Chevy Corvette, Kia Telluride, Jeep Gladiator take vehicle of the year honors
2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray
credit | General Motors

Chevy Corvette, Kia Telluride, Jeep Gladiator take vehicle of the year honors

North American Car/Truck/Utility of the Year awards voted on by a panel of automotive journalists to recognize design, manufacturing excellence.

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Detroit, Michigan – After hundreds of hours of test drives, research and evaluation by independent jurors, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Kia Telluride, and Jeep Gladiator were revealed as the winners of the 2020 North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) awards at TCF Center in Detroit.

Traditionally handed out at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), the awards came at a special event this year as NAIAS has moved to June from January.

These awards are chosen by a panel of 50 jurors from print, online, radio, and broadcast media across the U.S. and Canada – rather than by a single publication or media outlet. Jurors voted on the finalists based on segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction, and value for the dollar. The process began in June 2019 with determination of vehicle eligibility and included three rounds of voting. Votes were tallied confidentially by Deloitte LLP and remained secret until envelopes were unsealed on stage by NACTOY President Lauren Fix, Vice President Chris Paukert, and Secretary-Treasurer Kirk Bell.

“These awards would not be possible without the hard work, professionalism and insight of all of our jurors along with the cooperation throughout the year from all of the automotive companies,” Fix said. “Now in our 26th year, we are proud that both automakers and consumers recognize the value our awards provide to new car buyers.”

Car of the Year

Overall U.S. car sales might be declining, but there was no shortage of compelling, innovative contenders this year. When the ballots were counted, jurors selected Chevrolet Corvette Stingwray as the car that stood out among its competition.

“A mid-engine Corvette was a huge risk for Chevy’s muscle-car icon. They nailed it. Stunning styling, interior, and performance for one-third of the cost of comparable European exotics,” said Henry Payne, auto critic for The Detroit News.

The Corvette the other finalists, Toyota’s Supra and Hyundai’s Sonata. The vehicle is perhaps a bit too popular with some of GM's employees, but that's a different story.

Utility Vehicle of the Year

credit | Kia Motors North America
2020 Kia Telluride

In the increasingly popular utility segment, automakers must look for that magical combination of design, features and functionality. This year, jurors decided the Kia Telluride deserved top honors.

“The Telluride’s interior layout and design would meet luxury SUV standards, while its refined drivetrain, confident driving dynamics and advanced technology maintain the premium experience,” said Karl Brauer, Executive Publisher at Cox Automotive. “Traditional SUV brands take note: there’s a new star player on the field.”

The Telluride also beat is corporate twin, the Hyundai Palisade, and the Lincoln Aviator.

Truck of the Year

The truck category reflected the growing popularity of mid-size trucks as the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator squared off against the Ram Heavy Duty. Ultimately, jurors selected the Jeep Gladiator as the winner.

credit | Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)
2020 Jeep Gladiator

“What’s not to like about a pickup truck with not only a soft-top removable roof but even removable doors? If you want massive cargo-hauling capability or the ability to tow 10,000 lb, buy something else,” said longtime automotive journalist John Voelcker. “The eagerly awaited Gladiator is a one-of-a-kind truck, every bit the Jeep its Wrangler sibling is … but with a pickup bed. How could you possibly get more American than that?”