Honda Accord wins best car of year; Volvo XC60, Lincoln Navigator win best SUV, truck

Detroit Free Press

Lincoln, Volvo and Honda won the Oscars of the auto industry for 2018.

The 2018 Honda Accord was named North American Car of the Year. The Volvo XC60 was named Utility of the Year. The Lincoln Navigator was named Truck of the Year. The announcements helped kick off the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 15.

Kumar Galhotra, group vice president, Lincoln, and chief marketing officer for Ford, said winning the award fuels pride in the brand working to revitalize its image among consumers.

The comfortable and luxurious Navigator, with a base price of $72,055 excluding destination, features 30-way adjustable seats and laser-etched wood trim. The Lincoln badge on the grille lights up a soft blue-white when the car is running.

Runners-up in the truck category were the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the Ford Expedition.

In the highly competitive SUV category, Volvo XC60 prevailed with its beautiful Swedish design and loads of safety and driver-assistance features with a base price of $41,500.

Runners-up in the utility category were the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Honda Odyssey.

And finally, the trusted Honda Accord, a consumer favorite for more than 40 years, won the car of the year. The new, 10th-generation Accord, whose base price is $23,570 excluding destination, offers high fuel efficiency, nimble handling, sleek lines and the biggest trunk in a segment crowded with excellent cars.

"What you have is not only the most innovative Accord in years, but the most compelling car on the midsize sedan market," said Aaron Gold of AutomobileMag. "I'll be amazed if the all-new Accord doesn't turn out to be an extraordinarily strong seller."

Runners-up were the Toyota Camry and Kia Stinger.

The 60 jurors who vote on the awards come from all types of media — newspapers, radio, magazines, TV, digital-only from across the U.S. and Canada. They reflect viewpoints and outlets ranging from performance enthusiasts to business writers to the general consumer.

Industry leaders have monitored the list of winners over the past 24 years because it's created by a team of judges whose knowledge and preferences can forecast sales trends.

The truck category was recently separated into trucks and utilities. The sport utility vehicle category has grown into the largest category. To be eligible, a vehicle must be all new or significantly updated and go on sale this year.

The North American Car of the Year jury decided the Navigator is a truck for award purposes because its towing capacity — a class-leading 8,700 pounds. Workhorse capability like that is one of the key differentiators between the Navigator and many other luxury SUVs, said Mark Phelan, president of the jury and a columnist for the Detroit Free Press.

The vehicle evaluation process for this year's winners began in June by first assessing vehicle eligibility, and included three rounds of voting. Vehicles were selected based on segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value. Votes were tallied by Deloitte LLP and remained sealed until they were announced Monday.

The 2017 winners were the Chevrolet Bolt electric car, Honda Ridgeline pickup and Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

phoward@freepress.com

Twitter @phoebesaid

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