Although the automotive world (like the non-automotive one) has been upended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year Awards announced today the vehicles that are under consideration for the 2021 awards.
These are vehicles that are all-new or determined by the NACTOY board to be “significantly” modified.
There is one slight change (so far) from previous years of the NACTOY judging protocol. Because of the pandemic, some OEMs have significant vehicles that will have a late launch. So while there will be a winnowing of the candidates by the 50 jurors from print, online, radio and broadcast media in U.S. and Canada (full disclosure: I am one of them) until the finalists are announced in December, there will also be additions to the list.
The list of vehicles was announced today at a (virtual) meeting of the Automotive Press Association, a meeting that also included representatives of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA).
In addition, NACTOY announced today that it has awarded $40,000 in scholarships and charitable donations to the College for Creative Studies (CCS) and Feeding America. Each of those organizations is receiving $20,000. The charitable donations were made through a partnership between NACTOY and the NAIAS.
We’ll keep you apprised as how things develop for the vehicle consideration list.
Car of the Year
2021 Acura TLX
2021 BMW 330e and 330e xDrive
2021 BMW 430i, 430i xDrive and M440i xDrive
2021 BMW 545e xDrive
2021 Genesis G80
2020 Nissan Sentra. (Image: Nissan)
2021 Hyundai Elantra family (includes N Line and HEV)
2021 Lexus IS
2021 Mercedes-Benz E Class Sedan, All-Terrain, Coupe, Cabriolet
2021 MINI Cooper SE
2020 Nissan Sentra
Utility of the Year
2021 BMW X2 xDrive25e
2021 BMW X3 xDrive30e and xDrive45e
2021 Buick Encore GX
2021 Cadillac Escalade
2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
2021 Ford Mustang Mach E
VW Atlas Cross Sport (Image: VW)
2021 Genesis GV80
2021 GMC Yukon/Yukon XL
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
2021 Hyundai Venue
2021 Kia Seltos
2020 Land Rover Defender 90 and 110
2020 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring
2020 Mazda CX-30
2021 Nissan Rogue
2021 Toyota Venza
2021 Toyota Sienna
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
2020 Toyota Highlander
2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
2021 Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge
Truck of the Year
2020 Ford Super Duty
2021 Ford F-150
2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
Jeep Gladiator Mojave (Image: FCA)
From the point of view of structural engineering and assembly, electric vehicles are a whole lot simpler than those with internal combustion engines, which probably goes a long way to explain why there are so many startups showing EVs.
Chrysler pioneered the modern-day minivan more than 30 years ago and has been refining and improving that type of vehicle ever since.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.