•  New "Golf 7" named World Car of the Year
  •  Will come to US early next year
  •  Golf is very popular around the world

The all-new Volkswagen Golf is officially the World Car of the Year. The award, presented annually at the New York Auto Show, is voted on by automotive journalists from around the world. This year's win is the second in a row for Volkswagen.

The Golf that won this year's World Car of the Year award also made its US debut at the New York Auto Show. While the new Golf won't arrive stateside until early next year, it's been available for several months in other markets, including Europe and Australia.

When the award-winning Golf does come stateside as a 2015 model, it will be offered with three engines. Base models trade last year's 2.5-liter five-cylinder for a 170-horsepower 1.8-liter turbo four. The diesel-powered Golf TDI has 150hp and 236 pound-feet and, of course, will return stellar gas mileage. And the performance-oriented GTI carries over its 2.0-liter turbo engine. The GTI's final power number hasn't been announced, but we expect a slight boost over last year's 200hp.

The Golf's World Car of the Year victory displays its popularity in foreign markets. Consistently one of the most popular cars in Europe, the Golf is also well-liked in Canada, Asia and Australia. In the US, VW's compact Jetta far outsells its Golf sibling. That's because American car shoppers tend to shy away from hatchbacks in favor of four-door sedans.

From a long list of nominees, the World Car of the Year vote came down to four finalists. In addition to the Golf, they were the Porsche Boxster and Cayman, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ and the Mercedes A-Class, a hatchback sold in Europe and other markets.

With its win this year, Volkswagen can celebrate two World Car of the Year victories in a row. Last year's winner was the subcompact Volkswagen Up!, which is sold in several markets outside the US. VW also won with the current Golf in 2009 and the small Polo hatchback in 2010. The 2011 award went to the Nissan LEAF, which is the only non-Volkswagen to win in the last five years.

What it means to you: American shoppers will get to see for themselves if the Volkswagen Golf deserved its title when the hatchback goes on sale here early next year.

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