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Lincoln, Honda, Volvo named
2018 Free Press Vehicles of the Year

Detroit Free Press
, Mark Phelan, Dec. 28, 2017 | Updated
& video

The auto industry is changing at a historic pace as autonomous and electric vehicles draw ever closer to the mainstream, but the characteristics of a great vehicle remain largely unchanged.

Those qualities — value, innovation, design, technology, safety, capability and efficiency — define the 2018 Detroit Free Press Car, Truck and Utility vehicle of the year.

Buyers are rapidly abandoning traditional cars in favor of utility vehicles, but the 2018 Honda Accord provides plenty of reasons for shoppers to consider a midsize sedan.

Second- and third-place finishers, the Subaru Impreza and Kia Stinger, deliver value, driving pleasure and safety to buyers of compacts and sport sedans, respectively.

Utility vehicles are becoming the vehicles of choice for everyone from young singles to families, even high-end luxury buyers. Volvo’s XC60 SUV raises the bar with far-reaching safety features, an emissions-reducing plug-in hybrid and distinctive Swedish design.

The second-place Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV adds style, performance and a welcome optional diesel engine in a growing and fiercely competitive market segment in which the sales leaders are long on value, but short on personality. In third, the Honda Odyssey will teach a new generation of buyers why their parents loved minivan.

It’s easy to dismiss trucks as simple haulers, but the Lincoln Navigator shows a vehicle can simultaneously redefine a luxury brand and lead its class in towing capability. It’s a show horse that’ll work all day, whether towing a boat to the cabin or delivering the better part of a Little League team to the playing field.

Off-road capability that changed the character of an already-popular midsize pickup has made the second-place Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 a new favorite for outdoor pursuits. The Ford Expedition rounds out the top three new trucks with a new aluminum body and features tuned to challenge GM’s decades-long dominance of large-SUV sales.

The Accord, Navigator and XC60 will also get my votes for 2018 North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year. The winners of those awards will be announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit January 15.

2018 Detroit Free Press Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year:

♦ Truck: 2018 Lincoln Navigator

♦ Utility vehicle: 2018 Volvo XC60

♦ Car: 2018 Honda Accord
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