This year's selection for North American Truck of the Year was something of a sign of the times as the pool of nominees didn't really fit the traditional definition of "truck" – beasts of burden with features like a low range, open bed and/or body-on-frame construction. Not only were all three finalists crossovers (including the winning 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque), but so were the other four on the short list of nominees.

The jury has been monitoring the market's shift from body-on-frame SUVs to unibody-based crossovers for years now, and detailed discussions about whether to alter the name of its Truck of The Year award have been a staple conversation among members of the voting pool for perhaps half a decade. Those debates have finally bore fruit. Beginning with next year's award, instead of North American Truck of the Year, the hardware will be awarded as the North American Truck/Utility of the Year.

The name change should not only be a bit cleaner when it comes to including the market's ever-diversifying pool of crossovers, it will also afford room on the other end of the spectrum for the inclusion of heavy-duty full-size trucks, a segment of vehicles that previously weren't eligible. The change reflects another shift in the market, where vehicles like the Ford F-Series Super Duty and Ram 2500 HD are no longer being considered solely for purchase as work trucks – more and more everyday consumers are looking to them as capable daily drivers. The jury had previously considered only light-duty trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Toyota Tacoma for the award.

With the crossover segment mushrooming in popularity and diversifying rapidly, it's become difficult to readily classify what constitutes a crossover vehicle as opposed to a car. Branches of the U.S. government classify the exact same vehicle as a car and a truck, automakers invent new terminology to trumpet, journalists call them one thing and consumers end up labeling them another. The NACTOY jury will thus look to indicators like overall height and capability to help funnel eligible vehicles into the Car of the Year or Truck/Utility of the Year category.


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  • 14 Comments
      Ernie Mccracken
      • 3 Years Ago
      You guys need to get rid of these AOL pop-ups!
        You guy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ernie Mccracken
        You still need to use a less crappy browser.
      Leather Bear
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does this mean that PG&E or Con-Ed will be up for nomination next year?
      _I_I_II_I_I_
      • 3 Years Ago
      total BS. It took four paragraphs to explain it because it's not becoming simpler, clearer, and better-defined. It's becoming a harder-to-manage catchall. Bad move.
      Dreez28
      • 3 Years Ago
      What ever happened to SUV or Crossover? A Truck is functionally created for towing, hauling, and work in general. A lot of crossovers and modern SUVs can't tow, or really serve any off-road, or work related purpose worth mentioning. If urban drivers feel like buying one just to drive to work everyday and waste a bunch of money on gas, i don't think that changes a trucks intended purpose or definition.
        clearwater
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dreez28
        Get honest here, a lot of trucks never tow anything, never go off road, nor do any work related purposes either. Urban drivers feel like buying trucks just to drive to work every day and waste a bunch of money on gas.
          erjhe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @clearwater
          The common use of the vehicle does not define its intended purposes.
          Dreez28
          • 3 Years Ago
          @clearwater
          I think you missed the point. I have no problem with urban folks buying trucks to drive to work, I think its an enormous waste of gas and money on your part, but it's not my money so I don't care. My point was only that trucks were not built for work commutes. Their intended purpose remains the same no matter what people decide to use them for. If you just like trucks and want a truck to have a truck, I'm happy for you.
      erjhe
      • 3 Years Ago
      The name change is nice, but I still don't see how a Mini Countryman (one of the finalists) has any utility about it.
      teamplayers99
      • 3 Years Ago
      What diverse crossover selections? Another 20 years and we'll have 20 different badges on one identical egg with wheels.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Jake
      • 3 Years Ago
      Really tired of all of these "of the Year" awards. Most of them are meaningless and self-serving, intending to draw attention to the publication or organization issuing the award, rather than being a genuine award. Just manufactured news. I could name my own truck of the year and it would have the same amount of meaning. I name the Suzuki Kisashi truck of the year and the Ford F350 Super Duty as car of the year. That makes as much sense as any of them.
      JamesJ
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think Motor Trend should do this. This year there was only about 4 trucks eligible for the Truck Of The Year contest while there where about 50 for Car Of The Year.
      Sam Domett
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here in New Zealand a ute is very clearly defined. Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, VW Amarok etc. If it has a tray on the back of it it's a ute. Problem solved. We divide SUVs in terms of size.
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