After hundreds of hours of test drives, research and evaluation by independent jurors, the Genesis G70, Hyundai Kona/Kona EV and Ram 1500 were revealed as the winners of the 2019 North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) awards presented today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Chosen by a panel of 54 respected jurors from print, online, radio and broadcast media across the U.S. and Canada – rather than a single publication or media outlet – the awards are among the most prestigious and unique in the industry.
Jurors voted on the finalists based on segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. The process began in June 2018 by determining vehicle eligibility and included three rounds of voting.
Votes were tallied confidentially by Deloitte LLP and remained secret until envelopes were unsealed on stage by NACTOY officers: President Lauren Fix, Vice President Chris Paukert and Secretary-Treasurer Kirk Bell at Cobo Center in Detroit.
“We want to thank every automaker for taking the time and effort to work with us throughout the year as our jurors rigorously tested, evaluated and debated the best new vehicles on the market,” Fix said. “Now in our 25th year, we are proud that both automakers and consumers recognize the value our awards provide to new car buyers.”
Car of the Year
This year’s car category was extremely competitive. Some jurors said the unique features, technological advancements and innovative designs of the three finalists made any of them worthy winners. When the ballots were counted, though, jurors selected the Genesis G70 as the car that stood out among its competition.
“The Genesis G70 doesn’t just go toe-to-toe with segment mainstays like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class – it beats them all in driver engagement while positively slaying them on value for the dollar,” said Paukert, who is also executive editor of Roadshow by CNET. “No longer just a value play, it’s the real deal.”
Utility Vehicle of the Year
The fierce competition among finalists in the utility category reflects the segment’s increasing popularity among U.S. consumers. Jurors selected the Hyundai Kona and Kona Electric atop the other 20 models eligible in the category this year.
“The Kona Electric is the first mass-market electric car that truly works for the mass market,” said Jamie Page Deaton, executive editor at U.S. News & World Report Best Cars. “A livable EV range, affordable price and practical cabin combine with lively driving dynamics to make the Kona EV a true pleasure. It’s the kind of EV that could convince the most ardent EV-skeptic.”
Truck of the Year
The truck category pitted the Ram 1500 against two pickups from General Motors – the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500. Jurors selected the Ram 1500 as the winner.
“Ram continues to lead the way in making a big truck double as a big family pleaser with as much attention paid to interior conveniences and ride comfort as to cargo hauling and towing,” said John Davis, executive producer at MotorWeek.
Today’s winners were chosen from the following nine finalists:
- Genesis G70
- Acura RDX
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Honda Insight
- Hyundai Kona/Kona EV
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Volvo S60/V60
- Jaguar I-Pace
- Ram 1500
“As the industry’s cars, trucks and utility vehicles continue to get better and better, automakers are unwittingly making our deliberations as jurors tougher and tougher. Fortunately, the end results are more rewarding, both for us as journalists and as consumers,” Paukert said.
While the awards are announced at the North American International Auto Show, these prizes are independent of the show itself. NACTOY is a separate, non-profit organization, with dues-paying journalist members led by elected officers.