velar, Volvo XC60

World Luxury Car: Audi A8, Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Panamera

World Performance Car: BMW M5, Honda Civic Type-R, Lexus LC 500

World Green Car: BMW 530e, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Nissan Leaf

World Urban Car: Ford Fiesta, Suzuki Swift, Volkswagen Polo

World Car Design of the Year: Lexus LC, Range Rover Velar, Volvo XC60

Interestingly, the top contenders for overall World Car of The Year are yet again three SUVs. Even in the design category, two of the three finalists are SUVs. reflecting a fundamental change in preferences: In the past, SUV proportions were seen as an aesthetic disadvantage.

The winners will be announced on March 28 at the New York International Auto Show.

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