Ram 1500, Hyundai Kona, Genesis G70 win Truck, Utility and Car of the Year

The ballots have been counted, and the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards were announced this morning at the Detroit auto show. The Genesis G70 sports sedan takes the car honors; the Hyundai Kona family won the utility bracket; and the new Ram 1500 took home the truck honors.

The NACTOY awards are chosen by a panel of 54 jurors from print, online, radio and broadcast media across the U.S. and Canada. The awards are based on segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.

Genesis G70 — from the jurors

“The Genesis G70 doesn’t just go toe to toe with segment mainstays like the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class — it beats them all in driver engagement while positively slaying them on value for the dollar,” said Chris Paukert, who is also executive editor of Roadshow by CNET. “No longer just a value play, it’s the real deal.”

Our take

J.P. Vettraino drove the new G70 back in September 2017 and found the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 agreeable and powerful, bringing the vehicle to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.

“Whether this guy would buy it (G70) over many strong alternatives is far more difficult to say,” said Vettraino. “That choice is less good versus bad and more a function of taste, preferred compromises, brand loyalty — even mood.”

Hyundai Kona — from the jurors

“The Kona Electric is the first mass-market electric car that truly works for the mass market,” said Jamie Page Deaton, executive editor at U.S. News & World Report Best Cars. “A livable EV range, affordable price and practical cabin combine with lively driving dynamics to make the Kona EV a true pleasure. It’s the kind of EV that could convince the most ardent EV-skeptic.”

Our take

Crossovers and utilities now dominate the market — a fact that our own Andrew Stoy realized and succumbed to while testing the small crossover in Hawaii.

“More than just a competent driver, the Kona is also a pleasant place in which to spend time,” said Stoy. “Hyundai’s infotainment interface is easy to use and quickly connected with my phone; the dash layout is logical and stylized enough to provide some visual interest. The standard Houndstooth fabric seat inserts on the SEL look great, and they’re heated, too — no need to option up to leather in cold-weather environs. Should you choose a higher-trim Kona, the already large-feeling cabin gets even airier with a sunroof, and the driving assists do their job well without undue beeping and flashing.”

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