Ford sweeps the truck and utility categories, its first win since 2015; Hyundai won two years ago with the Kona.
A jury of 50 automotive journalists have determined the 2021 North American Car, Truck, and Utility vehicles of the year, announced today via digital event. It’s a big win for Ford, with the American brand clinching two-thirds of the titles thanks to the one-two punch of its latest F-150 truck and the wholly new Mustang Mach-E. Hyundai picked up a win of its own in the Car category with the Elantra.
After months of testing, the 50-strong panel had narrowed the field down to a trio of finalists from each category late last year:
2021 North American Car of the Year:
2021 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year:
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Genesis GV80
- Land Rover Defender
2021 North American Truck of the Year:
North American Truck of the Year: Ford F-150
Arguably the least surprising winner is the F-150. Ford’s bread-and-butter truck has won every year a new generation has debuted. Not only that, but it has market relevance as the best-selling vehicle for literal decades. The two FCA vehicles it defeated, while both impressive in their own rights (we’ve driven both!) can’t match that. Besides, the Gladiator already had its time in the spotlight, with the Jeep truck winning the 2020 title.
The latest F-150 builds on the strengths of Ford’s pickup truck, increasing its capabilities, safety suite, and available technology. It also introduced a hybrid drivetrain, ahead of a fully-electric F-150 set to arrive later this year. Speaking of electric…
North American Utility Vehicle of the Year: Ford Mustang Mach-E
It’s the Utility category that should be the big talking point this year (after the Corvette C8 won the Car title in 2020). Ford has a good thing on its hands with the Mustang Mach-E; when we drove it, we said it “will have many folks reconsidering their stance on EVs, offering a compelling package that doesn’t sacrifice anything from a “normal” car.”
The all-electric Mach-E is a big deal not just for Ford, but for the industry as a whole. It’s far from the first electric car, but it’s the closest legacy automakers have come to directly taking on the likes of Tesla. The Mach-E faces off against the Model Y, offering a similar level of range and performance. Ford hasn’t just targeted the on-paper stats either: the Mach-E features a huge portrait-style touchscreen smack dab in the middle of the dash.
North American Car of the Year: Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai’s new Elantra is just as impressive as the other winners here, in its own class. It has the mainstream appeal advantage over its corporate sibling, the Genesis G80. Meanwhile, the Sentra competes directly with the new Hyundai, and while it’s vastly better than the previous generation, it can’t match the big-car feeling of the Elantra.
SEE ALSO: 2021 Hyundai Elantra Review: First Drive
The Elantra is aiming for no less than class leader status this generation. The four-door sedan is just the beginning: a hybrid model is also on the cards, alongside hotter N Line and full-fun N trims.
All six of the utility and car finalists are also present on the AutoGuide.com Utility Vehicle and Car of the Year awards shortlists too. For our own winners, stay tuned for the announcement in February.
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