The North American Car of the Year Awards, or "NACTOY" for short, have been a fixture of Detroit's International Auto Show in January since 1994. The show itself has moved to September, but the awards have maintained their traditional January timeslot.
Here's how it works: a panel of 50 automotive journalists from North America votes on the winners for the best car, the best pickup truck, and the best sport-utility vehicle. Last year's winners were the Honda Civic, Ford Maverick and Ford Bronco respectively.
Here is the full list of 2023 finalists (here are the 26 semifinalists, if you're interested). In a sign of the times changing, six of the nine finalists were electric vehicles.
- North American Car of the Year: Acura Integra, Genesis Electrified G80, Nissan Z
- North American Truck of the Year: Ford F-15o Lightning, Chevrolet Silverado ZR2, Lordstown Endurance
- North American SUV of the Year: Cadillac Lyriq, Genesis GV60, Kia EV6
North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year Winners
Acura revived the Integra nameplate with a more upscale take on the Honda Civic Si — which we had mixed opinions about in testing. One could technically term it a second-straight win for the 11th-generation Civic. It beats out the electrified Genesis G80 sedan and the new Z, which Nissan has struggled to get to customers.
Truck of the Year was the least suspenseful category, as the Ford F-150 Lightning dispatched Chevrolet's new off-roader, the Silverado ZR2, and the Lordstown Endurance electric pickup. The Lightning — we should note — picked up our Game Changer award in the GP100 last month.
It's hard to beat Ford reinventing an American icon for the electric era and not just doing a good enough job, but making it more practical and more compelling for many buyers. The only drawback is the exceedingly long waitlist while Ford ramps up production to meet demand.
All three finalists for SUV were electric vehicles. The Kia EV6 — a fixture on our best cars list — beat out its equally excellent cousin the Genesis GV60 and Cadillac's first electric effort, the Lyriq.
The EV6 is a worthy winner — we'd probably take the standard version over the new fire-powered but low-range GT model. But we were surprised not to see the BMW iX or Rivian R1S make the list of finalists. We also were kind of shocked the Lexus LX 600 and Subaru Solterra did not even make the semifinalist list.
Fancy new electric cars? Naturally-aspirated sports cars? We're here (and excited) to judge.