The Volvo XC60 took the top prize in the utility category and the Lincoln Navigator for trucks. Other utility finalists were the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Honda Odyssey, and Navigator beat the Chevrolet Colorado and Ford Expedition.
Kumar Galhotra, head of the Lincoln brand, said the award should give the Navigator a boost as it tries to gain traction in the competitive full-size truck-based luxury SUV market.
“It is a very competitive segment, and in the past we have had much better share in this segment,” he said. “It was time to create a new Navigator and take that rightful place in the segment for Lincoln.”
The brand sold only 10,523 Navigators last year, far behind competitors in the segment such as the Cadillac Escalade. The General Motors luxury brand sold 14,700 Escalades last year.
Last year’s winners were the Chevrolet Bolt, Honda Ridgeline and Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
Sixty U.S. and Canadian automotive journalists serve as judges for the awards program, which patterned itself after the European Car of the Year. Eligible vehicles, chosen from dozens, must be new or substantially changed.
The choices represent an aim to recognize the vehicles’ overall quality: The judges evaluate finalists on value, innovation, design, performance, safety, technology and driver satisfaction.
Organizers accept no advertising, though automakers try to capitalize on the marketing value of the awards.
— Associated Press auto writer Tom Krisher contributed to this story.