Hyundai is the big awards winner at this year’s Detroit auto show, capturing both the Car of the Year and SUV of the Year honors.
The awards were two of three given by a panel of auto critics at the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The third award, Truck of the Year, went to Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500 pickup. The awards are often promoted in marketing campaigns by the winning automakers.
Hyundai will have a lot to brag about in those commercials thanks to the awards given to Genesis, its new luxury brand created in 2015 to compete against lines like Toyota’s Lexus and Volkswagen’s Audi.
The Genesis G70, which took home the Detroit show’s Car of the Year award, had already been named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in November. A compact luxury competitor to small sporty sedans like the BMW 3-series and Audi A4, it’s the first all-new model introduced under the Genesis brand. The G70 beat the Honda Insight and the Volvo S60/V60, the two finalists in the category.
Genesis’ two larger cars, the G80 and G90, had previously been sold as Hyundais. The G70 has received excellent critical reviews for its combination of refinement, performance and sharp design.
The Hyundai Kona and the electric Kona EV took the top SUV honor. They beat out the Jaguar I-Pace, Jaguar’s first electric vehicle, and the Honda RDX, a traditional gas-powered SUV.
SUVs have become the key segment of the US auto market, driving Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler to greatly scale back their traditional sedan offerings.
In the truck category, Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500 beat out the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500, which are two versions of much the same truck from GM.
While the Ram 1500 maintains its famously aggressive appearance, with a tall grill up front, the 2019 model is completely redesigned.
Ram trucks have earned a reputation for clever functionality, such as the lockable “RamBox” built into the bed walls and a more car-like drive than most trucks.
The 2019 model of the Ram 1500, which was named Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year in November, is available with “mild hybrid” systems that help save fuel and a massive 12-inch touchscreen in the cabin.