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2021 Ford F-150 Named A Finalist For North American Truck Of The Year, Why It Should Win The Award This Year

Mustang Mach-E also part of the announcement as a finalist for Utility Vehicle of The Year. F-150 up against Jeep Gladiator Mojave and Ram 1500 TRX.

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The accolades keep coming for the 2021 Ford F-150. Just yesterday I reported that the 2021 F-150 was named by Edmunds as its Top Rated Truck for 2021. And in that story, I said, I expect more honors to come for the 14th-generation F-150.

And as if I had a crystal ball, the North American Car of the Year, Utility of the Year and Truck of the Year finalists were announced. And Ford has two representatives in two of the three categories.

The F-150 is one of three trucks named as finalist for the prestigious North American Truck of the Year (NATOY) and the Ford Mustang Mach-E was one of three utes named as finalist for North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.

Edmunds also named the Mach-E as its Top Rated Luxury EV. So clearly, the national media is taking note of Ford’s all-electric crossover that has garnered a lot of attention simply because of the name. I will cover more about the Mach-E tomorrow and offer my prediction if it can pull what I would consider to be an upset in the Utility of the Year list.

North American Car of the Year logo

Here is the full list of nominees:
Car of the year:
Genesis G80
Hyundai Elantra
Nissan Sentra

Truck of the Year:
Ford F-150
Jeep Gladiator Mojave
Ram 1500 TRX

Utility Vehicle of the Year:
Ford Mustang Mach E
Genesis GV80
Land Rover Defender

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

“In this very challenging year, these nine vehicles emerged as our Finalists out of an unusually strong field of 27 Semifinalists,” said NACTOY president Gary Witzenburg. “Each one of them – especially the 15 in the ultra-competitive utility vehicle category – is excellent in nearly every way. Not to mention the automakers’ unusually difficult challenge of getting our 50 jurors from all over North America into their candidate vehicles for testing and evaluation prior to our later-than-usual voting deadline.”

The process of selecting NACTOY’s coveted Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards begins with a list of all eligible new or substantially changed vehicles launched for each model year, which the jurors test and evaluate through three rounds of voting as they become available.

“Just as individual car buyers have their own purchase criteria, each of our 50 expert jurors has his or her own individual process for evaluating candidate vehicles,” said NACTOY Vice President Jack R. Nerad, “which results in a robust and comprehensive competition that looks at the contenders from every possible angle. We are proud of the vast experience and diversity of our panel of jurors.”

Note: I am not a member of this jury, but do have friends on the jury. While they have not nor are allowed to share their thoughts, I am pretty good at predicting the winners every year. So let’s take a look at why I think the Ford F-150 will win NATOY for fifth time.

2021 Ford -150 job siteWhy The 2021 Ford F-150 Should Win Truck of the Year
The NATOY race comes down to a battle between two familiar opponents. While the Jeep Gladiator Mojave is fun and interesting, I do not feel it has much a chance to win this award. And Jeep and Ram being under the same company equally hurts the Jeep’s chance, but that also means having two FCA vehicles in the category could hurt the Ram TRX too.

But, you can’t discount how critically acclaimed the Ram TRX has been. It won Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year Award and was given a 10 out of 10 rating by Car and Driver. So to say it’s a media darling is an understatement.
So there will be votes cast for the Ram TRX to win and I give it a 50/50 chance at winning the prestigious NATOY. But, the 2021 F-150 will likely pull out the win for several reasons.

One, the TRX is a niche vehicle, aimed at performance (6.2-liter V8 Hemi, 650 lb.-ft. of torque). And the 4.5-second 0-60 time is impressive. But really it’s a niche a vehicle, similar to Ford’s Raptor. Both are a blast to drive. And surely the jury members enjoyed the TRX immensely.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

But, I think the jury will look at the big picture and the impact of the 14th-generation F-150. It’s not only the best-selling truck in North America for more than four decades, it’s the best-selling vehicle in America. It’s a force. A brand. A juggernaut. So while the TRX and the Gladiator to an even lesser extent have their merit and their impressive resume, none can match the long-term success of the F-150.

The fact that the 2021 F-150 is all-new for 2021 should tip the scales in Ford’s favor. But beyond that, some of the new revolutionary features are sure to win favor with the jury members. Never mind the fun, lavish and cutting edge features like the Max Recline Seats and Fold Flat Work Surface, there’s also the revolutionary the Pro On Board generator that can power an entire work site. This shows Ford is in touch with the consumer and that will surely win brownie points with the jury members.

Most impressive to the jury is, for the first time ever, Ford introduces a hybrid powertrain to the F-150. They call it PowerBoost. The jury will love the added torque and towing ability of the PowerBoost F-150, which I’ve written about several times already. But being a hybrid and good for the environment will come into play for the jury I believe.
Even if the die-hard truck enthusiasts are V8 and diesel obsessed, the jury members are a little ahead of the consumer and know that fuel economy is of vital importance to the industry and for that reason alone, I think the F-150 will squeak a victory to win NATOY when the award is announced January. 11.

Interior of 2021 Ford F-150North American Car, Utility and Truck Of The Year Announcements
Founded in 1994, these awards are the longest-running new-vehicle awards not associated with a single publication, website, radio or television station. They are judged by professional automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who work for and contribute to a wide variety of magazines, newspapers, websites, television and radio stations. Because of the jurors’ independence, these awards are among the most respected in the industry. As always, NACTOY’s jury strives to honor excellence in automotive innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value.

Final voting will take place Jan. 2-4, 2021, and the 2021 NACTOY Car, Truck and Utility of the Year winners will be announced on January 11. Details about the new format of this event will be announced soon.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.

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