2017 North American Car of the Year

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Updated: January 9, 2017

After closely examining all of the new vehicles launched for the 2017 model year, a large jury of independent automotive journalists voted to give their highest awards to the Chevrolet Bolt, the Chrysler Pacifica, and the Honda Ridgeline.

The Chevrolet Bolt electric car received 364 points from the jury of 60 automotive journalists across the United States and Canada to earn the title North American Car of the Year. Bolt boasts an EPA-estimated range of 238 miles on a full battery charge. The compact, four-door hatchback retails for $37,495, though GM says federal tax credits can lower the tab to $29,995.

2017-natotyThe North American Car of the Year awards honor excellence in innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value.

About 60 professional automotive journalists representing newspapers, magazines, TV, the internet, and radio stations in the U.S. and Canada participated in the voting.

“These three awards are the most prestigious product awards in the auto industry, and for good reasons,” explained Mitch McCullough, editor-in-chief of New Car Test Drive, and a juror who has voted for the awards for the past 20 years. “There is great diversity among the journalists and, because we all work for different outlets and organizations, there is no chance of collusion.

“We spent months test driving and studying the new 2017 models before voting. The vehicles are so good that there is often disagreement among us as to which one is best.”

The Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup earned the North American Truck of the Year title. “Built like a car, Ridgeline drives like a car but features a pickup bed with a trunk and a tailgate that swings two ways,” McCullough said. “A relatively smooth rider, it’s a terrific alternative to a car for someone who needs to haul stuff.”

2017-nauvotyThe Chrysler Pacifica minivan was named North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. “Convenience, versatility and functionality are the most important features of a large family vehicle, and the design and features of the Pacifica make it an easy car to live with for every day errands and family transportation,” McCullough said. “Its independent rear suspension, a rarity on minivans due partly to higher cost, helps with ride quality and handling. Because it’s a minivan, the Pacifica had to be very good to beat a herd of great sport-utilities.”

The awards were announced January 9 at the 2017 Detroit auto show, though the awards are independent and in no way are connected with the show.