Ten Best ‘Car and Truck of the Year’ Winners Since 1994
With 2013 nearing its end, plenty of automotive publications (including ourselves) released Car of the Year awards, but few carry the weight of the North American Car and Truck of the Year. Automakers fight ferociously for these awards, as they rush to get the 50-odd jurors of the award behind the wheel of their new vehicles. The jurors are among the most accomplished and respected automotive journalists in America, which is why the award is so important.
I’m not afraid to admit that it has been one of my career goals to become a NACTOY juror. Ever since I knew what the award was all about, I’ve kept a close eye on it, and have some favorite picks. The earliest announcement of such an award that we could find came in 1989, and it was the Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe that won, which is pretty darn great. After that, the award was run every year since 1994, and here are my favorites:
2003 Mini Cooper
Our modern winners are pretty homogeneous, and meant to reflect the sensibilities of the average driver, but there was as time when cars were awarded for taking chances. The Mini Cooper took such chances. This car is efficient and fun to drive, with an appearance that gives it tons of character.
1994 Toyota Supra
This car was not an outright winner, but one of the finalists. We’ll take a twin-turbo inline-6 making 320 horsepower any day of the week, and twice on Sunday! This is one of the best sportscars from the 1990s and good luck finding one for short money anywhere.
2007 Saturn Aura
GM had a knack for killing a brand when its product was at its best. Oldsmobile, Pontiac and of course Saturn were all shuttered right when they were building some of the most interesting products. The NACTOY jurors had the guts to award Saturn’s family sedan, putting GM’s chopping-block decisions under an even brighter spotlight.