Those seeking to learn the identities of the best new car, pickup, and sport-utility vehicles for the 2020 model year are well-advised to pay attention. Chosen by an international jury of renowned auto experts, the nine finalists that are vying for the prestigious title of 2020 North American Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, and Utility of the Year were announced today at the Los Angeles Auto Show’s AutoMobility LA. They were selected from an extremely varied and competitive field of 29 semi-finalists all new to the market or significantly renewed this year.
This year, the 2020 Car of the Year finalists are the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Supra. It is an interesting mix of two sports cars — one American and the other an international German-Japanese collaboration — and a midsize family sedan that sits in one of the market’s high-volume segments.
In the North American Utility of the Year field the finalists are the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride and Lincoln Aviator. Both midsize crossover SUVS, the Palisade and Telluride ride on the same chassis and both feature the same powertrain, but styling and feature differences set them apart. The luxury-brand Lincoln Aviator is yet another midsize SUV, and it shares much of its engineering with the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer.
As for North American Truck of the Year, two of the finalists are midsize trucks, a genre thought to be dying a decade ago, and the other is a member of the increasing popular heavy-duty class of pickup. The finalists are Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, and RAM Heavy Duty.
Over the course of the past several months the 50-person North American Car of the Year jury has been driving, researching and evaluating the new and significantly renewed models for the 2020 model year. The finalists were revealed after votes from 50 jurors were audited by Deloitte LLP, the North American Car of the Year accounting firm of record. As with the Academy Awards in the movie industry, the results were kept confidential until they were revealed on stage today at AutoMobility LA by the jury’s officers.
“Every year, manufacturers continue to produce impressive styling and high-quality vehicles with improved safety, more features, more performance, and better efficiency. Our job is to evaluate each eligible vehicle and help consumers make wiser choices by presenting the best in each category,” North American Car of the Year President and Juror Lauren Fix said.
This year, the field of semi-finalists from which the top nine were chosen included 12 models in the car category, 12 utilities, and five trucks.
“Competition in the red-hot utility category is especially tough, with entries from a variety of mainstream and luxury classes, including a strong set of three-row crossovers and a new electric SUV,” said North American Car of the Year Secretary/Treasurer and Juror Kirk Bell. “We look forward to seeing which vehicle our jurors think is best for buyers.”
While the total number of eligible truck models was smaller, the category remains intensely competitive due in part to the sheer numbers of pickup trucks being bought in the United States each year.
“Trucks continue to be the backbone of the North American auto industry, both in terms of sales numbers and profits,” North American Car of the Year Vice President and Juror Chris Paukert said. “This year we have a particularly diverse slate of competitors, from heavy-duty full-size work trucks to play-hard midsize offerings for weekend warriors. It’s a great year to be a truck buyer.”
The North American Car, North American Truck and North American Utility awards are operated by the jury independent of any publication, media outlet or other entity. Jurors donate their time and effort to evaluate the finalists based on segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
The selection process includes three rounds of voting. Jurors voted to determine the finalists after gathering in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in October to test drive the semifinalist vehicles.
The winners of the awards will be announced on January 13, 2020, at the TCF Center in Detroit in a partnership with the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and the North American International Auto Show.