Ford, Hyundai Win North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year

Ford, Hyundai Win North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year


Ford and Hyundai took home a trio of influential awards for the top new and redesigned cars for 2021. The North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year Awards, decided by a panel of 50 automotive journalists, went to the redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 pickup truck as well as the all-new, all-electric 2021 Mustang Mach-E SUV. The redesigned 2021 Hyundai Elantra sedan, meanwhile, took top honors among cars.

Related: 2021 Ford F-150: 6 Things We Like, 3 We Don’t

In a sign of the times, both the Elantra and F-150 include their respective nameplates’ first-ever U.S. hybrid variants alongside gas-only models. The Mustang Mach-E, meanwhile, is Ford’s first all-electric SUV. The Elantra beat the Genesis G80 and Nissan Sentra as finalists for the car award, the F-150 beat the Jeep Gladiator Mojave and Ram 1500 TRX for the mantle among trucks, and the Mustang Mach-E topped the Genesis GV80 and Land Rover Defender among utility vehicles.

NACTOY, as it’s known, gives three awards each calendar year: one for best car, another for best truck and a third for best utility vehicle. As the acronym might signal, that wasn’t always the case. Historically known only as the North American Car and Truck of the Year, NACTOY formed in 1994 to award the best car and truck each year, with the latter category including pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs. Beginning in 2017, the organization formed a new category, Utility Vehicles, to split off most SUVs and minivans.

New or redesigned cars are generally eligible each calendar year, which usually coincides with the model year. (That doesn’t always happen, though: The Ford Ranger was a finalist for NACTOY’s 2020 truck award, even though it came as a late addition for the 2019 model year.) The 2020 edition saw the Chevrolet Corvette, Kia Telluride and Jeep Gladiator win NACTOY’s three awards.

Two editors, Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder and Assistant Managing Editor Kelsey Mays, are among NACTOY’s 50 jurors. Stay tuned for’s own Best Of awards in the weeks to come. From a handful of finalists, we award one top vehicle per calendar year, irrespective of segment. Last year saw our top honors land with the brand-new 2020 Hyundai Palisade.

More From

  • Redesigned 2021 Hyundai Elantra Starts at $20,645; Here’s What You Get
  • 2021 Ford F-150 Review: Keeping the Champion in Top Condition
  • 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E First Drive Review: Good Numbers, Harsh Ride
  • How the 2021 Hyundai Elantra Stands Out Vs. Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E Leans Into Muscle-Car Moniker With More Power, Speed

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