Car of year
mid-size Traverse will compete for best ute while the Colorado ZR2 pickup truck will vie for Truck of the Year honors against the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator — the only nominees from the Blue Oval stable.
Ford’s stunning GT supercar was deemed ineligible for NACTOY in July due to its low sales volume, its $450,000 sticker price and lack of availability to the general public. Ford has selected all 750 buyers of the GT through an application process.
Also ineligible was Dodge’s halo, 840-horsepower Challenger SRT Demon coupe that has set a production car record 9.65-second quarter-mile time. With the same drivetrain and structure as Dodge’s 707-horse Challenger SRT Hellcat — introduced for the 2015 model year — the Demon is not sufficiently altered to meet NACTOY’s criteria as a separate model.
Other notables vying for top SUV are the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Honda Odyssey, and VW Atlas and Tiguan. The Stelvio, the Italian brand’s first SUV, will square off against perennial favorites from Audi and BMW. Minivans have also seen their market share crater in the face of the SUV juggernaut, but Honda has doubled down on its popular Odyssey minivan bringing new tech to market like a horizontally-sliding second-row seat. And VW hopes to put Dieselgate in its rear-view mirror with two three-row SUVs tailored for the US market.
Despite its its diminished status, the car category will feature a face-off between two of the industry’s iconic models — the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Determined to remain relevant (and maintain their 300,000-plus unit sales) in Ute Nation, the two sedans received major chassis, styling, and tech updates for 2018 that blur the distinction between luxury and mainstream sedans.
They will be clear favorites, but other notables in the car class are BMW’s premium benchmark 5-series, the sexy Alfa Romeo Giulia, and athletic Kia Stinger fastback which the Korea automaker has positioned as a halo vehicle for the brand’s sporty vibe.
The NACTOY award is one of the industry’s most prestigious. Some 60 auto experts from the U.S. and Canada, including the author of this article, will evaluate the nominees in October over a week of grueling testing, flogging and eyeballing in the Metro Detroit area.
Three finalists from each category will be selected and announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in late November. The winners will be unveiled January 14 at the opening of the 2018 Detroit auto show. Henry Payne is auto critic for The
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