A jury of more than 50 car reviewers today named the Hyundai Elantra, Ford F-150, and Ford Mustang Mach-E winners of the 2021 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY) Awards.
This year’s winner’s circle puts electrified drivetrains in the spotlight: the Mustang Mach-E is an all-electric crossover, and the Elantra and F-150 lineups both include hybrids that are new for 2021. Also, more than half of this year’s field of 46 eligible models were crossover utility vehicles.
Hyundai’s Elantra economy car beat out the Genesis G80 mid-size luxury car and Nissan Sentra compact sedan. The Elantra’s sharp new design belies relatively ordinary powertrains that start with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine, and also include a 1.6L engine that works with electric power in the hybrid and gets turbo power in sportier N-Line models. Inside, the Elantra is notable for high-tech features like a digital gauge cluster.
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Winning the Truck of Year award is the Ford F-150 full-size pickup. Ford redesigned its best-selling truck for 2021, lending it a new look and a hybrid powertrain whose 570 lb-ft of torque is the most of any F-150 in the model’s history. The F-150 Hybrid adds electric power to a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that otherwise makes 400 hp and 500 lb-ft. Other changes include higher payload and tow ratings. The truck category’s other contenders were the Jeep Gladiator Mojave and Ram 1500 TRX, a pair of specialized models designed for extreme off-road running.
This year’s third winner is the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which the jury named its top pick in the Utility Vehicle of the Year category, in which it beat out the Genesis GV80 and Land Rover Defender. Ford has positioned the Mach-E as a mid-range EV that builds on the popularity of crossovers and the long history of the Mustang nameplate. It offers performance ranging from a modest 266 hp to a version with 480 hp/634 lb-ft that will face off against vehicles like the Tesla Model X and Audi’s E-Tron, but at a more affordable price.
This year's jurors included autoTRADER.ca contributor Lesley Wimbush and editor-in-chief Jodi Lai.
"The winners this year really raise the benchmark for their respective automakers and for the automotive industry as a whole," said Lai. "They earned their wins with innovation, consumer relevance, and overall excellence."