The North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award is now in its second year, and has been awarded to the completely redesigned Volvo XC60. The Swedish crossover bested two very strong competitors: the Honda Odyssey and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
Volvo has 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 makes sense that it earned the top award this year.
“We are so proud the XC60 has won this prestigious award,” said President and CEO of Volvo Cars USA Anders Gustafsson. “It is a very tough competition and we thank all the judges for recognizing the great style, technology, and engineering in the XC60. All car shoppers should take a test drive to see for themselves how great it really is.”
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.
Not surprisingly, all Volvo XC60 trims feature the latest in high-tech safety equipment. This includes low and high-speed collision mitigation; pedestrian, bicycle and large animal detection; lane-keeping aid, run-off road mitigation and protection; and automatic braking after a collision. Volvo also offers rear collision warning with braking, blind spot alert with steering assist, cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving as available features.
The Volvo XC60 is available with a variety of powertrains, including a powerful plug-in hybrid that uses a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged to power the front wheels, while an electric motor powers the rears. The two power sources combine to deliver up to 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is impressive — the XC60 T8 can reach 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. The EPA rates the T8 at 59 MPGe when operating in electric mode, then 26 mpg combined when operating as a hybrid.
About the Award
The winner in the new category of North American Utility Vehicle of the Year is awarded each January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Although most accolades of this type are presented by an individual publication or study, the NAUVOY award is 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. According to the group, winners excel in design, innovation, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
2017 Winner: Chrysler Pacifica
As 2017 was the first year of this award, the Chrysler Pacifica is the only past winner. 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.