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