This week the winner of the 2013 North American Truck/Utility of the Year award was announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI. Taking top honours this year was the Ram 1500, which beat out finalists Ford C-Max and Mazda's CX-5 crossovers.
This year was Chrysler's third truck win and the second for the Ram 1500, which last won the title in 1994, when it was called the Dodge Ram 1500. It's the 13th time that North American manufacturers have won. The 2012 North American Truck of the Year award winner was the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.
Also on the shortlist for this year's honour were the Nissan Pathfinder, Hyundai Santa Fe, Audi Allroad, Ford Escape, Acura RDX, BMW X1, Ford C-Max and the Infiniti JX 35.
Michigan built vehicles won both the Truck/Utility and Car categories in this year's awards. This is big news for Detroit, and the North American auto industry in general. After making it's way from the recession, government bailouts, bankruptcies and reorganizations, the wins are welcome news for manufacturers, supporting industry and local economies.
This year the name of the award changed slightly to reflect the diversity of models that are included in the category. In the past, the award only acknowledged pickup trucks and was known as Truck of the Year. Now minivans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossovers utility vehicles (CUVs) are eligible to win the honour as well. To be considered, a truck/utility vehicle must be a new model or substantially changed from previous versions.
The Ram 1500 is a full size light duty half-ton pickup truck that is geared towards both power and performance. The new model is equipped with significant interior upgrades setting a new benchmark for luxury and comfort in a pickup truck. Boasting an increase of 42% horsepower and unusually smooth ride, the 1500 has available options including an 8.4 inch touch screen and a wifi hotspot. This unprecidented level of comfort will make the truck more appealing to the daily driver to compliment it's traditional use as a worksite utility. It is also the most fuel efficient model in it's class.
Now in their 20th year, the North American Truck/Utility of the Year award is given to the winning truck/utility on criteria such as safety, design, innovation, driver satisfaction, comfort and value for the dollar. The eligible vehicles are judged by a group of 49 automotive journalists from magazines, newspapers, internet, radio and television; from both the US and Canada.
The Ram 1500 also won Motor Trend's 2013 Truck of the Year award. As there is no truck category, it will not be eligible for the 2013 AJAC (Automotive Journalists Association of Canada) awards.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca