The Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s first electric vehicle designed, from the beginning, to be fully electric. It’s also the first four-door vehicle Ford has ever given the Mustang name.
The awards are voted on by a jury of 50 automotive journalists from publications and shows such as MotorWeek, CNet, and Car and Driver who make their selections from the all-new and substantially redesigned vehicles for the new model year. This year, 43 models were eligible for the award and more than half of those were some sort of SUV, said Gary Witzenburg, president of the North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year Awards.
The awards committee narrowed those down to three finalists for each of the three awards.
For the SUV of the Year award, the Mach-E beat out the Genesis GV80, a large luxury SUV produced by Hyundai, and the Land Rover Defender, which had already been named “SUV of the Year” by Motor Trend, an automotive enthusiast magazine.
“The Mustang Mach-E leapfrogs European [electric vehicles] as the Tesla Model Y’s most formidable challenger yet,” said Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, one of the jurors.
The Mach-E is priced similarly to the Model Y and also offers similar performance.
Ford also won the Truck of the Year Award for the new F-150, beating the Ram 1500 TRX performance truck and the new Jeep Gladiator pickup, based on the Jeep Wrangler. The new F-150 has a number of available features that were added after researchers from Ford tagged along with F-150 owners and watched them use their trucks at work, said Kumar Galhotra, president of Americas and international markets group for Ford. For instance, after noticing that drivers napped in their trucks, fully reclining front seats were created that go down completely flat like a cot.
The redesigned Hyundai Elantra, won the Car of the Year award, beating the Genesis G80 full size luxury car and the Nissan Sentra compact car.
While some automakers are dropping out of the compact car market altogether due to declining sales, José Muñoz, chief operating officer of Hyundai, said the Korean automaker is still committed to that market segment. Younger buyers, in particular, still prefer small, inexpensive cars like the Elantra, he said.
“We firmly believe in this segment and we will continue to invest and create great products within it,” he said.