The 2017 North American International Auto Show kicked off today with the announcement of the North American Car of the Year Awards. This year the awards grew to include not just a car and truck, but also a utility vehicle.
The Honda Ridgeline nabbed Truck of the Year beating out hefty competition and was also our BestRide Best Compact/Midsize Pickup. Finalists in the group included the Ford F-Series Super Duty and the Nissan Titan. The Ridgeline stands out from the competition as something of an unconventional truck. It delivers the perks of a pickup with a car-like ride not found in other trucks.
The Ridgeline also includes unique features that you won’t find in other trucks. There’s an in-bed trunk that is a fantastic cooler for tailgating. It’s accompanied by an in-bed audio system. The Ridgeline also has a double-hinged tailgate that opens down or from the side to make loading the bed and hopping into it easier.
The Car of the Year award went to the electric Chevrolet Bolt. It won over the Genesis G90, which is the debut from Hyundai’s new luxury brand, and the Volvo S90. The Bolt can travel up to 238 miles on a single charge and is priced under $30,000 once buyers take advantage of available tax credits. The Bolt was a standout in the category for its range and pricing, which might finally lure the masses to consider electric cars as their daily drivers.
Rounding out the awards this year was the Chrysler Pacifica minivan as the Utility of the Year. This is a new category that recognizes the popularity of vehicles that don’t quite fit in the car or truck categories. Last year’s truck of the year was the Volvo XC90. It is a fantastic vehicle, but calling it a truck doesn’t make a lot of sense. The addition of the Utility category takes care of that problem.
The Pacifica is Chrysler’s new minivan, and it won out over the Jaguar F-Pace and Mazda CX-9. The Pacifica replaced the old Town and Country minivan and the Dodge Caravan in Fiat Chrysler’s lineup. It is loaded with family-friendly features and is the only minivan currently available as a plug-in hybrid. A single charge will keep it going for 35 miles before it needs to switch to the gas engine.
The North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year are awarded annually by a jury of roughly 60 professional automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.