World-renowned for its safety engineering, Volvo has earned North America’s top automotive award for its all-new XC90 sport-utility. An independent group of 49 automotive journalists selected Volvo XC90 as the 2003 North American Truck of the Year.
The annual award honors vehicles that set new standards or will become benchmarks in their classes. Jurors evaluate them based on criteria including innovation, design, handling, safety and value. To be eligible, a vehicle must be “substantially new.” Volvo XC90 is a totally new vehicle for 2003.
“This isn’t exactly a truck,” said journalist Dan McCosh, a juror for the award. “But it is a vehicle that successfully answers most of the criticisms aimed at today’s upscale SUVs. McCosh credited Volvo XC90’s safety technology, highly functional interior design, and elegant design.
Read NCTD review of the 2003 Volvo XC90
“More wagon-like than most SUVs, the XC90 is a people friendly package that offers three rows of seating and advanced technology such as night vision,” said juror Matt DeLorenzo of Road & Track magazine. “Volvo’s reputation for safety is enhanced by such features as the XC90’s anti-rollover protection.”
The North American Truck of the Year award is unique because instead of being given by a single publication, radio or television show, it is voted upon by 49 full-time automotive journalists from the United States and Canada representing magazines, newspapers, and radio and television programs. Many of those on the jury have covered the auto industry for decades and evaluate 50 to 100 new vehicles a year. And they have no ties to one another.
The jurors voted in December, sending their ballots directly to accounting firm Deloitte & Touche. The ballots were counted by Richard Gabrys, vice chairman of Deloitte, who kept the winners secret until a news conference January 5, 2003, immediately prior the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Finalists for the North American Truck of the Year were Honda Element, Nissan Murano, Hummer H2. Nominees also included Land Rover Range Rover, Ford Expedition, Honda Pilot, Kia Sorento, Lexus GX 470, Lincoln Aviator, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Baja, Toyota 4Runner.
Chevrolet Trailblazer earned the 2002 North American Truck of the Year title. The awards were first given in 1994 and were patterned after the Car of the Year award given in Europe.
The North American awards are funded by the jurors and managed by a seven-member organizing committee, the members of which are also jurors. Those members are Alex Law (freelance), Tony Swan (Car and Driver), Michelle Krebs (freelance), Matt Nauman (San Jose Mercury News), Christopher Jensen (The Plain Dealer), John Davis (MotorWeek), and John McElroy (BlueSky Productions).