Ford scores US double win with Truck and SUV of the Year awards

Ford has bagged two of the three titles at the 2021 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY) Awards.

a car driving on a mountain road: 2021 NACTOY Winners (C) Provided by Motoring Research 2021 NACTOY Winners

The Blue Oval saw the brand-new 2021 F-150 pickup take glory in the Truck category, whilst the all-electric Mustang Mach-E was a winner in the Utility class.  Hyundai can also celebrate, with the latest Elantra picking up the prestigious Car of the Year Award for 2021. 

Doubling down on success

a car parked on the side of a road: 2021 NACTOY Winners (C) Provided by Motoring Research 2021 NACTOY Winners

A win for the Mustang Mach-E will be a major endorsement of Ford's move into the electric crossover SUV market. Purists may were initially upset at the Mustang name on a battery electric model, but NACTOY jurors believed it was the right decision.

They marked the Mustang Mach-E ahead of the reborn Land Rover Defender, and the Genesis GV80 - the first SUV from Hyundai's luxury brand.  The company has taken a less radical approach with the new F-150 pickup truck, now into a fourteenth generation. However, the F-150 has been the best-selling pickup in America for the past 44 years meaning the stakes are still high. 

Ford's pickup triumphed ahead of the desert-orientated Jeep Gladiator Mojave, and the 700 horsepower Ram 1500 TRX.

Gallery: 2021 What Car? Car of the Year Awards: the shortlist (What Car?)

a car parked in a parking lot: The cars in contention to take home the overall What Car? Car of the Year Award for 2021 have been revealed.
pThe winner will be announced on 14 January, as the culmination of a week-long, entirely digital event, held in association with ALA Insurance. In addition to the overall Car of the Year, What Car? will name winners in 26 categories, ranging from small SUVs to pick-up trucks. What Car? is renowned for its thoroughness when assessing new cars, with all models driven back to back with their rivals on road and track, and practicality, reliability and running costs all factored into its final verdicts.
pThe What Car? Awards have been running since 1978, but have been reimagined as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with a greater emphasis than ever on reaching a large, highly engaged consumer audience and ensuring that they are the most influential car-buying awards in the calendar. To qualify for the overall Car of the Year Award, a car has to have been launched in the previous 12 months, and it needs to be available to order by the time of the ceremony.
pClick through this slideshow for more information about each car, as well as links to our full written reviews of each model, and to What Car? New Car Buying, where we guarantee to find you a great deal. Cars are presented in alphabetical order.

Elation for the Hyundai Elantra

a car parked in front of a building: 2021 NACTOY Winners (C) Provided by Motoring Research 2021 NACTOY Winners

The new Hyundai Elantra claimed the important 2021 Car of the Year trophy, beating the Genesis G80 and Nissan Sentra. 

With four-door coupe styling, and a bold interior inspired by aircraft cockpit, the new Elantra is certainly distinctive. Hyundai was praised for launching a new hybrid version, along with a performance N Line model.  It made for radically different winner compared to the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which took the prize in 2020.

A competitive year for all concerned

a car parked in a parking lot (C) Provided by Motoring Research

Judging the 2021 event was tough, according to those making the decisions.

Juror Paul Eisenstein commented that he could not "recall a year when the finalists all were so deserving." The NACTOY Awards were first established in 1994, and are now the longest-running independent motoring accolades. Some 50 jurors drawn from print, radio, and online media come together to make their picks each year.  Due to coronavirus, a virtual event was used to announce the winners this year.

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