The Motor Trend Car of the Year (COTY) is an annual Car of the Year award given by Motor Trend magazine to recognize the best new or significantly refreshed car in a given model year.
Motor Trend, which debuted in 1949, was the first publication to name a Car of the Year. The inaugural Motor Trend Car of the Year award recognized Cadillac's V8 engine in 1949 .
The earliest awards were given to the manufacturer or division, not for a specific vehicle. The 1958 Ford Thunderbird became the first single model to be selected. In 1970, the Ford Torino won the COTY while Motor Trend selected the Porsche 914 for its first Import COTY award.
In 1972, the low-volume imported Citroën SM won the overall COTY award. Between 1976 and 1999, the COTY award was split in two: Domestic COTY and Import COTY.
The trophy was recombined in 2000 because the distinctions between domestic and import cars became increasingly difficult. The award has expanded to include a pickup truck (starting in 1979) and a separate sport utility vehicle (starting in 1999), which are recognized separately from the Car of the Year.
Over time, other publications and organizations have copied Motor Trend's Car of the Year award and created their own. These COTY designations may focus on regional markets, vehicle types, specific market segments, or other criteria. Some examples include the European Car of the Year that began in 1964 by a collective of automobile magazines, the Green Car of the Year selected by a panel of automotive and environmental experts, the Tow Car of the Year chosen by selected sponsors in the industry, and the Fleet Car of the Year that is voted by professional fleet managers.
Motor Trend's Car of the Year is "one of the most prestigious honors bestowed in the auto industry."
The trophy for the winner, a depiction of calipers, is often used in the winning automaker's marketing and advertising. Most cars that win the award report a spike in sales.
To be eligible for the award, a car must be an "all-new" or "substantially upgraded" vehicle that has been on sale within twelve months from the previous November, vehicles that have been on sale for over five years are ineligible for the award.
Between the contenders, it is not a comparison test. In 2014 as an example, the Motor Trend judges debated and evaluate each vehicle against six key criteria:
|Design Advancement||well-executed exterior and interior styling; innovative vehicle packaging; selection of materials|
|Engineering Excellence||vehicle concept and execution; clever solutions to packaging, manufacturing and dynamics issues; cost-effective technology that benefits the consumer|
|Efficiency||low fuel consumption and carbon footprint, relative to the vehicle's competitive set|
|Safety||active: help the driver avoid a crash; secondary: protect occupants from harm during a crash|
|Value||competitive price and equipment levels, measured against vehicles in the same market segment|
|Performance of Intended Function||how well the vehicle does the job its planners, designers, and engineers intended|
Motor Trend also only considers cars with base MSRPs less than $100,000 in order to avoid expensive luxury and super cars dominating the competition.
Vehicles are subjected a battery of tests: standard car tests such as skid-pad ratings, acceleration and quarter-mile times, and evaluations of the interiors are combined with a track run conducted by Sports Car Club of America-licensed testers and taking the cars out on normal roads to test their drivability under normal conditions, and fuel economy. Trucks and SUVs add towing capacity and speed, plus an off-road course, to the normal regimen.
Car of the Year WinnersEdit
Note that in 1970 and between 1976-2000, the Car of the Year award was split into two categories, domestic and import.
Import Car of the Year WinnersEdit
Introduced in 1970 for one year and then brought back in 1976 due to differences between imports and American cars. The award was discontinued after the 1999 model year when the difference between what was a domestic and an import had started to become problematic.
|1999||Volkswagen New Beetle|
|1992||Lexus SC 400|
|1991||Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4|
|1990||Nissan 300ZX Turbo|
|1989||Mitsubishi Galant GS|
|1988||Honda CR-X Si|
|1987||Acura Legend Coupe|
|1984||Honda Civic CR-X|
|1982||Toyota Celica Supra|
|1981||Mercedes-Benz 300SD Turbodiesel|
|1976||Toyota Celica Liftback|
Truck of the Year WinnersEdit
|2023||Ford F-150 Lightning|
|2021||Ram 1500 TRX|
|2020||Ram Heavy Duty|
|2018||Ford F-150 / F-150 Raptor|
|2017||Ford Super Duty|
|2016||Chevrolet Colorado Duramax Diesel|
|2014||Ram 1500 EcoDiesel|
|2011||Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty|
|2010||Ram Heavy Duty|
|2003||Dodge Ram Heavy Duty|
|2001||Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty|
|1993||Jeep Grand Cherokee|
|1992||Ford Econoline / Club Wagon|
|1990||Ford Aerostar 4WD|
|1989||Toyota Pickup XtraCab SR5 V6|
SUV of the Year WinnersEdit
"SUV of the Year" was split from "Truck of the Year" in 1999.
|2023||Hyundai Ioniq 5|
|2021||Land Rover Defender 110|
|2019||Jeep Wrangler / Wrangler Unlimited|
|2017||Mercedes Benz GLC-Class|
|2012||Land Rover Range Rover Evoque|
|2005||Land Rover LR3|
|1999||Lexus RX 300|
Car of the Year (China)Edit
Motor Trend magazine's China-market cousin, Auto Club-Motor Trend, also issues a "Car of the Year" award for that market.
Car of the YearEdit
- 2011: BMW Brilliance 5 Series (long wheelbase)
- 2010: Shanghai-GM Buick Regal
- 2009: GAC-Honda Accord
- 2008: FAW-Volkswagen Magotan(Passat B6)
- 2007: GAC-Toyota Camry
- 2006: FAW-Toyota Crown
- 2005: Changan-Ford Mondeo
- 2004: FAW-Mazda 6
- 2003: Shanghai Volkswagen Polo
SUV of the Year WinnersEdit
- 2011: FAW-Volkswagen Audi Q5
- 2010: GAC Toyota Highlander
- 2009: Dongfeng Nissan X-Trail
- 2008: Guangqi Honda CRV
- 2007: Countermanded
- 2006: Shanghai GM SRX
- 2005: Guangqi Honda CRV
- 2004: Changfeng Automobile Liebao Feiteng
- ^ Lieberman, Jonny (January 2014). "Motor Trend Car of the Year 2014: The Strong Thrive: The 65th Anniversary of our Signature Award Finds the Automotive Industry Stronger Than Ever". Motor Trend. 66 (1): 42–45. ISSN 0027-2094. OCLC 423854316. Archived from the original on 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2015-05-18.
Our mission was to determine exactly which of this year's 22 new or significantly refreshed contenders is in fact the best.
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