The Chevy Bolt has been named top car in North America, an important milestone for a car General Motors hopes will finally get Americans hooked on electric vehicles.
The Honda Ridgeline grabbed the honor for top truck. Utility vehicles were honored separately for the first time, with the Pacifica minivan from Fiat Chrysler snagging that award.
The honors were announced Monday morning at Detroit's Cobo Center as the North American International Auto Show's press preview days kick into high gear.
The Bolt beat out the Genesis G90 and Volvo S90 for the car award. The electric car from Chevrolet went on sale late last year. It gets more than 200 miles per battery charge, which is more than the average American drives in a day. The Bolt also sells for around $30,000 when a federal tax credit is included. Electric vehicles have failed to catch on with most American consumers, but General Motors hopes the improved range and price help shift opinions.
Mark Reuss, GM's head of global product development, described the Bolt as a "moon shot."
"We didn't have all the answers when we started the program — in terms of how far we were going to get range-wise, how light are we going to get the car and ... sell price," he said. "We hit on all cylinders on this, so to speak, even though there's not any in the car."
The Ridgeline scored the truck award over Ford F-Series Super Duty and the Nissan Titan. Pacifica got the nod for the utility award over the Jaguar F-Pace and Mazda X-9.
About 60 automotive journalists serve as judges for North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards. Eligible vehicles must be new or substantially changed.
Organizers accept no advertising, though automakers try to capitalize on the marketing value of the awards, in their 24th year.
The awards program launched in 1993, and patterned itself after the European Car of the Year.