Automotive awards

Ford Mustang Mach-E named EV of the Year

The Mach-E won Car & Driver's inaugural EV of the Year Award

Ford

The electric vehicle revolution is here, and it's turning out to be more exciting than most people probably expected. The EVs of today are quick, sometimes luxurious, and can offer range numbers that extend hundreds of miles on a charge. Ford, one of the world's oldest automakers, arrived with an EV of its own this year, the Mustang Mach-E. Regardless of whether you feel it's worthy of the Mustang name or not, there's no denying that it's a special vehicle. Auto journalists recognize that, too, as it just won Electric Vehicle of the Year from Car & Driver.

This year is Car & Driver's first EV of the Year Award, but with all the action in the marketplace, it's certainly not going to be the last. In the next year alone, we'll see new offerings from Rivian, Ford, General Motors, and others, and that doesn't take any of today's excellent vehicles into account.


Ford Mustang Mach-EThe Mach-E beat out several other big-name EVs to take the award.Ford


The C&D test included 11 EVs and took place over a three-week period. Each vehicle was subjected to a 1,000-mile road trip to evaluate its performance in the real world. The tests use the same criteria as the publications ten-best awards, which means it has to offer great and engaging driving experience, be practical or offer incredible value, and must fulfill its mission better than its competitors. Beyond the Mustang Mach-E, the test included:

  • Audi e-tron
  • Kia Niro
  • Nissan Leaf Plus
  • Polestar 2
  • Porsche Taycan
  • Tesla Model 3 Performance
  • Tesla Model S Long Range Plus
  • Tesla Model Y Performance
  • Volkswagen ID.4
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge

The C&D award is a nice feather in the cap for Ford, but the Mustang Mach-E is no stranger to accolades. In addition to the EV of the Year Award, the vehicle has picked up the C&D Editor's Choice Award, the Cars.com Eco-Friendly Car of the Year Award, AutoGuide's Utility of the Year, a Car Buyer's Award from Autoweek, and Green Vehicle of the Year.


Ford Mustang Mach-EThe Mustang Mach-E is on sale now.Ford

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The Sakura is Nissan's newest EV.

Nissan

It's no secret that the Japanese get all manner of quirky, cool cars that we don't see here in the States. Sure, there's the Nissan Skyline and Mitsubishi Delica van, but tiny vehicles like kei cars and "minivehicles" are popular imports for Americans looking to diversify their drives. Pint-sized kei cars are ripe for electrification, and Nissan did just that with its new Sakura EV, which comes almost a year after the automaker announced it was working with Mitsubishi to develop tiny electric models. It's one of dozens of new EVs slated to come from the Mitsubishi-Nissan-Renaul Alliance this decade.

Though tiny, the Sakura offers a decent top speed of 80 mph, and its range of around 112 miles could make it an ideal urban runabout for many. That said, there's little chance the car will come to the United States. Japan's minivehicles and kei cars are far smaller than anything currently on sale here. For example, the Sakura's 133.6-inch length makes it almost 18 inches shorter than a Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback, a car that Americans would consider minuscule.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura borrows features from the Nissan Leaf, including its battery.Nissan

Nissan borrowed the Sakura's 20-kWh battery from the Leaf and says it can be used to provide power for external devices or even power a home for up to a day. The car comes with three driving modes to change the behavior of things like regenerative braking and throttle response, and Nissan says it took further guidance from the Leaf to give the Sakura the quietest cabin in its class.

The Sakura's upright shape likely helps with headroom, but it certainly doesn't increase cargo space, as Nissan claims just 107 liters (4 cubic feet) of room. That said, the car features small-item storage spaces for gear like a smartphone or wallet. Buyers can opt for black, beige, or blue-grey interior colors, and an upgrade package is available that brings a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

There are a surprising number of features packed into the minute Nissan's cabin. A 7-inch digital gauge cluster comes standard, and a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard. Nissan says the car's displays are oriented to reduce distraction and keep the driver's eyes on the road, and ProPilot safety systems are standard, including a new parking assist feature. ProPilot is a stepping stone toward Nissan's goal of debuting autonomous driving tech by 2030.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura isn't destined for the U.S. - yet, anyway. Nissan

The Sakura goes on sale in Japan this summer. It's priced at 1.78 million yen, or around $14,000. The car will be available for purchase online, and Nissan says it will offer video chats and other resources to help buyers with the process. Buyers will be able to opt for a full in-person buying experience, a completely virtual experience, or anything in between.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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