Sure, the North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards get most of the attention at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but there’s also another pair of (unrelated) prizes that put more of an emphasis on the event’s global nature: That would be the International Car and Truck of the Year Awards, of course, presented annually by Road & Travel Magazine and sponsored by Bridgestone Tire.
The honors here are based on “the emotional connection between the car and consumer,” but do take into account factors like styling, handling, public reaction, diversity marketing, and advertising as well.
As far as this year’s winners, the International Car of the Year (ICOTY) was the 2014 Kia Cadenza. Per Martha Hindes, writing for Road & Travel, the Cadenza is today’s “optimal new luxurious sedan, with must-have amenities, a tuxedo-crisp interior, handsome and shapely exterior with just the right touch of pizazz, a soft touch in how it treats the driver, but unrelenting compliance in its road manners.”
But what sealed the deal for Hindes is the fact that the 2014 Kia Cadenza delivers all these features with relative affordability and an MSRP that starts at $35,100.
The win also sets up an interesting possibility for next year’s International Car of the Year Award. With the Kia Optima winning the prize in 2013, the brand is in line for a hat trick with the even more upscale Kia K900 for 2015.
“This year marks Kia’s 20th anniversary in the U.S. market, and in that time, we have become known for taking bold steps. The 2014 Cadenza is another leap forward for the brand and has brought new and affluent customers into our retail showrooms, people who had never considered Kia before,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of Marketing & Communications for Kia Motors America. “To win the prestigious ICOTY award two years running is a clear indication that our products continue to offer a world-class balance of design, amenities and value for today’s discerning car buyers.”
Road & Travel also recognized three other vehicles during press days for the Detroit auto show …
2014 International Truck of the Year: 2014 Chevy Silverado
It’s been an interesting few days for the 2014 Chevy Silverado. Although the all-new full-size pickup is part of a big-time recall campaign from GM, it also added both the International and North American Truck of the Year Awards to its resume.
Also interesting: While the 2014 Chevy Silverado garnered much praise for its traditional truck capabilities, Road & Travel called it “a thinking person’s pickup,” and it earned further kudos for its ability to appeal to both women and men.
As explained by Courtney Caldwell, editor of Road & Travel Magazine: “Chevy has achieved a remarkable milestone ... marketing the Silverado with both genders in mind, those who are active, athletic, rugged, independent and confident. And, as in the case of the 'Her Horse' commercial, a woman of many faces and many hats, and accomplishing this without a hint of 'chick flick' in one frame."
Most Earth Aware Car of the Year: 2014 Toyota Corolla Eco
Along with the International Car and Truck of the Year Awards, Road & Travel also partners with the Earth, Wind & Power blog “to honor vehicles that are driven by a power source that helps improve climate change by reducing the amount of CO2 emissions poured into the Earth’s atmosphere, promote a cleaner environment, and support the ultimate mission to achieve energy independence through alternative power sources.”
Naturally, this year’s winner was the 2014 Toyota Corolla Eco, which relies on the automaker’s new Valvematic engine technology and some slippery aerodynamics to achieve EPA marks of up to 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway/35 mpg combined; in terms of CO2, the Corolla Eco emits 257 grams of it per mile.
Speaking for the judges, Caldwell commented:?"We believe a car like the new 2014 Toyota Corolla will be a great asset to consumers with its great gas mileage, small footprint, affordability and upscale design, especially for those who aren't ready to make the leap into hybrid or electric."
Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year: 2014 Audi Q5
If you’re looking for reasons why the four-rings brand recently wrapped up its 36th straight month—and fourth straight year—of record sales, look no further than the 2014 Audi Q5. The premium compact crossover continues to win fans throughout the industry, from leading Audi in annual sales in 2013 to winning the title of Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year from the Road & Travel crew.
The Q5 being an Audi, jurors did have to acknowledge the vehicle’s high-performance credibility, especially in the guise of the new 354-hp SQ5, but it was the clean-diesel and hybrid models that made the difference for this award. Each provides a unique way to reach at least 30 mpg on the highway, with the 2014 Audi Q5 TDI posting an EPA line of 24 mpg city/31 mpg highway/27 mpg combined, backed by 240 hp and 428 lb.-ft. of torque, and the Q5 Hybrid going 24/30/26 with a powertrain that serves up 245 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. And in both cases, that’s with Audi’s highly regarded quattro all-wheel-drive technology.
Not bad for what Road & Travel called a “right-sized, smack-down good-looking, environmentally-conscious and just plain fun utility ve