2021 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year
Ford Motor Company had a big day in Detroit as the automaker’s all-new Mustang Mach-E electric crossover emerged victorious as the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year, alongside the all-new F-150 which captured the North American Truck of the Year prize. The other finalists for Utility Vehicle of the Year were the Genesis GV80 and the Land Rover Defender — two new entries in the still-smoldering SUV segment. Going an entirely new direction for the iconic pony car name, Mustang Mach-E is the first Mustang in the model’s more than 55-year history that is not a coupe or convertible — both of which remain in the Ford lineup.
“This recognition for Mustang Mach-E and F-150 is validation not only for our brand, but also for our Ford team, which continues to innovate and deliver on its commitment to creating must-have products and services,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Americas and international markets. “The North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards are among the most prestigious in the industry, and such an honor serves as a capstone achievement for years of hard work for the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 teams,” Galhotra observed.
One of the most advanced vehicles ever from Ford, the sleek electric Mustang Mach-E will be offered in five trim levels, with a choice of standard-range or extended-range batteries. Mustang Mach-E incorporates classic Mustang design cues such as the running Mustang pony logo and familiar Mustang sequential taillights. The wide stance, long hood, sleek roofline, sculpted side panels and bold fenders give Mach-E a high-performance look.
Mustang Mach-E will be available in standard range (68 kWh lithium-ion battery) or extended range (88 kWh battery), depending on trim level. The estimated range for the Mach-E in rear-wheel drive is 230 miles and 300 miles with the extended-range battery. In all-wheel drive, the estimates drop to 211 miles standard range and 270 miles extended range. The standard-range powertrain is rated at 266 horsepower and 317 lb-ft (RWD) or 428 lb-ft (eAWD) of torque. The extended range bumps up to 290 horsepower (RWD) or 346 horsepower (eAWD). The high-performance GT arrives later this year with all-wheel drive and dual electric motors generating 480 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque.
About the Award
The North American Utility Vehicle of the Year gets awarded each January in Detroit. Although most awards of this type are presented by an individual publication or study, this one remains unique because it’s based on ballots cast by an independent jury of automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. To be eligible, a vehicle must be all new or substantially redesigned. Winners excel in design, innovation, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. Here’s a look at past winners of this prestigious award.
2020: Kia Telluride
Kia took a bold step with its new midsize SUV and beat out two strong competitors – the Hyundai Palisade and Lincoln Aviator – to earn this coveted award. Designed specifically for the U.S. market at Kia’s design center in California, Telluride is built at Kia’s manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, alongside the Sorento SUV and Optima sedan. The Telluride design is deliberately boxy to recall larger, rugged truck-based SUVs of the past with key design elements such as a long hood, upright windshield and stacked headlights. Telluride is offered with a second-row 3-passenger bench seat for 8 occupants, or second-row captain’s chairs for a 7-position configuration. Kia focused on creating an upscale user experience with quality materials, particularly within the top-line Telluride SX with the Prestige Package, which includes double-stitched Napa leather ventilated seats, a premium headliner, head-up display and dual-panel sunroof.
2019: Hyundai Kona
Proving that the most expensive option is not always the best, the Hyundai Kona eclipsed two strong competitors to be named the 2019 North American Utility of the Year during the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.The Kona underscores the Korean automaker’s reputation for excellent value, wrapped in a fun-to-drive stylish crossover with looks that separate it from the rest of the CUV crowd. Built on an all-new platform with a choice of fuel-efficient engines or a fully-electric powertrain, the Kona has done well in the very crowded small-crossover marketplace.
2018: Volvo XC60
Volvo had some experience with winning at the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit — the larger XC90 won Truck of the Year in 2003 and in 2016. The XC60 carries on much of the styling and features of its larger sibling, so it made sense that it earned the top award last year. Built on the brand’s new Scalable Product Architecture, the 5-passenger XC60 is longer, wider and lower than the previous generation, which not only gives the new model a roomier interior — almost two more inches of rear-seat legroom — but also a more aggressive stance and better driving dynamics. Styling is now in line with the rest of the newer Volvos, with the signature “Thor’s Hammer” headlights and large Volvo logo in the grille. In many ways the XC60 is a smaller version of the popular XC90.
2017: Chrysler Pacifica
An all-new minivan for the 2017 model year, the Pacifica has modern styling and a slew of innovations; it is arguably the best minivan Chrysler has built since it created the category more than 30 years ago. Pacifica can be equipped with seating for up to eight occupants, which still leaves plenty of cargo space in the rear. Stow n’ Go seats can be folded into the floor for a completely flat cargo area all the way to the front seats. Passengers enjoy an available Uconnect Theater featuring a 10-inch high-res touchscreen display with a variety of inputs and integrated games. There’s even an available Stow ‘n Vac — a powerful vacuum cleaner located conveniently behind the second row, and easily accessible from any door opening. A plug-in hybrid version of the Pacifica is also available, making this the first hybrid minivan ever sold in America.