Saturday, July 24, 2021
Saturday, July 24, 2021

Lots of pickup trucks, but which newbie will get top honors?

Eight pickup trucks are among 38 vehicles eligible to be candidates for the 2022 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY) Awards.

Candidates are chosen by a panel of 50 jurors from print, online, radio and broadcast media across North America. To be eligible, vehicles must be all-new or substantially new and available for purchase before the end of the year.

The Rivian pickup was introduced at the 2018 LA Auto Show.
The Rivian pickup truck was introduced at the 2018 LA Auto Show.

Jurors will narrow the list with a preliminary vote in September then will conduct additional driving evaluations through the rest of the year, including during an October comparison drive in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

New pickup trucks: odd designs, new features

Semi-Finalists in each category will be announced in September, Finalists in November, and category winners in January.

Elon Musk has suggested the pending new Tesla electric pickup truckould be wrapped in rainbow colors.
Elon Musk has suggested the pending new Tesla electric pickup truck could be wrapped in rainbow colors.

“This year’s mix of eligible new vehicles highlights both existing and emerging trends in the automotive industry,” said NACTOY President Gary Witzenburg. “Utilities of all types and sizes continue as the largest and most popular vehicle category, so the large number of them comes as no surprise. However, the number of eligible pickups is the most we’ve seen in several years, reflecting trends toward smaller pickups and electric trucks, some from emerging startups.”

The 2021 Ford F-150 pickup will include a reclining passenger seat.
The 2021 Ford F-150 pickup will include a reclining passenger seat.

Electric and hybrid vehicles, including at least nine full-battery electrics, will vie for awards across all three categories, and several new OEMs emerge on this year’s list with startups Lucid Motors, Karma, and Rivian offering vehicles that compete with those of established automakers.

“The high numbers of both electric vehicles, pickup trucks and new manufacturers make 2022 especially exciting and difficult to predict,” Witzenburg said.

Truck of the Year candidates: Ford F-150 Raptor, Ford Maverick, GMC HUMMER EV, Hyundai Santa Cruz, Nissan Frontier, Rivian R1T, Tesla Cybertruck, Toyota Tundra.

James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.

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