2021 NACTOY Winners Announced, Ford Takes Two of Three

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
2021 nactoy winners announced ford takes two of three

Every year before 2020, automotive journalists descended on Detroit for the North American International Auto Show at this time in January. Bleary-eyed scribes shook off their hangovers from Sunday’s pre-show parties and new-model unveilings and rolled into Cobo (now TCF) Center early on Monday morning to hear which vehicles won the North American Car and Truck Of the Year vote.

That changed in 2020. Not because of COVID, but because the show had planned to move to the summer. Although the NACTOY jury did announce the winners in January of 2020 at TCF.

There are three categories — car, truck, and utility of the year. This year’s winners are the Hyundai Elantra, Ford F-150, and Ford Mustang Mach-E.

We’ve driven all three, and we spoke highly of each. Still, the Mach-E pick might be controversial, either because of the name or because it’s an EV or because it’s more of a raised hatchback than what might be considered a “true” SUV.

There were nine finalists, three for each category. For car, it was the Genesis G80, Hyundai Elantra, and Nissan Sentra.

For truck, it was the F-150, Jeep Gladiator Mojave, and the Ram TRX (which Chad reviewed for us); while for utility it was the Mach-E, Genesis GV80, and Land Rover Defender.

Personally, I’ve driven the Sentra, Defender, and Mojave; and I have a TRX and Mach-E scheduled for evaluation. All of those that I’ve driven were strong contenders, and as noted above, other TTAC’ers have driven the winners and all were well-reviewed. As much as we love arguing about cars around here, I don’t have too much beef with the vote, though as noted, “utility” may be a stretch for the Mach-E.

The list started with about 43 new or redesigned vehicles before being narrowed down to the final nine.

Now, we have the final three. Feel free to argue about the vote in the comments.

[Image © 2020 Adam Tonge/TTAC]

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4 of 10 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jan 11, 2021

    Elantra, F-150 - very boring choices. If Elantra is the best car in NA then I am done with cars.

    • See 1 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Jan 12, 2021

      It's not about the excitement they generate. It's what they can do for you while you drive them into the ground, rarely having to think about them then walk away.

  • Thegamper Thegamper on Jan 12, 2021

    Calling it right now: F-150, Genesis G80, Ford Mach-E

  • SCE to AUX Not sure where that photo came from, but it wasn't Canada.
  • Arthur Dailey Very few probably share my view, but I believe that the T-roof option is well worth that price.Bring back T-Tops!!!!!!!!
  • Arthur Dailey Referred to in the day as a 'mini-Corvette'.
  • MaintenanceCosts The 3rd gen acquired an unshakable reputation as a mullet-mobile, but the truth is it was one of the best car designs of the '80s, full stop. It's a beautiful car, especially in late-'80s IROC guise, which gave it the best-looking body kit bits in body color. These late RSs look heavy and all the scoops look silly.
  • FreedMike These were neat little cars. As I recall, you flipped the headlights open with a lever in the cockpit.