Utility Vehicle of the Year
On Tuesday, January 11, in Detroit, the all-new Ford Bronco received top honors as the 2022 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Other finalists for the annual award were the Genesis GV70 and the electric Hyundai IONIQ 5. This is the second year in a row that a Ford vehicle has been named North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Even more amazing, the all-new Ford Maverick compact pickup also won as the 2022 North American Truck of the Year. And even more astounding than those two accolades: Last year the Ford Mustang Mach-E electric crossover and Ford F-150 full-size pickup also won the utility and truck categories, meaning that Ford has won the same two vehicle categories two years in a row. No other manufacturer has ever achieved this feat in the history of the awards.
Dual Awards, Two Years Running
Obviously, Tuesday was a big day for Ford, with attending company representatives visibly ecstatic to be winning awards in the same two categories a second year in a row. “We’re thrilled and honored to earn both Truck and Utility of the Year from the NACTOY jury for the Ford Maverick and Bronco, especially among such a strong field of competitors,” said Ford President, Americas and International Markets Group Kumar Galhotra. “But we’re also proud because these awards are well-deserved recognition for the tremendous amount of work, focus and energy our teams have invested in designing, engineering and building exciting vehicles for our customers. This also reflects the overwhelming reception we’ve had from our Maverick and Bronco customers alike,” Galhotra also noted.
2022 Ford Bronco
Returning after a nearly 25-year absence from the market, the new Ford Bronco is one of the most highly anticipated models in many years, paying tribute in both design and capability to the original Bronco of the 1960s. As an off-road-oriented vehicle, the new Bronco is available in a classic short-wheelbase 2-door variant as well as — for the first time — a 4-door version. The 4-passenger 2-door Bronco has a 100.4-inch wheelbase, while the 5-passenger 4-door Bronco has a 116.1 inch wheelbase. The new Bronco features body-on-frame construction, a fully boxed high-strength steel chassis, quick-release stowable roof panels and removable doors.
The 2022 Ford Bronco is offered in six trim levels for both 2-door and 4-door variants: Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrak and Badlands. Ford has two EcoBoost engine choices for Bronco, with the standard unit a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged inline 4-cylinder producing 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. An optional 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 produces 330 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. A standard 7-speed Getrag manual transmission combines with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and includes a low-speed crawler gear for use in difficult off-road situations. A 10-speed automatic transmission is optional with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and standard equipment with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost.
The 2022 Ford Bronco Sasquatch Package improves off-road capability with 17-inch black-painted aluminum beadlock-capable wheels; 35-inch LT315/70R17 Mud-Terrain tires; electronic locking front and rear axles; a 4.7:1 final drive ratio; high-clearance suspension; position-sensitive Bilstein shocks; high-clearance fender flares, and a 10-speed automatic transmission with Trail Control.
About the Award
The North American Utility Vehicle of the Year gets awarded each January in Detroit. Although most awards of this type are presented by an individual publication or study, this one remains unique because it’s based on ballots cast by an independent jury of automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. To be eligible, a vehicle must be all new or substantially redesigned. Winners excel in design, innovation, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. Here’s a look at past winners of this prestigious award. The North American Car and Truck of the Year awards have been awarded annually since 1994; the Utility Vehicle category became part of the awards in 2017. Here is a look back at previous UV award winners.
2021: Ford Mustang Mach-E
Last year Ford also earned the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award with the all-new Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, claiming victory over strong competition from two other new entries in the SUV segment: the Genesis GV80 and the Land Rover Defender. Going an entirely new direction for the iconic pony car name, Mustang Mach-E is the first Mustang in the model’s more than 55-year history that is not a coupe or convertible. One of the most advanced vehicles ever from Ford, Mustang Mach-E is offered in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive with either a standard or an extended-range battery. Depending on trim level and configuration, the U.S. EPA-estimated driving range is between 224 miles and 300+ miles.
2020: Kia Telluride
Kia took a bold step with its new midsize SUV and beat out two strong competitors – the Hyundai Palisade and Lincoln Aviator – to earn this coveted award. Designed specifically for the U.S. market at Kia’s design center in California, Telluride is built at Kia’s manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, alongside the Sorento SUV and Optima sedan. The Telluride design is deliberately boxy to recall larger, rugged truck-based SUVs of the past with key design elements such as a long hood, upright windshield and stacked headlights. Telluride is offered with a second-row 3-passenger bench seat for 8 occupants, or second-row captain’s chairs for a 7-position configuration. Kia focused on creating an upscale user experience with quality materials, particularly within the top-line Telluride SX with the Prestige Package, which includes double-stitched Napa leather ventilated seats, a premium headliner, head-up display and dual-panel sunroof.
2019: Hyundai Kona
Proving that the most expensive option is not always the best, the Hyundai Kona eclipsed two strong competitors to be named the 2019 North American Utility of the Year during the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Kona underscores the Korean automaker’s reputation for excellent value, wrapped in a fun-to-drive stylish crossover with looks that separate it from the rest of the CUV crowd. Built on an all-new platform with a choice of fuel-efficient engines or a fully-electric powertrain, the Kona has done well in the very crowded small-crossover marketplace.
2018: Volvo XC60
Volvo had some experience with winning at the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit — the larger XC90 won Truck of the Year in 2003 and in 2016. The XC60 carries on much of the styling and features of its larger sibling, so it made sense that it earned the top award last year. Built on the brand’s new Scalable Product Architecture, the 5-passenger XC60 is longer, wider and lower than the previous generation, which not only gives the new model a roomier interior — almost two more inches of rear-seat legroom — but also a more aggressive stance and better driving dynamics. Styling is now in line with the rest of the newer Volvos, with the signature “Thor’s Hammer” headlights and large Volvo logo in the grille. In many ways the XC60 is a smaller version of the popular XC90.
2017: Chrysler Pacifica
An all-new minivan for the 2017 model year, the Pacifica has modern styling and a slew of innovations; it is arguably the best minivan Chrysler has built since it created the category more than 30 years ago. Pacifica can be equipped with seating for up to eight occupants, which still leaves plenty of cargo space in the rear. Stow n’ Go seats can be folded into the floor for a completely flat cargo area all the way to the front seats. Passengers enjoy an available Uconnect Theater featuring a 10-inch high-res touchscreen display with a variety of inputs and integrated games. There’s even an available Stow ‘n Vac — a powerful vacuum cleaner located conveniently behind the second row, and easily accessible from any door opening. A plug-in hybrid version of the Pacifica is also available, making this the first hybrid minivan ever sold in America.
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