Here are the finalists for North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year.
Ford F-Series Super Duty
The finalists were announced at the Los Angeles car show, and the nation’s auto writers will announce the winners at the Detroit show in January.
Here are my predictions. The Chevy Bolt, Ford Super Duty, and the Chrysler Pacifica will carry home the honors. My ballot, if I were voting, would be for the Volvo, Honda and Pacifica.
Even before things get totally cranked up at the L-A event, Chevrolet showed off a Colorado pickup with impressive off road credentials. The ZR2 features 17 x 8 inch aluminum wheels, in a pattern exclusive to the ZR2, wrapped in 31-inch off-road tires. It will come with special off road dampers, front and rear locking differentials and beefed up shocks. It has already mastered the Rubicon trail in California and will hit the market next spring.
Mazda has updated the popular CX-5. Two engines, a 2.0-liter four and a 2.5 liter four will be offered, but I would not look for the diesel to make it across the Pacific. A six speed automatic and a six speed manual will be the transmission choices when the CX-5 arrives here in the spring.
Genesis will add a 3.3-liter twin turbo V6 in a new 3.3T Sport trim model. Specs: 365hp @ 6,000 rpm and 376 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300 – 4,500 rpm.
Honda showed of a Civic Si prototype that will join the lineup this year. It will sport active steering, active suspension, limited slip differential and higher performance tires with a 6-speed manual. Under the hood will be a turbocharged 1.5 four with 174 horsepower.
Those of us who love the Kia Soul will applaud the addition of a turbo to the engine lineup. This one will sport 40 more horsepower for a total of 201, 45 more lb-ft of torque to 195 lb-ft, tied to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Don’t look for a manual tranny. A nicely optioned model should come in at about $28K. At its North American debut, Kia said the turbo will be available in its top of the line Exclaim model.
Audi is talking up its 2018 A5 and S5 Sportback models that will be in dealer showrooms in the spring. Similar to the Coupe and Cabriolet models, the A5 Sportback comes equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that produces 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque and sprints from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The S5 Sportback is equipped with a re-engineered 3.0-liter V6 engine to produce 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and sprints from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.