Zoom-Zoom has never showcased wallflower tendencies, so why start now? When the all-new Mazda6 entered the competitive bread-and-butter world of the mid-size passenger car segment, the vehicle excelled in key consumer needs such as fuel economy, safety technology, performance and driving dynamics. And while bold lines and taut features were noticeably absent from its counterparts, the Mazda6 proudly wears its equally skin-deep beauty also on its sleeve. This unexpected focus on design and style has propelled the vehicle as a recently named finalist for the 2013 World Car Design of the Year Award.

Outlasting Renault, Land Rover and Volkswagen in the latest round of the voting, the Mazda6 will share the stage with the Aston Martin Vanquish and Jaguar F-Type at the New York International Auto Show where a winner will be announced during a press conference on March 28. With design the sole focus of this award, these unlikely real-world competitors are competitors nonetheless.

An evolution of the Takeri Concept, Mazda’s new mid-size features the brand’s KODO “Soul of Motion” design language, which is inspired by the movement of animals in the wild – their ability to showcase power in its purest form combined with agile finesse. KODO’s prominent personality, inside and out, easily distinguishes the Mazda6 from competitive people movers, whose personalities seem to have been relegated to match their prudish exteriors.

The Mazda6 makes no excuses for its muscular manner nor does it need to. With pronounced sheet metal strokes, the vehicle evokes a controlled intensity, seemingly moving yet standing still. Not meant to be ignored, the stunning Mazda6 presents an uncommon but welcome appeal of emotion to the mid-size segment.

The World Car of the Year awards were inaugurated in 2003 to reflect the reality of the global marketplace as well as to recognize and reward automotive excellence on an international scale, and are intended to complement, not compete, with existing national and regional Car of the Year programs.

A jury of 66 top -level automotive journalists representing nearly every continent sel ects the finalists every year. For specific categories, such as Green Car and Design, a panel of experts in each field reviews each candidate and provides recommendations for the jurors.

This year’s design experts are Masatsugu Arimoto (Japan), Silvia Baruffaldi (Italy), Gernot Bracht (Germany), Sam Livingstone (UK) and Tom Matano (United States).

The Mazda6 is the second vehicle in the Mazda lineup to fully incorporate SKYACTIV Technology , the brand’s breakthrough engineering approach toward increasing overall vehicle efficiency. The all-new Mazda6 combines uncompromising driving dynamics, lightweight design and exceptional fuel efficiency in a uniquely striking and exceptionally safe package.