Award Season

2020 North American Car, Truck, SUV of the Year Announced

The North American Car, Truck, and SUV of the Year were announced today in Detroit.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

A classic, a formidable newcomer, and a retro-inspired modern truck took top honors at this year's North American Car, Truck, SUV of the year awards today in Detroit. The winners are:

2020 North American Car of the Year: Chevrolet Corvette

2020 Chevrolet Corvette

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Corvette has been completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It features a new mid-engine V8 powertrain and a sleek interior unlike anything else in the Chevy lineup.

2020 North American Truck of the Year: Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Jeep Gladiator is more than just a Wrangler with a bed. It's a formidable truck in its own right, delivering the power and capability drivers are looking for. It also retains much of the look of the Wrangler, something brand enthusiasts were hoping for.

2020 North American SUV of the Year: Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The American-made Kia Telluride arrived in advertisements during the Super Bowl and the public's appetite for the model was whetted. It's gone on to be a serious contender in the three-row SUV class, showing just what Kia is capable of producing.

AutomotiveMap's Sue Mead is a NACTOY juror. You can read her review of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette here.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The series follows unique road tripping experiences.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai, an automaker that has recently pushed the power of family travel with the launch of the Palisade three-row SUV, has teamed up with Tastemade for a four-part originally programming series.

One out of ten Americans has never left their birth state. "The Un-Adventurers" will follow the story of an American who leaves their home state for the first time ever to embark on a road trip that they've always dreamed about.

Hyundai Tastemade The Un-Adventurers series Hyundai and Tastemade will present the show on the Tastemade streaming platform.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The subjects of the series will drive a Santa Fe, Tucson, Kona, and Palisade. "We are excited to share the personal and emotional journeys of these 'Un-Adventurers,' and showcase the comfort and reliability of our vehicles as each participant experiences America beyond their states' borders," said Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer, Hyundai Motor America.

The adventures follow the participants across state lines, venturing into and out of Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, among others. They take back roads, highways, and everything in between seeing the ocean, farmland, charming small towns, and cities. Activities enjoyed include an air boat ride, going on-stage at The Laughing Skull in Atlanta, and spending time at the beach.

The Santa Fe, Tucson, and Kona are two-row SUVs that come with varying amounts of legroom in the second row. The Kona is the tightest fit. The Palisade is a large SUV, built on the same platform as the Kia Telluride, but delivering a more elegant interior and refined ride.

The series will debut on June 3 across Tastemade's streaming network. Check out the trailer below.

"The Un-Adventurers" was developed in collaboration with INNOCEAN USA and Canvas Worldwide, Hyundai's advertising and media agencies of record, respectively. This is the second collaboration between Hyundai and Tastemade, who together produced three seasons of "The Grill Iron" back in 2014, 2015, and 2016 as part of Hyundai's broader college football marketing campaign.

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Newer Ford police SUVs can immediately begin installing the technology.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

A software solution will allow police officers across the world to reduce their chances of contracting COVID-19. All Ford Motor Company Police Interceptor Utility customers with certain model year vehicles are immediately eligible for the no-cost upgrade, which was engineered by the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker.

"First responders are on the front lines protecting all of us. They are exposed to the virus and are in dire need of protective measures," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product development and purchasing officer. "We looked at what's in our arsenal and how we could step up to help. In this case, we've turned the vehicle's powertrain and heat control systems into a virus neutralizer."

What does it take to kill coronavirus? It sounds simple: Bake the vehicle until viruses inside are neutralized.

Ford heated sanitization testing and development process

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

What does that mean? The interior cabin temperature must reach beyond 133 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than Death Valley on the hottest day, for at least 15 minutes – long enough to help disinfect vehicle touch points.

According to Ford, here's how it works:

"Once activated, the vehicle's powertrain and climate control systems work together automatically to elevate interior cabin temperatures. The software warms up the engine to an elevated level, and then turns both the heat and fan settings on high. Interior temperatures are automatically monitored by the software to know when the entire cabin hits the optimal level and that temperature is then maintained for at least 15 minutes.

Law enforcement will have multiple ways to monitor progress. Hazard lights and taillights will flash in a pre-set pattern to notify when the process has begun, and they will change at the end to signal completion. Additionally, the instrument cluster inside the vehicle will indicate the progress of the procedure. A cool-down process has also been developed to help bring the temperature down from its highest points."

To develop the method, Ford worked with scientists from The Ohio State University. Ford also conducted software operational trials in vehicles owned by the New York City Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Michigan State Police, Massachusetts State Police, Boardman Township Police Department (Ohio), and Seminole County Sheriff's Office (Florida).

This process doesn't just have to be a one-time thing. Law enforcement officers can regularly sanitize their vehicle, when it is unoccupied, using the same technology.

Police departments with their own service centers are now able to install the software solution through their own diagnostic service tools, while other fleets can work with their local dealers to install the software.

For 2016-19 police vehicles, the heated software process can be activated by a smart sequence of commands that involves pressing cruise control buttons in a predefined order. For 2013-15 vehicles, this mode can be activated and carried out through an external tool that connects to the onboard diagnostics port.

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