I have seen the expression, “next year” translated as both “el año que viene” and “el año próximo.” Are there regional preferences? Which one is more natural and why? Which translation is particularly used in Mexico?
They are both interchangeable. Both will be understood to be the same thing.
Everything depends on the speaker, and what he/she wishes to say.
el año que viene would suggest that the new year is approaching though.
That is the only difference.
el año próximo is a very generic way to say
año que viene would be more like
The upcoming year