The North American Car of the Year Awards, or “NACTOY” for short, have been an integral part of the Detroit International Auto Show in January since 1994. To the relief of many who complain about the weather, the auto show itself got warmer months (from fall 2021, depending on the pandemic). However, the awards have retained their traditional January time slot.

This is how it works: A group of auto journalists from North America and Canada select the winners for the best car, the best pickup and the best sport utility vehicle. Last year’s winners were the 2020 Corvette Stingray, 2020 Jeep Gladiator, and 2020 Kia Telluride.

For the 2021 prizes, a field of 27 semi-finalists has been narrowed down to nine finalists:

  • Car: Genesis G80, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra
  • Trucks: Ford F-150, Ram 1500 TRX, Jeep Gladiator Mojave
  • Utility: Ford Mustang Mach E, Genesis GV80, Land Rover Defender

As for the winners? Well, read on.

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Car of the year: Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai launched the new seventh generation Elantra for the 2020 model year, including new Hybrid and N-Line performance versions. Kelley Blue Book called it one of the best cars to buy in 2021. The Elantra won the award back in 2012.

Truck of the year: Ford F-150

Ford has refreshed the best-selling F-150 pickup for the 2021 model year. It’s the optimal full-size pickup truck for cruising, camping, towing, eating a cheeseburger, or even taking a quick nap. It is the fifth victory for the F-150.

Utility of the Year: Ford Mustang Mach E.

The 11 items of equipment you absolutely need for car camping

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