By Matt DeLorenzo
The choice of a hybrid car, traditional truck and electric utility underscores the diversity of today’s auto market.
Winners of the 2024 North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year were announced with the 2024 Toyota Prius/Prius Prime taking car honors, the 2024 Ford Super Duty pickup named top truck and the 2024 Kia EV9 securing honors for utility oof the year. The choices are a reflection of not only the diversity of the types of vehicles available to consumers today, but also a precursor of where things are headed in the future.
The awards program, which consists of 50 journalists representing print, on-line and broadcast outlets also marked its 30th anniversary. The awards were first given out in 1994 with the 1994 Mercedes-Benz C-Class and 1994 Dodge Ram taking car and truck of the year honors.
2024 North American Car of the Year
In taking the award for car of the year, the 2024 Toyota Prius and Prius Prime underscores the momentum surrounding hybrid technology that manufacturers must embrace in order to meet ever-tightening Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations. The standard Toyota Prius is rated at 57 mpg city/56 mpg highway for a combined rating of 57 mpg by the Environmental Protection Agency. The plug-in Prius Prime, while rated at a lower 52 mpg combined rating for its hybrid mode, delivers up to 44 miles of pure electric range.
“The Toyota Prius was the butt of jokes for its looks so long that the new one is unrecognizable–and stunningly attractive. It still has Prius fuel economy (40-50 mpg under any conditions), the Prime plug-in hybrid version has a lot more EV range, and I expect this year’s Prius to appeal to a whole new group of shoppers,” said John Voelcker, a juror and contributor to Car and Driver and Green Car Reports.
2024 North American Truck of the Year
Despite all the hoopla surrounding electric pickups, the choice of the 2024 Ford Super Duty as the truck of the year shows that when real work needs to be done, traditional full-size gas- or diesel-powered vehicles will be called upon to do the towing and hauling. The Super Duty came out on top against the mid-size 2024 Chevrolet Colorado and the all-electric 2024 Chevy Silverado EV work truck.
Juror Jack R. Nerad, who hosts the America On the Road radio show and podcast commented “The Ford Super Duty retains its leadership in the heavy-duty pickup truck category with its impressive towing, payload, torque, and horsepower figures. Its four engine choices are highlighted by the new standard 6.8-liter gasoline V8 and 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. And the big Super Duty is remarkably comfortable and easy to drive.”
2024 North American Utility of the Year
America’s love affair with sport utility vehicles continues unabated with the segment carving out larger and larger shares of the overall market. And as a reflection of the changes in the overall vehicle fleet, electrification is going to play a significant role as shown by the selection of the 2024 Kia EV9 as utility of the year. The Kia EV9 offers three rows of seating, up to 300 miles of range when equipped with the larger battery pack and a relatively affordable starting price of $54,900.
Juror John McElory of Autoline observed that “The Kia EV9 should scare the stuffing out of other mass market brands. Kia is rapidly moving upscale with head turning design and all the latest technology at prices below the premium brands. That’s a recipe for success.”
A former editor at Road & Track, Autoweek, Automotive News and Kelley Blue Book, Matt DeLorenzo has been covering the auto industry for decades. In addition, he’s authored several books covering everything from the history of the American car to the introduction of such notable vehicles as the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, Chrysler PT Cruiser, and Hummer H2. His latest book “How to Buy an Affordable Electric Car: A Tightwad’s Guide to EV Ownership” is a must-read for those thinking of going electric with their next car purchase. He is also a founding member and juror on the North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year Awards.