The 2018 models of the Honda Accord, Lincoln Navigator, and Volvo XC60 emerged as the winners in the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year awards at Detroit’s North American International Automobile Show.

The Honda Accord collected the Car trophy, Truck went to the Lincoln Navigator, and Volvo’s XC60 took Utility honors.

It was the sixth time a Honda has won recognition by the North American Car of the Year jury, but a first for the Accord, now in its tenth generation. Volvo has two previous wins, in 2003 and 2016 for the XC90 SUV, and it was an outright first for Lincoln.

Now in their 24th year, the annual awards are based on voting by a 60-member jury composed of automotive writers and broadcasters from across the U.S. and Canada. Jury members represent print, broadcast, and digital media, Voting on the North American awards weighs design, innovation, safety, fun-to-drive, value, and significance within each vehicle’s market segment.

Also: Check out the latest news from the Detroit Auto Show

Independent jury

While the jury includes representatives from a number of publications, web sites, and broadcast outlets, it is fully independent, with no commercial ties. The voting is secret, and the ballots are tallied by Deloitte Detroit, the audit, accounting, and financial consulting firm.  The winners are unknown until Deloitte presents the results to the awards officers at the annual ceremony in Detroit’s Cobo Center. Although the awards are traditionally the opening event of the Detroit show, neither the show nor its Detroit Auto Dealers have an association with the award.

The annual voting yields three finalists in each category. For 2018 the finalists for the Car of the Year award were the Accord, Kia Stinger, and Toyota Camry; Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Honda Odyssey, and Volvo XC60 for the Utility title; and Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Ford Expedition, and Lincoln Navigator for the truck trophy.

Voting was closest among the Truck contenders, with the Navigator edging the Colorado, 212 to 200, and the Expedition third at 188. Orlando Sentinel auto reporter Steven Cole Smith observes that “the Navigator has a level of class and sophistication that suggests Lincoln is back, and in a big way.”

Honda’s Accord drew 277 points, the most of any of the nine finalists, with the Kia Stinger second at 246, and the Camry third at 77. Jim Cobb, former New York Times auto editor, had this to say about the new Honda: “While the Accord has long been among the best midsize family sedans, the latest version raises the bar—substantially—for the entire class.”

The Volvo XC60 enjoyed the most decisive winning margin with 246 points versus the Odyssey’s 182 and 172 for the Stelvio, the first Alfa Romeo vehicle ever to reach the finals of the award. Kelsey Mays, of cars.com, saw the Volvo as a recreation of “the XC90’s magic in a smaller, more affordable package …even the base XC60 is a mighty appealing SUV.”

The author, along with Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader Executive Publisher Karl Brauer and Matt DeLorenzo, Kelley Blue Book Managing Editor, News are jurors for North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year Awards.  

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