Oct 21, 2022 - Economy

I drove dozens of cars and trucks to pick the market's best vehicles

side by side images of the author checking out the new Endurance electric pickup truck from Lordstown Motors

The electric Endurance pickup truck from startup Lordstown Motors. Photos: Joann Muller/Katie Sharp

I just completed my favorite assignment of the year: three days of driving the newest crop of cars and trucks on the market to pick the industry's best.

Why it matters: I'm one of 50 automotive journalists on the jury for the annual North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.

  • Our three-day comparison meetup each fall is an opportunity to drive the vehicles back-to-back on some of the finest — and worst — roads in southeast Michigan.

The big picture: There were 25 semifinalists across three categories — car, truck and sport utility — and multiple variations of many vehicles so we could sample the full array of powertrains and trim levels.

  • In all, I tried to drive 52 vehicles over three days. (I didn't quite make it.)

Details: 12 of the 25 semifinalists are electric — a record — indicating how fast the industry is pivoting away from gasoline.

  • Many of the EVs are not yet available, including the Nissan Ariya crossover and the Endurance pickup truck (the first product from newbie Lordstown Motors).
  • Plenty of great hybrids and gas-powered models are in contention too, including new versions of the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Lexus RX utilities.

My thought bubble: I haven't finalized my picks yet, especially in the competitive utility segment. But some of my favorites include the Cadillac Lyriq, Kia EV6 and Rivian R1S.

  • In the pickup category, the Lordstown Endurance will be hard-pressed to top Ford's F-150 Lightning pickup.

What to watch: This could be the first year that the winners in all three categories are electric.

  • Finalists will be announced in November, with winners named in early January.
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