DETROIT - The Oscars of the North American International Auto Show went to Honda, Volvo and Lincoln early Monday.
The 2018 Honda Accord was named Car of the Year. The Volvo XC60 was named Utility of the Year. The Lincoln Navigator was named Truck of the Year.
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. In accepting the award onstage, he acknowledged the designers, suppliers and the UAW workers who assemble the product.
"This is such great news!" said Amy Marentic, president of Lincoln China, reached by phone in Shanghai at 9:30 p.m. her time. "This is really, truly incredible. It is so important in China to have a quality brand with heritage and culture. The recognition means so much to us."
Awards are noticed by Chinese consumers, Marentic said, and they make up the largest and fastest-growing market in the world.
The comfortable and luxurious Navigator 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.
2018 Free Press Truck of the Year: Lincoln Navigator combines world-class luxury, towing
In the highly competitive SUV category, Volvo XC60 prevailed with its beautiful Swedish design and loads of safety and driver-assistance features. Its distinguishing qualities include a very large power sunroof and lean lines. The interior is roomy and comfortable, with trim made from salvaged driftwood.
Runners-up in the utility category were the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Honda Odyssey.
2018 Free Press Utility Vehicle of Year: Volvo XC60 delivers style, advanced features
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 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. “Other manufacturers may be giving lip service to the segment, but Honda is putting its money where its mouth is. 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.
2018 Free Press Car of the Year: Honda Accord is advanced, fun, efficient and affordable
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.
Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: 313-222-6512 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid.
© 2018 Detroit Free Press