2019 North American Car, Utility Vehicle & Truck of the Year announced

For one last time, Detroit, the erstwhile Motor City, got to kick-start the year’s automotive calendar when the show floors at the Cobo Center opened earlier this week to host the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. For those won don’t know yet, the North American International Auto Show - as the event is officially called - is moving from being an annual winter event to a summer event starting 2020. 

And as has always been the tradition, the winners of the 2019 North American Car, Utility Vehicle and Truck of the Year were announced on the inaugural day of the event. Currently in its 26th year, the trio of awards are amongst the most coveted and respected in the industry as they are handed out collectively by a panel of 54 jurors representing various print, online, radio and television publications from the United States of America and Canada.

To be eligible for the award, a car, utility vehicle or truck should be all-new or significantly redesigned and have gone on sale in the United States or Canada before the last week of the prior year. From the full list of eligible candidates, jurors shortlist three finalists for each of the three award categories before rating them on several parameters including segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling and value for money. 

2019 North American Car of the Year

From the original list of potential contenders that ran into several tens of models, the jurors brought the number of entries down to 23 cars before narrowing down the selection further to the three finalists - Genesis G70, Honda Insight and Volvo S60 / V40 twins. While one would have expected this to be a closely-fought contest considering the might of the three entries, the Genesis G70 had the other two contenders beaten quite comfortably in the end. 

Jurors were particularly impressed with the fact Hyundai’s luxury upstart is no longer fighting the segment playing the value card. The G70, the brand’s first all-new development, had its work cut out going against segment stalwarts like the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. But the car appears to have surpassed all expectations, is plush, genuinely fun-to-drive and comes loaded with features all while playing the value card.

Volvo’s stunning duo finished distant runners up with Honda’s fuel-cell flag-bearer Insight coming home third. 


  1. Genesis G70 – 318 points
  2. Volvo S60 / V60 – 120 points
  3. Honda Insight – 102 points

Previous Winners

  • 2018 – Honda Accord
  • 2017 – Chevrolet Bolt
  • 2016 – Honda Civic
  • 2015 – Volkswagen Golf / GTI
  • 2014 – Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year

Despite being a recent addition, the idea of crowning the best new Utility Vehicle out there couldn’t assume more significance. With crossovers and SUVs on the rise globally, this has become the single most-important, hard-fought and, crucially, very-profitable segment for car-makers with many of them channeling millions of investment dollars this way.

Similar to cars, the jurors narrowed down the list to 20 models that joined this booming segment in 2018. Upon further evaluation, three models – Acura RDX, Hyundai Kona / Kona Electric and Jaguar I-Pace – made the cut to the final round. In the end, Hyundai’s subcompact crossover twins prevailed in what appears to be a close contest all the way to the end. Of the two, the Kona Electric has been receiving rave reviews since launch and it’s respectable range, funky styling, lively dynamics and, above all, affordable price tag appear to have won the panel over as well.

Trailing the Hyundai twins close was Jaguar’s full-electric I-Pace with the Acura RDX finishing third.     


  1. Hyundai Kona / Kona Electric – 203 points
  2. Jaguar I-Pace – 181 points
  3. Acura RDX – 156 points

Previous Winners

  • 2018 – Volvo XC60
  • 2017 – Chrysler Pacifica

2019 North American Truck of the Year

The third and final category of award honours the best in America’s perennial favourite body style - trucks. 2018 saw three trucks being launched with all of them making it to the final round directly. Ram had its completely-redesigned, new-generation 1500 Pick-up while GM countered with two entries, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra.  

In what turned out to be one of the most one-sided contests ever, Ram’s brilliant new half-ton Pick-up decimated the GM duo with a crushing victory. FCA’s focused efforts in making Ram’s volume-puller stand out by equipping it with a plush cabin, a large infotainment screen and standard 48-volt mild hybrid system has been winning hearts since launch and the jury were no different. Is Chevrolet’s long-held second spot on the sales charts under threat from Ram? Hell, yeah!


  1. Ram 1500 – 540 points
  2. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – 69 points
  3. GMC Sierra 1500 – 64 points

Previous Winners

  • 2018 – Lincoln Navigator
  • 2017 – Honda Ridgeline
  • 2016 – Volvo XC90
  • 2015 – Ford F150
  • 2014 – Chevrolet Silverado

In the history of the awards, there have only been five instances when a manufacturer has been crowned two titles in the same year and Hyundai has achieved that this year. For its part, Ram put on a stellar show too en-route to victory. Kudos to the two car-makers.

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