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Semi-finalists for 2021 NACTOY Awards Announced

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If you ask automakers, the title of North American Car of the Year (or Truck, or SUV) is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious awards they could hope for. Once again, the NACTOY Awards as they’re known (for North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year) is preparing to name three winners next January -  although this time it won’t be at the Detroit Auto Show, as was the case until the winter of 2019.

First things first, however: this week, the 50-member jury published its list of 27 semi-finalists for the 2021 year. In December, the list will be reduced to only nine vehicles (three per category) a few weeks before the annual awards ceremony.

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2020 Hyundai Elantra
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2020 Hyundai Elantra

Let's take a closer look at the semi-finalists in contention. In the car category, we find:

Acura TLX
Cadillac CT4/CT4-V
Genesis G80
Hyundai Elantra
Kia K5 (formerly the Optima)
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Nissan Sentra
Polestar 2

Within this group, only the Polestar 2 uses electrical power to move around. Also, because you have to count that model as a luxury car, that puts on the list no fewer than five luxury model. Will the NACTOY members vote high-end in 2021?

Polestar 2
Photo: Polestar
Polestar 2

In the SUV category, the list is much longer:

Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Tahoe / Suburban
Chevrolet Trailblazer
Ford Bronco Sport
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Genesis GV80
Hyundai Santa Fe
Kia Seltos
Kia Sorento
Land Rover Defender
Mazda CX-30
Nissan Rogue
Toyota RAV4 Prime
Toyota Venza
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

Here, electrification is far better represented with the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Toyota RAV4 Prime and Toyota Venza, not to mention the Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge.

At the other end of the spectrum, GM's two mastodons (Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban) could cause a surprise. We'll have to wait for the judges' choice.

Ford Mustang Mach-E
Photo: Ford
Ford Mustang Mach-E

As for the truck category semi-finalists, these include:

Ford Super Duty
Ford F-150
Ram 1500 TRX
Jeep Gladiator Mojave

In this case, it would be surprising if the even-more-crazily-equipped variant of the Gladiator somehow hauls itself to the highest step on the podium. Logically, the fight in this category should be between the two Fords and the Ram 1500 TRX.

We'll know more by December.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
Photo: Ram
2021 Ram 1500 TRX
Photo: NACTOY