From 52 down to nine. Jurors for NACTOY, the most prestigious vehicle awards program in North America, have announced the nine finalists for Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle-of-the-Year, three in each category. And battery power clearly has the 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists who make up the jury charged up.
If anything signals the rapid transformation currently reshaping the auto industry it can be found in the list of finalists announced Thursday at the LA Auto Show for the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle-of-the-Year awards.
The 50 U.S. and Canadian jurors faced a tough challenge going into this year’s crop of 52 new vehicles and, in a multi-step process, they’ve narrowed the ultimate choice down to three models in each category. All told, six of the nine are sold only in electrified form. A seventh is available with an optional hybrid powertrain.
Highlighting an industry in transformation
“Electric vehicles again make up more than half of our finalists,” said Jeff Gilbert, a broadcast journalist from Detroit and president of NACTOY. “That shows how important they are to carmakers and how many more choices car buyers now have. But there is a lot of variety in this group, including a big work truck, a hybrid and a family sedan.”
The finalists for 2024 NACTOY awards represent a broad swath of domestic and import brands. Significantly, the Hyundai Motor Group landed three models on the list, one for each of its brands. There were two products from Chevrolet — both vying for top spot in the Truck category. Ford, Honda, Toyota and Volvo were each represented with one new model. The nominees are:
- Honda Accord is the latest iteration of the familiar Japanese sedan — which was a previous Car-of-the-Year winner. It is offered with a mix of powertrains, including a hybrid package;
- Hyundai Ioniq 6 is the latest all-electric model from the South Korean carmaker. Dubbed the “Electric Streamliner,” the sedan features a highly aerodynamic body designed to maximize range;
- Toyota Prius/Prius Prime marks a dramatic shift for what was the world’s first hybrid-electric vehicle. Offered both as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, it adopts a more stylish look and delivers a sportier drive than prior versions.
- Chevrolet Colorado returns for 2024 with a new design and a number of upgrades designed to appeal to a broader audience — including those who want to do some serious off-roading;
- Chevrolet Silverado EV marks the first time the bowtie brand has introduced an all-electric version of the familiar full-size pickup. It will offer various packages with range up to 450 miles;
- Ford Super Duty is the heavy-duty version of the Detroit automaker’s familiar F-Series lineup. It gets a number of significant powertrain, body and technology upgrades for 2024.
- Genesis Electrified GV70 is the all-electric take on the luxury brand’s gas-powered sport-utility vehicle. While similar in design, the EV gets sportier performance and 236 miles of range;
- Kia EV9 is the third nominated model from the Hyundai Motor Group, It’s also the second dedicated Kia EV, a midsize three-row crossover with a near full-size interior;
- Volvo EX30 is the Swedish brand’s first dedicated EV model and marks the start of its transition to an all-electric brand. With a surprisingly low price, it anchors Volvo’s EV shift.
And the winners are…
This marks the 30th year for NACTOY, which is widely considered the premier award program for vehicles sold in the North American market.
The 50 U.S. and Canadian jurors — which include Headlight.News contributing editor Paul A. Eisenstein — began winnowing down the field of 52 qualifying vehicle last spring. Since then, they’ve taken two separate votes resulting in the nine finalists announced at the LA Auto Show. They now are charged with picking the cream of the automotive crop. The process has jurors comparing design, performance, handling, technology and other factors.
The three winners for North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year will be announced during a special ceremony at the M1 Concours in Pontiac, Michigan on Jan. 4, 2024.