Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Ford Maverick, Bronco Wins Truck, Utility of the Year Award | Nation World News

DETROIT ( Associated Press) — For the second year in a row, Ford Motor Co. U.S. vehicles received two of the three North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year awards.

The company’s Maverick compact pickup won the Truck of the Year award, while its Bronco off-road SUV earned Utility of the Year. Honda’s redesigned Civic compact car won the Car of the Year award.

50 automotive journalists from the US and Canada are judges for three awards, which are announced every January. They are selected from dozens of candidates and should be new or substantially changed for the current model year. Automakers often use rewards in advertising.

Judges evaluate finalists on value, innovation, design, performance, safety, technology and driver satisfaction. The selection process started last summer.

Apart from the Bronco, the Utility of the Year finalists include the GV70 from Hyundai’s Genesis luxury brand and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric SUV.

Truck finalists included the Maverick as well as its main small pickup competitor, the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Also included was the Rivian R1T pickup from electric vehicle startup.

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

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

Guidehouse Insights e-Mobility Principal Analyst Sam Abuelsamid, who is not among the jury members, said it’s possible that the more affordable prices of the Civic and Maverick appealed to the group.

Prices for the Maverick with hybrid powertrain start at $19,995, while the base price of the Civic is $22,350.

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

Last year, Ford’s Mustang Mach-E electric SUV won the Utility Award. Abuelsamid sees electric vehicles winning more awards in future years as more models are introduced at lower prices and in more popular segments.

At the end of last year, there were about 20 electric vehicles on sale in the US, and this year manufacturers will start selling about 20 more, Abulesmid said. Many are coming in popular market segments such as full-size pickups and compact crossover SUVs, he said.

That said, the rewards are becoming more important as new automakers enter the market. “There is a real opportunity for these brands to create consumer awareness,” Abuelsamid said.

At an event announced Tuesday in Detroit by the Automotive Press Association, organizers of the big Detroit auto show announced it would return 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 inside and outside the downtown Detroit Huntington Place Convention Center. It will take place from September 14 to September 25.

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