Jan 4, 2024 - Business

2024's best cars and trucks reflect automakers' generational shift

Three photos: Toyota Prius, Kia EV9 and Ford Super Duty truck

The Toyota Prius, Kia EV9 and Ford Super Duty pickup (clockwise from top left) won top honors for 2024. Images courtesy of Toyota, Kia and Ford

The Toyota Prius, the Ford Super Duty and the Kia EV9 are the winners of the 2024 North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year awards.

Why it matters: The fact that the year's best vehicles feature a variety of powertrains — hybrid, gasoline and electric battery — is a reflection of the historic transition underway in the auto industry.

The big picture: The winners were chosen from a preliminary list of 52 eligible vehicles, after three rounds of independently verified voting, stemming from hundreds of hours of test driving, research and evaluation.

  • Cars are judged on automotive innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction, user experience and value.
  • Of note: I'm one of 50 automotive journalists on the jury.

Details: The winners were announced Thursday during a joint press conference with the Detroit Area Dealers Association and the Automotive Press Association.

  • The redesigned Toyota Prius hybrid (along with the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid version) was named car of the year, beating the electric Hyundai Ioniq 6 sedan and gas- or hybrid-powered Honda Accord.
  • The Ford Super Duty, used mostly for hauling and towing, beat two Chevrolet truck models: the new Silverado EV and the midsize Colorado.
  • Kia's EV9 — the first three-row electric SUV for families — was the best utility of the year, beating the Genesis Electrified G70 and the Hyundai Kona (available in both gas and electric versions).

Joann's thought bubble: All are deserving award winners, even if my choices were different. (That's why we add the votes of all 50 jurors!)

  • While I admire the look of the new Prius, I voted for the Ioniq 6 because of its spacious and modern interior and fun-to-drive qualities.
  • I also preferred the Colorado over the Super Duty, although I recognize they serve different purposes.
  • As for the EV9, it's great — except for the location of the ignition button on the shifter stalk, too close to the steering column. I'm in love with the Electrified G70.
  • Here's a summary of the best cars I drove in 2023.
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