DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.'s new electric Mustang Mach E is the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year, and the company's F-150 pickup won truck honors from a group of auto journalists.
Hyundai's Elantra compact car took Car of the Year as all three awards were announced during a webcast.
About 50 automotive journalists serve as judges for the three awards, which are announced every January. They're chosen from dozens of candidates and must be new or substantially changed. Automakers often use the awards in advertising.
The judges evaluate finalists on value, innovation, design, performance, safety, technology and driver satisfaction. The selection process started last summer.
Utility of the Year finalists included the Mach E as well as the Genesis GV80 and the Land Rover Defender. Pickup finalists included the F-150 as well as the Jeep Gladiator Mojave and Ram 1500 TRX.
In addition to the Elantra, car finalists included the Genesis G80 and the Nissan Sentra.
10 vehicles worth taking for a spin in 2021:
Top test drives
2021 Cadillac Escalade
Customers expect Cadillacs to be generously sized, commanding in performance, exceptionally comfortable and convenient, and wrapped in flamboyant, unapologetic attire. The redesigned 2021 Escalade is the first true new Cadillac in decades. It’s an indulgent, intelligent return to form that’s masterfully executed, and brimming with state-of-the-art technology. $77,490
2020 Mazda CX-30
The CX-30 is sublime understatement inside and out, visual haiku that’s strikingly elegant and clever in its design. Better yet, it’s an engagingly fun vehicle to drive. Its sophisticated charisma outshines its many competitors, making it a must-drive alternative in what is otherwise a rather humdrum market segment. $21,900
2020 Hyundai Sonata
The redesigned Sonata exudes a combination of art and understanding that projects an elegant simplicity that feels more premium than it is. Its design is mirrored in its driving demeanor; handling is noticeably better. It makes a compelling case for being the best in its segment. And the hybrid easily returns an astonishing 51 mpg. $23,600
2020 Subaru Legacy
Personifying the finest qualities of life in the middle of the road, the Subaru Legacy is handsome and approachable, exuding a refreshingly refined no-nonsense level-headedness. Agile but not sporty, it doesn’t tempt you into indulging yourself with your right foot. But its sophisticated drive line is effortless to drive smoothly. $23,645
2021 Acura TLX A-Spec
A welcome return to form for a brand that has been far too bland for far too long. All-new for 2021, the TLX is the best iteration of Acura’s midsize sedan since the 2004-2008 Acura TL. Its turbocharged four packs a significant performance punch. You’ll find the new TLX’s cabin to be a fairly rewarding place to pass the miles. $47,275
2021 Ford F-150 King Ranch Hybrid
Ford’s full-size pickup accounted for nearly 1% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. last year. It’s easy to understand why. It’s quiet and comfortable, and features opulent interiors and first-class technology. Something new: a 3.5-liter PowerBoost Full Hybrid V-6 with an EPA rating of 24 mpg. $59,755
2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
While its birth was GM’s answer to European sports cars, the newest iteration is perhaps its most radical to date. Try buying a European car with this level of performance, engineering and technology for less than $60,000. You can’t. That why the latest Corvette is the best sports car you can buy. $59,800
2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic All-Terrain
Although its name is vaguely SUV-like, this is a station wagon, albeit with outdoors aspirations. A turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six and a 48-volt hybrid system supplants last year’s twin-turbo V-6. Returning 24 mpg, it has a refined, spirited and fun driving demeanor.
Call it a wagon or not, it’s up to you. $68,650
2021 Genesis G90
In an era when most Americans have become truck drivers, the Genesis is a reassuring nod to tradition — a full-size luxury sedan that’s comfortable, quiet, capable and possessing a unique air equal to its station. It’s the type of car that American automakers once built but no longer do. Thankfully, Genesis does, even if Detroit won’t. $72,950
2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost
In these dissonant times, when tradition is too often met with contempt and suspicion, the freshly redesigned Ghost arrives with its best attributes intact. It still delivers the most seamless driving experience you’ll ever encounter. The Ghost is a dose of reassurance in an age when everything seems to have come unhinged. $332,500