By on January 9, 2017

NACTOY Winners 2017

The Chevrolet Bolt was named the North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show today. Journalists also saw fit to bestow the honor of Truck of the Year to Honda’s Ridgeline, while the Chrysler Pacifica — which is a minivan — was crowned as 2017’s best “Utility Vehicle.”

The trifecta was recognized this morning in the Cobo Center’s atrium in front of a crowd of automotive journalists and industry executives, launching the next two days of press previews at the North American International Auto Show.

Chevrolet’s Bolt is the first electric vehicle offered for under $40,000 to manage a range better than 200 miles on a single charge. Already making Car and Driver’s Top Ten List and taking Motor Trend’s Car of the Year nod, scoring the 23rd annual NACTOY award is another notch in its belt.

With a the list of competing finalists encompassing hypermiling hybrids and purebred sports coupes, the Bolt managed to defeat the Audi R8, Mercedes-Benz S550 Maybach, and Toyota Prius Prime — giving Chevrolet its first victory since 2014.

The Honda Ridgeline beat out America’s most popular truck, Ford’s F-series, despite it having been nominated in both Raptor and Super Duty formats. Honda’s Ridgeline, which also won the award in 2006, was again praised for its superior on-road handling.

This year’s sport utility category is new for the North American Car and Truck awards and, while it was the only vehicle of the eleven finalists that wasn’t a crossover or SUV, the Pacifica overcame heavyweights like the Jaguar F-Pace and Mazda CX-9. The Pacific’s ace-in-the-hole was its status as North America’s first-ever hybrid-electric minivan, with an ability to travel up to 30 miles on battery power alone.

“This is the perfect family car,” said Chrysler’s passenger car head, Tim Kuniskis, as he accepted the trophy on behalf of the company.

NACTOY is the only independent automotive award, made up of journalists from a large swath of outlets. Competing vehicles are judged on innovation, technology, safety, design, overall performance, value for money, and driver satisfaction.

The three finalists were selected by 57 automotive journalists from a list of 15 cars, 11 utilities vehicles and four pickups, narrowed down from an even larger list late last year.

[Image: NAIAS]

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34 Comments on “NAIAS 2017: Chevrolet Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica, and Honda Ridgeline Take 2017 Car of the Year Awards...”


  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Yay Bolt! Don’t be a stranger!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Unbridled hatred over the picks in 3, 2, 1…

    (popcorn is in the bowl, extra butter)

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I wanted to place this comment right here, not out of derision, but convenience:

      The Pacific isn’t really a “crossover utility vehicle” as the auto industry itself has, over time, evolved them and categorized them, and the Ridgeline is to pickup trucks what j0federal inmate Martha Stewart is to Thomas Silverstein.

  • avatar

    Only one of those vehicles is (barely) a “car”

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      What? They didn’t choose a “car” for truck or utility of the year? What sort of craziness is that?

      I guess it helps to read more than just the headline.

      First paragraph:
      “The Chevrolet Bolt was named the North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show today. Journalists also saw fit to bestow the honor of Truck of the Year to Honda’s Ridgeline, while the Chrysler Pacifica — which is a minivan — was crowned as 2017’s best “Utility Vehicle.”

  • avatar
    iMatt

    I’ve spent lots of time putting around in the new Pacifica and just don’t see the big deal about it. Closing the doors actually stands out in that it gives the feeling of cheapness right off the bat. I’m not kidding, they make a mid 90’s Accord feel more substantial.

    The blacked out plastic at the rear scream fake windows and highlight the simplicity and blandness of the taillights.

    The controls, as with the 200, look great from far but once up close become far from good. They look and feel cheap. This would be okay if it weren’t for the price; nearly 50 grand Canadian is unacceptable for something that feels this flimsy.

    Honda is no better with their touch screen interface…something tells me that actual buttons and knobs will start reappearing on option packages. It already has in Chevy’s mainstream cars. RE: the tuning knob.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    The first Honda Ridgeline was a great idea executed poorly. I think Honda did a lot better job with the 2nd Gen, even though the box is still too small for my tastes.

  • avatar

    The Bolt really should be South Korean car of the year. What we have here is another hallow American product engineered and designed abroad. The exterior designer is probably not Korean, but I am sure he or she isn’t an American. There is a new saying among GM white collar workforce, which is, “GM will hire anyone as long as they are not American”.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “another hallow American product engineered and designed abroad”

      I’m willing to hallow it but I gotta test drive it first. Shux, I gotta at least *see* one first.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    The Ridgeline is very much a pickup, but not a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      And yet, it has essentially the same capabilities that its’ “real truck” competition does.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I will defer ultimate decision pending seeing Ridgeline in these trims within 12 months:

        http://cdn.offroadxtreme.com/image/2016/03/2016-03-23_21-14-34.jpg

        http://image.trucktrend.com/f/features/1207_8l_size_matters_2003_ford_f250/37934111/1207-8l-02+size-matters-2003-ford-f250+truck-owners-lynnette-and-lance-magnusson.jpg

        http://cdn.speednik.com/files/2016/03/2016-03-23_21-14-48.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        But what about the capabilities not on the spec sheet… getting a boat up a slippery boat ramp with front wheel drive or getting to the spare tire with a load of gravel in the bed (start shoveling). And in the 4 wheel drive model no low range. Stuck in the mud or snow, no locking rear differential. And you likely can’t put a lift kit on it for better off road performance. Some us really do take our trucks past where the pavement ends.

        May drive nice, may look like a truck, but it ain’t a truck!!! If you want a car, get a car.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “If you want a car, get a car.”

          You don’t hang with retired profs or admins much, eh? Gardening and estate sales.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Horses for courses. You’re right, if you want to haul gravel, get an F-150 (or, better yet, an F-250).

          If you want something that will work for medium-duty towing, has a usable bed for home-center purchases (and isn’t so far off the ground that it needs a step), has a decent ride and gets decent gas mileage, then the Ridgeline pretty much stands on its own. But, hey, every truck should be as capable as the Ferd Fteenthousand (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8P5vGcf-NU) that can carry a whale.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I mostly meant that it doesn’t have a frame. And that’s OK. I believe we need more pickups that aren’t necessarily trucks.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    I don’t know anything about the other two, but the Bolt is definitely deserving of the title. First mass-production long-range $35k BEV out there. What the Leaf wished it could have been :)

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Well, those 3 do have one thing in common: I wouldn’t buy any of them!

  • avatar
    Fred

    These are all fine vehicles (I don’t care how you classify them), but COTY? Must be a boring show this year.

    • 0 avatar
      klossfam

      I own a 2017 Ridgeline and I think Honda got the award more for having the balls to bring out a Gen 2 Ridgeline after the Gen 1 was virtual non-seller at the end of its production run.

      I had a Gen 1 Ridge and love the Gen 2 but I agree with Fred…Must be a boring year for the NAIAS…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Bolt is quite an accomplishment, so I’ll agree with that one.

    I guess these awards don’t mean you have to be a best-seller, so the Ridgeline can’t be criticized for that shortcoming.

    Not so sure about the Pacifica. One man’s ‘utility vehicle’ is another man’s ‘family bus’. I really like minivans, and minivans have utility, but I’m surprised the award didn’t go to one of the many CUVs out there.

  • avatar
    shaker

    “23rd annual NACTOY”

    Alright, I’ll do it.

    Matt: NACOTY

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Oh, well I figured it out — North American Car/Truck Of Year.

      Color me embarrassed.

      They left out the “C” for CUV, (And the “S” for “SUV” tho. (There, that’s better)

  • avatar
    Tandoor

    North America is a big continent. 90+% of its residents can’t buy the car of the year. I’m betting I won’t see it at the St. Louis auto show (which has become totally pathetic). I want to like the Bolt. I could be interested in buying one but there are no ZEV credits to be had in this state.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I want a Bolt! I’m just hoping that the handling provides some fun.


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