Ford GT wins NEMPA’s Ritvo Award

FordGT-SilverStripes_06_HRAll-New Ford GT Earns the 2016 Gene Ritvo Award for Design and Elegance

  • The 2017 Ford GT has won the Gene Ritvo Award, which honors the best in design in the automotive world. The honor is awarded to the concept or vehicle that best defines elegance in design.
  • Entries were judged by the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) in conjunction with design experts from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Mass.
  • The groundbreaking design of the all-new 2017 Ford GT combines style and elegance in a sleek, stylish and powerful silhouette

BY GERRY MILES

It’s bitter sweet to write about the Gene Ritvo award for the New England Motor Press Association’s annual awards. First it recognizes a dear friend whose eye for beauty, elegance, symmetry and seemingly all things technical and non-technical were endless. Secondly it reminds us all that Gene is no longer with us.

His eye and his camera captured images in an outstanding way that made them timeless. To see what he captured in his camera, after you both stood in front of the same car, made you wonder in amazement “why didn’t I think of that angle” or “how’d he do that?”

Gene’s booming voice was as broad as his connections or the names of the folks he’d meet on the early morning lawn at a concourse or Pebble Beach. He knew them all and plenty about them. He had facts, not just a name to drop.

The 2017 Ford GT has earned the Gene Ritvo Award for Design and Elegance from the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) in conjunction with Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the Larz Anderson Auto Museum.

“The Ritvo” honors the best in design in the automotive world, whether it’s a concept car, production vehicle, a marketing campaign or a particular element of a vehicle that defines elegance in design.

“It is an honor to receive this award, an accolade that the entire team behind the all-new Ford GT can proud of,” said Moray Callum, vice president, Design, Ford Motor Company. “The 2017 Ford GT has a revolutionary design that maintains the essence of the original GT40, while making it into a 21st century car. This vehicle truly demonstrates our commitment to performance and innovation in every aspect of our business.”

“The challenge of producing a car like this is that the original is one of the most iconic and decorated cars in American automobile history,” said Zachary Dollar, Officer, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “Ford kept enough of the soul of the original that it is still identifiable, but used modern tools, materials, and technology to make it a car of today.”

The Ford GT ultra-high-performance super car was first unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show and represents the ultimate execution of an enthusiast supercar. It sets new standards for Ford innovation through performance, with advances in light-weighting, aerodynamics and an ultra-efficient EcoBoost® engine.

“The Ford GT is the future in the present,” said NEMPA President Craig Fitzgerald, “but it never strays too far from the proportions that made the GT40 an instant classic. The Ford GT is no nostalgia car, but it looks back with enough fondness to make it appealing to every generation of car enthusiast. It’s a worthy recipient of the award named for our friend Gene Ritvo.”

It was the second “Ritvo” for Ford, which received the first in 2012 for its newly designed Fusion.

The cars, like the man the award’s named after, are timeless classics.

Bentayga ‘SUV of Year’ by Robb Report

Bentley Bentayga Photo: James Lipman

Bentley Bentayga Photo: James Lipman

  • Bentayga receives top honours from leading luxury title
  • Crewe-built SUV combines speed, performance and craftsmanship
  • Creation of new ultra-luxury segment recognized by Robb Report

Sure, it may be a cross between Cowabunga or perhaps some leftover letters on your Scrabble board, but the Bentley Bentayga was named SUV of the Year by Robb Report.

As part of its annual Best of the Best Awards, Robb Report unveiled its list of hotly anticipated products among the luxury sector, with the Bentayga taking top honors in the guide to the world’s finest automobiles.

Now, it’s gotta be hard to pick from the premium products ever produced for folks that live the chi-chi life most can hardly fathom or dream about, with endless money and opportunities to travel, own, and dine where they wish…but the money for this uber-rich SUV, ostensibly built to show that one could do so, or outdo the Benz G-Wagen perhaps, is right out of the “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” category. Never mind an oil change, brakes, or fixing a paint chip that Earl Schieb would never touch for $99.

“This outstanding acknowledgement from Robb Report is a testament to the continued momentum of the Bentayga,” said Michael Winkler, President and CEO of Bentley Motors Inc.

“The Bentayga has created a new category of SUV that redefines the luxury category and offers a breadth of performance, design and technological abilities. This go-anywhere vehicle is changing what it means to drive an SUV.”

In high demand since launch, the Bentayga has attracted new customers to the Bentley brand from around the world, offering a true Bentley driving experience and showcasing technological innovation, luxury features and a powerful all-new W12 engine.

Robb Report’s editor-in-chief, Brett Anderson, added: “Choosing among the most exceptional products, services, designs, and destinations to be found anywhere in the world is certainly no mean task for the editorial staff. The process began a year ago, and in the end our final decisions are guided not only by our obsessive passion for absolute quality – that’s a given – but also by the people, places and creations that speak to our imaginations in a language uniquely their own.”

Robb Report’s Best of the Best issue can be found at robbreport.com/bestofthebest.

Ram Rebel revels in top truck honors

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel

Ram 1500 Rebel Wins Four Wheeler’s 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year Award
Off-Road Capability, Impressive Power, Suspension life Ram 1500 Rebel Rise to the Top

BY GERRY MILES

There’s a lot of pickup talk with Ford’s four-door Raptor, Nissan’s new XD Titan, the new Toyota Tacoma and a diesel offering being added to the Colorado Z71  and GM’s downsizing some of its SUVs to seemingly take on Jeep among others in the off-roading, go-anywhere market.

However a popular off-road magazine, FOUR WHEELER, picked the Ram 1500 Rebel as the the top truck for its prestigious 27th-annual Pickup Truck of the Year award.

FOUR WHEELER’s Pickup Truck of the Year award program is an invitation-only shootout open to all-new or significantly revised pickup trucks for the upcoming model year. For 2016, the field of vehicles included four entries:

  • Chevy Colorado Z71, 2.8L I-4 turbodiesel
  • Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X, 5.0L V-8 turbodiesel
  • Ram 1500 Rebel, 5.7L V-8
  • Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road, 3.5L V-6

Each vehicle is judged in a variety of terrain and conditions ranging from 0-to-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration and 60-to-0-mph braking distance at the racetrack to real-world situations on the highway, down back roads, in traffic, and excruciating off-road terrain. Vehicles are judged on a wide range of criteria, including off-road performance and survivability, interior appointments and amenities, quality of construction, and the ability to perform in rigorous off-road environments.

The Rebel’s impressive list of model-specific features includes a powdercoated front bumper with powdercoated billet silver skidplate; new front towhooks; new LED foglamps; new 17-inch wheels; 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires; Power Wagon wheel arch moldings; blacked-out trim; an aluminum twin-snorkel sport hood; special blacked-out grille; tire-tread-pattern-embossed seats with custom stitching and embroidery; deep, all-weather rubber floor mats; Bilstein shocks; and an air suspension that is 1 inch taller than a standard Ram 1500 at default ride height.

The heart of the Pickup Truck of the Year–winning Rebel was the optional 5.7L V-8 engine, which produced 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque and was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This, along with the traction-enhancing optional Anti-Spin rear differential, helped the Rebel earn the fastest 0-to-60-mph time (7.5 seconds) and the fastest quarter-mile time (15.8 seconds) of the four contenders.

Judges praised the Rebel’s performance with positive comments, saying it was a “rocket” in the city and on the highway and it propelled the truck with “conviction.”  Even with that impressive power, the Rebel returned an impressive best tank of 24.4 mpg.

“If there’s one word to describe the Ram 1500 Rebel, it’s balanced,” said Four Wheeler Editor Christian Hazel. “It has admirable towing and payload capacity, good on-road handling, brisk acceleration and strong braking, a comfortable interior with convenient storage and amenities, a smooth ride, and huge off-road capability in all terrains. No matter what Four Wheeler threw at the Ram 1500 Rebel, it just flat out worked with no drama, no excuses, and no compromises. And that’s why the Ram 1500 Rebel was the vehicle the Four Wheeler judges overwhelmingly chose not only as the 2016 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year, but the vehicle they’d most like to take home if they had the chance.”

The Ram 1500 Rebel won Four Wheeler’s 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year award only after completing a demanding weeklong test comprised of more than 1,000 miles of evaluation including performance testing; highway, back road, and city traffic driving; fuel economy calculation; RTI chassis articulation; interior comfort and functionality; exterior off-road attributes and protection; and, of course, off-road capability in a wide range of terrain—all important disciplines in which truck owners expect their vehicle to be competent. In addition to these, interior and exterior styling, tire selection, and a host of other subjective categories are factored into the final tallies.

To thoroughly test each vehicle, the competition began at TEN’s facility, where empirical data collection began by measuring how far each vehicle could drive up a 20-degree ramp before a tire lifted off the ground. This measurement was divided into the vehicle’s wheelbase to determine its RTI, or Ramp Travel Index score. This indication of suspension flex and wheel travel loosely translates into a vehicle’s ability to retain tire contact patches when traversing uneven off-road terrain and is factored into our test vehicles’ overall empirical score.

At Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, Calif., each vehicle was subjected to 0-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration testing as well as 60-0-mph braking performance using a RaceLogic Performance Box for data acquisition. After empirical testing, judges were invited to take each vehicle on a hot lap over the course to safely test chassis dynamics, electronic stability, and ABS function. With the track testing complete, the vehicles are caravanned through the high deserts of California, stopping frequently for judge rotation, note taking, and scoring.

The rest of the weeklong test involves driving the vehicles all day, every day, over a series of on- and off-road trails to test as many different terrains as possible. Testing locations range from below sea level to more than 10,000 feet in elevation, and the vehicles are subjected to every form of off-road condition, including deep sand; rocky trails; off-camber, loose-dirt hill climbs; rockcrawling; steep descents; near-vertical climbs; snow; water fording; and more. FOUR WHEELER takes its position as the “world’s leading 4×4 authority” to heart, and when it puts the Pickup Truck of the Year stamp on a vehicle, you can rest assured it’s thoroughly tested to be off-road capable.

When all the testing is complete, the judges make their final notes and calculations, and then the numbers are tallied for the following categories: Trail Performance (30 percent), Empirical (25 percent), On Pavement (20 percent), Interior (15 percent), and Exterior (10 percent). For 2016, the Rebel dominated four of the five scoring categories to collect a generous point spread ahead of the Second-Place finisher. This outstanding performance earned the ’16 Ram 1500 Rebel the title of 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year.

Volvo XC90 wins North American Truck of the Year

The new Volvo XC90

The new Volvo XC90 T6, exterior

BY GERRY MILES

Yes, yes, yes, I know, and you know, that an SUV is not a truck per se. C’mon it used to be based upon a truck’s platform and now of course it’s not. Far from it.

Still Volvo’s XC90 is not a car and fits into the truck category that I was hoping the new Nissan Titan would take home. But I digress.

“We are absolutely thrilled that the XC90 has won this prestigious and most respected award,” said Lex Kerssemakers, President and CEO of Volvo Car USA, “and there is a lot more to come. By 2019 Volvo will have a totally renewed product portfolio. By then the all-new XC90 will be the oldest car in the showroom.”

It is the second time the XC90 has won the North American Truck of the Year award. The first was in 2003, when the vehicle was originally introduced.

“The XC90 is a past winner of our award,” said Tony Swan, a 23-year member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year Jury. “That vehicle was obviously outstanding, but the new XC90’s blend of advanced technology, performance and craftsmanship stands out even more, against much more sophisticated competition.”

The Volvo XC90 features all new platform, powertrain and semi-autonomous driving technologies that set a new standard for the luxury SUV segment. It is available in five or seven-passenger, front or all-wheel-drive configurations with powerful and efficient 250- or 316-horsepower turbocharged and dual-charged engines that can deliver up to an EPA rated 25 MPG. The XC90 is also be available with a 400-horsepower, 53 MPGe hybrid electric powertrain, making it the world’s first seven passenger Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

All XC90s feature Volvo’s award-winning Sensus infotainment system, which centers on an intuitive, tablet-like touch screen that puts all of the vehicle’s systems and functions at the driver’s fingertips. Volvo City Safety, which includes Pedestrian Detection with Automatic Emergency Braking, automatically applies the brakes should a collision be imminent, is also standard. The available Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system will control vehicle speed and direction at speeds up to 30 MPH. Prices start at $43,900.

Actually, I’m pleased for Volvo. I’ve always liked the brand. My time goes way back to a 144 sedan that my dad bought for us kids and he showed me how to drop a transmission, where a clutch, flywheel, and pressure plate resided and how they all worked. That’s back in the day of Chilton manuals – remember them  – and his own scraped knuckled knowledge as a kid to take it all apart and have it run like a Swiss clock.

I love the XC car line when it came out, and the SUV line is also tops.

Volvo hasn’t been the Volvo of yesteryear during its sale and such. The XC90 and this award shows that Volvo has its mojo back.

Skol!

Honda Civic wins North American car of the year award

16_Civic_Sedan_135

  • Ground-up redesign was developed and is built in North America
  • Second NACOTY win for the model after 2006 Civic win a decade ago

The all-new 2016 Honda Civic has earned the prestigious 2016 North American Car of the Year Award. This win for the Civic is the second for the model in the award’s history, following a win for the 2006 Civic a decade ago when it shared the stage with the 2006 Ridgeline, winner of that year’s Truck of the Year award. In total, eleven Honda models have been named “finalists” for NACOTY awards since their inception in 1994, the most of any brand outside of the Detroit Big 3 automakers.

“The all-new Civic was developed and is built in North America, making this North American Car of the Year win even sweeter,” said Jeff Conrad, Honda Division senior vice president and general manager. “Civic is a cornerstone of the Honda lineup, and we’re delighted that the automotive press has recognized the new levels of styling, performance, advanced technology, safety and value that characterize the new Civic.”

The North American Car of the Year Award is given by a group of 53 international automotive journalists. The award is unique because instead of being given by a single publication, radio or television station, it is given by automotive journalists from the United States and Canada. Presented each year at the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it recognizes the most outstanding car of the year based on factors including innovation, design, safety performance, handling, driver satisfaction and value.

Truly all-new, the 2016 Civic features a new vehicle architecture; sporty and sophisticated new interior and exterior styling; a more spacious and high-quality cabin; two advanced new engines; and a host of new available premium features and technologies, including the first application of both Apple CarPlay®1 and Android Auto™2 in a compact car sold anywhere in the world. Further, with the addition of Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technologies and the first application of Honda turbo engine technology to Civic, the 2016 Civic offers buyers a wider range of options than ever before.

With vehicle development led by Honda R&D Americas, Inc. and Civic Sedan and Coupe production in Indiana and Ontario, Canada, the new 10th-generation Civic firmly has its roots in North America. The majority of Civics sold in the United States will be produced and assembled using domestic and globally sourced parts in the United States and Canada. The Civic 5-door, set to debut in the near future, will be produced at Honda’s Swindon Plant in the United Kingdom.

Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept Truck wins Award for Design, Appeal

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif.,  – It kicked off 2015 with a buzz-generating surprise debut at the North American International Auto Show in January, and now the popular Hyundai Santa Cruz has earned the prestigious title of Concept Truck of the Year at the 14th annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year (NACVOTY) Awards at the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s.

HYUNDAI SANTA CRUZ NAMED 2015 CONCEPT TRUCK OF THE YEAR

HYUNDAI SANTA CRUZ NAMED 2015 CONCEPT TRUCK OF THE YEAR

The Santa Cruz was recognized as the Concept Truck of the Year for its design, style, materials, technology, market visibility and market responsiveness – besting the Kia Trail’Ster and Mitsubishi GC-PHEV. The award was presented by Mark Phelan, auto critic at the Detroit Free Press and NACVOTY juror.

“The compact-truck segment in the U.S. is tremendously competitive, and overall truck sales have skyrocketed to become one of the best-selling segments in today’s market,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Hyundai’s new Santa Cruz crossover truck concept is a modern take on the classic theme of one of America’s most-loved segments – the pickup truck. Unlike some of the industry’s past attempts to blend open bed utility with passenger car attributes, Santa Cruz delivers innovative functionality and flexibility in a compact, fun-to-drive package for a new breed of pickup truck buyers. We are proud that the Santa Cruz got the vote of approval as the Concept Truck of the Year from some of the auto industry’s most esteemed critics.”

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

The NACVOTY awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. More than two dozen jurors participated in a selection process that involved a total of 30 vehicles, each introduced to North America during this season’s auto shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and New York.

 

“The Santa Cruz is what the light-truck category needs – loads of style for people without big loads,” said Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design and Production editor-in-chief and NACVOTY juror.

The innovative Hyundai Santa Cruz crossover truck concept reflects a completely new interpretation of truck utility for a new generation of buyers. The Santa Cruz concept meets the unspoken needs of a growing millennial lifestyle that Hyundai calls “urban adventurers.” This new crossover provides urban adventurers the expandable utility they need throughout their active week – from work-life professionalism to social interests to a variety of outdoor pursuits –without the typical compromises they have come to expect from the industry’s current product offerings. The Santa Cruz concept is purposely compact, and although it features four doors and seating for five, its overall footprint is similar to that of a small CUV.

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

NORTH AMERICAN CONCEPT VEHICLE OF THE YEAR

Founded in 2002, the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards recognize those concept vehicles that have made the strongest impact in terms of automotive design, engineering and market responsiveness. Professional automotive journalists from throughout North America, representing dozens of outlets in virtually every media segment, serve as volunteer jurors to select the award winners. The awards are given to the best Production Preview Vehicle, Concept Car, Concept Truck and Most Significant Concept Vehicle of each auto show season. To be eligible for the awards, a concept vehicle must make its North American debut during the current model year’s auto show season.

 

Edmunds.com Announces 2015 Best Retained Value Awards

  • Toyota and Acura Win Brand Awards
  • 15 Car Companies Win Model Awards

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Toyota and Acura took home the top prizes in the fifth annual Edmunds.com Best Retained Value® Awards, which recognize the brands and 2015 models that have the highest projected residual values after five years based on their average “cash” True Market Value® (TMV®) price during their first five months in the market, or for vehicles introduced in November or December of 2014, through March 2015. Toyota won in the non-luxury division with a projected 52.4 percent residual value after five years, and Acura won the luxury crown with a projected five-year residual value of 46.9 percent.

In addition to these brand-level awards, Edmunds.com issued model-level awards in 24 separate segments. Toyota had four winners, the most of any brand. A full list of all 24 model winners can be found in Appendix 1 below and on Edmunds.com Best Retained Value® Awards page at http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/best-retained-value-cars.html.

“Smart car shoppers who are likely to sell their car within five years should always stop and consider projected residual values before making a new car purchase,” said Edmunds.com Consumer Advice Editor Carroll Lachnit. “Whether you are leasing or buying, the retained value of a car can make a big difference in your wallet.”

Each brand with both more than 100,000 unit sales in 2014, and models offered within at least four vehicle-type categories, was eligible for this year’s brand-level Best Retained Value® Awards. Each model year 2015 vehicle that both was launched by the end of 2014, and had unit sales in February 2015 that were at least 25 percent of the average unit sales for the models in its segment was eligible for this year’s model-level Best Retained Value® Awards. Edmunds determined each model’s category for the 2015 awards based on its body type segment; for certain categories, the size of the model within its body type segment; and for certain categories, the model’s price and/or its competitive segment.

More details on Edmunds.com’s Best Retained Value® Awards can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/best-retained-value-cars.html.

APPENDIX I

2015 Edmunds.com Best Retained Value® Awards 

Model-Level Winners

Segment Make Model Average Retained Value after Five Years
Compact Car Subaru WRX 53.2%
Compact Crossover Suv Honda CR-V 55.2%
Midsize Truck Toyota Tacoma 64.5%
Entry Luxury Car Acura ILX 48.2%
Entry Luxury SUV Acura RDX 47.8%
Entry Sports Car Dodge Challenger 56.5%
Large Car Toyota Avalon 44.8%
Large Crossover SUV GMC Acadia 44.3%
Heavy Duty Truck Ford F-350 Super Duty 58.5%
Large Traditional SUV GMC Yukon 47.7%
Large Truck Toyota Tundra 57.2%
Midrange Luxury Car Lexus GS 350 46.3%
Midrange Luxury SUV Lexus GX 460 49.9%
Midrange Sports Car Chevrolet Corvette 52.2%
Midsize Car Subaru Legacy 48.5%
Midsize Crossover SUV Toyota Highlander 54.4%
Midsize Traditional SUV Jeep Wrangler 62.4%
Minivan Honda Odyssey 49.9%
Premium Luxury Car Porsche Panamera 44.7%
Premium Luxury SUV Mercedes-Benz G-Class 52.6%
Premium Sports Car Nissan GT-R 50.6%
Subcompact Car Honda Fit 54.5%
Small Commercial Van Ford Transit Connect 47.0%
Large Commercial Van Ram Promaster Cargo Van 44.1%