NACTOY finalist 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Photo: GM

In the next week, I and 49 other journalists must cast our final ballots for the 2020 North American car, truck and utility vehicle of the year.

Why it matters: I am trying to squeeze in extra seat time in the nine finalists that were announced in November, and my driveway has been extra crowded lately.

Here are some quick impressions of the top contenders, in no particular order:

Cars:

  • Chevrolet Corvette: The new mid-engine design provides stunning supercar performance in a $60,000 package, a fraction of European competitors.
  • Toyota Supra: A BMW Z4 wrapped in a Toyota suit. It's loads of fun to drive, but at roughly $50,000, it's similarly priced to the BMW.
  • Hyundai Sonata: Like the Corvette, it's a value story. Even the entry-level model, at $23,400, comes loaded with standard safety and driver-assistance features.

Trucks:

  • Ford Ranger: At $24,400–$36,500, the midsize pickup fills an important gap as trucks like the F-150 have gotten too pricey for ordinary folks.
  • Jeep Gladiator: A captivating midsize pickup based on the iconic Jeep Wrangler, but fully loaded, the price can climb above $50,000.
  • Ram Heavy Duty pickup: Ram 1500 was last year's winner, and the Heavy Duty is a super-sized version of that winning formula.

Utilities:

  • Lincoln Aviator: A beautiful, tranquil and luxurious three-row SUV, but Ford botched the production launch, which raises red flags.
  • Kia Telluride: Stylish and roomy, the three-row family hauler feels like a luxury SUV without the high price tag ($31,690–$43,490).
  • Hyundai Palisade: Sharing a platform with Telluride, it offers more standard equipment, like a push-button gear selector and paddle shifters.

Worth noting: We judge vehicles against competitors in their respective segments; not against each other.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,921,616 — Total deaths: 546,318 — Total recoveries — 6,506,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 3,035,231 — Total deaths: 132,042 — Total recoveries: 936,476 — Total tested: 36,878,106Map.
  3. Public health: Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: United warns employees it may furlough 45% of U.S. workforce How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: New York City schools will not fully reopen in fallHarvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.
1 hour ago - Health

Fighting the coronavirus infodemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An "infodemic" of misinformation and disinformation has helped cripple the response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: High-powered social media accelerates the spread of lies and political polarization that motivates people to believe them. Unless the public health sphere can effectively counter misinformation, not even an effective vaccine may be enough to end the pandemic.

Tulsa health official: Trump rally "likely contributed" to coronavirus spike

President Trump speaks at his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. on June 20, 2020. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's campaign rally and related protests in Tulsa in late June "more than likely" contributed to the area's recent surge in confirmed coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Public health officials, including Dart himself, had urged the campaign to postpone the rally, fearing that a large indoor gathering with few people wearing masks could accelerate the spread of the virus.