The moment you’ve been eagerly waiting for has finally arrived! On November 13th, Motor Trend announced the top three finalists in contention for its Motor Trend Awards "Golden Calipers" for Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, and SUV of the Year.
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"We're living in an automotive golden age, with so many truly excellent vehicles that boast such depth and breadth of features and capability. This made our 2019 Of The Year process that much more difficult, and you can see it in the strength of our finalists," says Motor Trend's SVP of Content and Editor-in-Chief Edward Loh. "We look forward to naming the well-deserved winners at our annual awards ceremony at the Petersen."
This year's Motor Trend Awards finalists were evaluated against six key criteria: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of intended function.
Twenty all-new or significantly updated cars with 36 variants representing the 2019 model year were in contention for Motor Trend Car of the Year. After a week of exhaustive testing and evaluation at the Hyundai-Kia California Proving Grounds, three podium finalists were chosen.
Challenging the long-standing European hegemony in compact luxury sedans, the G70 features punchy powertrains that support an agile, sporty chassis that's a ton of fun, wrapped in classy exterior styling with strong graphics and a well-appointed interior. Hyundai's luxury brand has created a premium car that is very good at almost everything.
This affordable, smartly packaged hybrid boasts thoughtful style and storage solutions, seamless/silent adaptive cruise control performance, and beautiful road manners. The Insight's lane-keeping assist is among the industry's best, while its smooth ride isn't just tops among hybrid vehicles—it's better than that of many luxury cars. Oh, and it gets 50 mpg without trying hard.
A fresh, modern interior with supremely comfortable seats and a thunderous Bowers & Wilkins stereo gives the platform-sharing Volvo S60 sedan and V60 wagon top marks. The base 2.0-liter turbo delivers solid all-around performance, meaning you don't have to pay extra for power. The V60's styling is so cool it could prompt a resurrection of the wagon
Based on testing staged from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Arizona proving grounds, the three podium finalists for Motor Trend's 2019 Truck of the Year represent the best of Detroit's truckmaking capabilities.
With a fabulous new exterior design, a fancy cylinder deactivation system, and an automatic trailer light test, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 shows great improvement. Every judge applauded the smoothness of the High Country's 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear bumper corner steps and three cargo hooks at each bed corner are great for functionality.
The MultiPro tailgate, adaptive ride control, and the late-available carbon-fiber bed help differentiate and elevate GM's premium truck. The 6.2-liter growls and pulls hard, and combined with the 10-speed transmission; it provides a powerful drive. A big, clear head-up display, sharp, flat handling, and excellent body control while towing will be a boon to long-distance cargo hauls.
The styling of the Ram is best-in-class: very sophisticated and well executed without going over the top. More impressive is an interior outfitted with the tools needed for both work and play. Coil-spring dampers and an optional air suspension provide a luxury-car-like ride, and segment-first mild-hybrid powertrains boost both power and fuel economy.
Automakers are developing powertrains that are smaller, smarter, more efficient, and more complex, making the SUV of the Year contest that much more challenging for the judges. Testing was staged out of Honda's proving grounds near Mojave, California, and after lengthy deliberation, three podium finalists were chosen from a field of 26 nameplates representing 36 variant.
The first all-electric SUV with adjustable ride-height for added off-roading capability, the I-Pace boasts about 200 miles of real-world battery range. Arguably the best-looking and most original automotive design in years, the I-Pace is a lovely handling machine with fantastic traction and instant electric power and torque—a rocket on the road.
The Wrangler is a thoughtful, thorough rework of an American original, configured to suit the ambitions of the off-roading neophyte and expert alike. The Wrangler is what crossovers want to be when they grow up while resisting the temptation to dilute its climb-that-mountain capabilities for crossover softness.
With jazzy, fun styling to appeal to millennials, the XC40 offers a great package and a ride that drivers of any age can appreciate. The familiar turbo-four engine and eight-speed automatic transmission provides quick acceleration, while the chassis delivers spirited steering response. The XC40 has an impressive array of safety features to go with its pugnacious swagger.