Ford Maverick, Bronco Wintrack, Utility of the Year Awards

Detroit — For the second year in a row, Ford Motor Company’s vehicles have won two of three awards: North American Cars, Trucks and Utilities of the Year.

The company’s Maverick compact pickups won this year’s trucks, and the Bronco off-road SUV gained this year’s practicality. Honda’s redesigned Civic compact car won this year’s car.

Fifty car journalists from the United States and Canada are judges for the three awards announced each January. They are selected from dozens of candidates and need to be new or significantly modified in the current model year. Automakers often use awards in advertising.

The jury evaluates the finalist’s value, innovation, design, performance, safety, technology and driver satisfaction. The selection started last summer.

In addition to Bronco, the Utility of the Year finalists included the Hyundai Genesis Luxury Brand GV70 and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 Electric SUV.

The truck’s finalists included Hyundai Santa Cruz, a rival of Maverick and his major small pickups. Also included was a Rivian R1T pickup from an electric car startup.

In addition to the Civic, car finalists included the Lucid Air electric sedan, the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the R sports car.

This year, fully electric vehicles were finalists in all three categories, but the judges chose gas-powered or gas-electric hybrid vehicles.

Sam Buelsamid, Principal Analyst and Jury Trial at Guidehouse Insights E-Mobility, said the more affordable prices of the Civic and Maverick were likely to appeal to the group.

The Maverick with hybrid powertrain starts at $ 19,995 and the Civic has a base price of $ 22,350.

Lucid’s Air Dream starts at $ 169,000, but a lower-priced version is coming. The starting price for the Rivian R1T is $ 67,500. Neither price includes a federal or state tax credit for electric vehicles.

Last year, Ford’s Mustang Mach-E Electric SUV won the Utility Award. Abuelsamid expects electric vehicles to win more awards in the future as more models are rolled out in the lower priced and more popular segments.

By the end of last year, about 20 electric vehicles were sold in the United States, and about 20 more electric vehicles will be on sale this year, Abuelsamid said. He said many have come to popular market segments such as full-size pickups and compact crossover SUVs.

He said the awards are becoming more and more important as new car makers enter the market. “There is a real opportunity to raise consumer awareness of these brands,” said Abuelsamid.

Also, at the Detroit announcement event held by the Automotive Press Association on Tuesday, the organizers of Detroit’s large car show announced that they will be returning to the city in September for the first time since 2019.

Rod Alberts, executive director of the North American International Auto Show, said the show will take place both indoors and outdoors in and around downtown the Detroit Huntington Place Convention Center. It will be held from September 14th to 25th.

Tom Chrischer

Associated Press