The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, the first mass-market, affordable electric car from a domestic automaker is the 2017 North American Car of the Year, the committee announced Monday at the Detroit auto show.
The winners were winnowed down from a list of 43 nominees. The Bolt EV, Pacifica, and Ridgeline were selected from a group of finalists that included the Genesis G90 and Volvo S90 for car of the year; Ford Super Duty and Nissan Titan for truck of the year; and, Jaguar F-Pace and Mazda CX-9 for utility vehicle of the year.
Insiders fast-tracked the Bolt EV for the award early on. It was named Green Car Reports Best Car to Buy 2017, Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, named to Car and Driver’s 10Best, and a slew other industry awards. The 238-mile EV went on sale late last year, and Chevrolet has been slowly sending cars to dealers across the country.
The small Bolt EV impressed our experts with its long range, spacious interior, and affordable price.
Chrysler’s long-awaited replacement for the Town & Country minivan arrived in 2016 and revived the Pacifica nameplate for 2017. The big, family hauler impressed our critics with its versatility and space, and a plug-in hybrid version wowed with its 84 mpge rating and 33-mile all-electric range.
Perhaps the closest competition this year was for the pickup truck award, which was hotly contested between Nissan, Honda, and Ford. Jurors eventually landed on the Ridgeline because of its relative comfort and accommodations. Although full-size trucks vastly outpaced mid-sizers in 2016, smaller pickups like the Honda Ridgeline clawed back into relevancy because of their near-full-size capability.
Last year the Honda Civic and Volvo XC90 were named car and truck of the year, respectively.
To be eligible for the awards, a vehicle had to be new or substantially changed for the current year. The vehicles also had to be popular sellers, which ruled out many niche products including exotic cars.
For more from the Detroit auto show, head to our dedicated hub.
Note to readers: Four staff writers from Internet Brands Automotive are jurors for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. Marty Padgett, Kirk Bell, Mitch McCullough, and John Voelcker voted in this year’s competition.