Every year the 2017 North American International Auto Show kicks off with the North American Car of the Year Awards. We say "awards" after all those mentions of our home continent because it's not just cars. This year, in fact, the awards spread out to three separate honors: Car, Truck, and Utility.
And without further ado, here are the winners. The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is the Car of the Year, the Honda Ridgeline is the Truck of the Year, and the Chrysler Pacifica is the Utility of the Year.
Honda's win is perhaps the biggest surprise, upsetting favorite the Ford F Super Duty for the win. The second-generation Ridgeline rides on a unibody platform and is offered in front- or all-wheel-drive, which is unconventional for a pickup. But the layout also offers a cargo bed with an in-floor trunk and solid fuel economy figures of 19 city, 26 highway in its most-efficient form. The Chevy Bolt EV, however, was probably the easiest winner to predict. Its 238-mile range and sub-$30,000 starting price after tax credits make it a breakthrough in the landscape of electric vehicles.
With the Chrysler Pacifica available in a plug-in hybrid form, this year's award illustrates the industry's shift towards efficiency and electrification. And with Ford's recent announcement on future EVs, it might not be long will it be until we see a hybrid truck on the award stage as well.