The 67-Year Evolution Continues
The cadence was set by Car of the Year. Once that award became an annual fixture for Motor Trend, it was regularly tied to the January or February issue. As we expanded the award to include Truck of the Year (1978) and Sport/Utility of the Year (1999), a new sequence developed. We announced Sport/Utility of the Year in the December issue followed by the Car of the Year in January and Truck of the Year in February. We added the Power List, our annual ranking of the 50 most influential players in the automotive industry, to February issues starting in 2005 so that attendees at the world’s most important auto show, the North American International Auto Show, would have something to talk about.
And now we’re changing it up all over again. You might soon notice that the January 2016 issue is a lot thicker than normal. In fact, we haven’t published an issue with so many pages since December 2008. This is because on the evening of November 16, we’re announcing Car, Truck, and SUV of the Year along with a new Person of the Year for the man or woman who tops our Power List. Over the next few days, we’re revealing the Car, Truck, and SUV of the Year contenders and finalists.
The methodology hasn’t changed. Our program is still only open to all-new or significantly updated vehicles for the coming model year. We invite multiple variants of each vehicle to demonstrate the breadth of the product line and run them through Motor Trend’s standard battery of tests: 0-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration, 60-0-mph braking, and a figure-eight handling course. Person of the Year gets its own more subjective rating process, and the vehicular programs are tweaked to best assess each category. After reviewing the test numbers and comparing the specs, we closely examine each vehicle against the awards’ six key criteria. Merits and flaws are debated before we proceed to a final vote to select the winner.
It was hard to cram three months’ worth of driving, testing, comparing, and arguing into one issue, but we’re excited to share our process and winners with you. To mark the occasion, we made one final change: a complete makeover of the iconic Golden Caliper trophy. We hope you enjoy reading about our contenders, finalists, and award winners as much as each winner relishes the award.
Advancement in Design
Well-executed exterior and interior styling, innovative vehicle packaging, and a good selection and use of materials.
Each vehicle’s price and equipment levels compared with those of vehicles in the same market segment.
Performance of Intended Function
How well the vehicle does the job its planners, designers, and engineers intended it to do.
Fuel efficiency and carbon footprint size relative to the vehicle’s competitive set.
The ability to help avoid a crash, plus secondary safety measures to protect occupants during an accident.
Total vehicle concept and execution; clever solutions to packaging, manufacturing, and dynamics; and cost-effective technology that benefits consumers.