Our annual Of The Year awards celebrate the very best car, truck, SUV, and auto industry personality. They also capture a moment in time and serve as reminders, upon future reflection, that excellence comes in all shapes, sizes, and magnitudes.
Some years we recognize a localized peak—a game changer whose impact is felt more deeply in one segment than across the whole industry. The Chrysler PT Cruiser (COTY 2001) fits that bill, as does the Nissan GT-R (COTY 2009). Sometimes our winners break ground for entirely new categories of vehicles, as the Lexus RX 300 (the very first SUVOTY, in 1999) did.
Then there are those rare vehicles that end up being bellwethers for fundamental shifts in culture, industry, and consumption habits. Can you imagine a world without the Toyota Prius (COTY 2004) or Tesla Model S (COTY 2013)? I can’t. And yes, for the peanut gallery, I will acknowledge there were times (under previous administrations) when we got caught up in the hype or were just plain wrong.
This is not that year. As moments in time go, 2019 will be remembered as the year of shifting archetypes. Just look at our winning Truck of the Year—every bit a stump-pulling ground pounder until you get inside and revel in its glove-soft leather, cosseting air suspension, and massive app-laden touchscreen display. This is a truck, but it’s like no truck you’ve ever seen.
Same goes for our SUV of the Year. Instantly recognizable by silhouette alone, its name conjures up imagery of soldiers taking hills in far-off lands and dusty weekend scrambles through rock-strewn canyons. But veterans of foreign wars and King of the Hammers alike will scarcely recognize the creature comforts in this category-redefining SUV. Removable doors and a fold-down windshield, plus heated seats and Apple CarPlay with Waze integration? Yup, you really can have it all.
And then there is our Car of the Year—every ounce the iconic German sport sedan with the styling and handling fingerprints to prove it. An all-star team cherry-picked from the highest echelons of automotive luxury (think Audi, BMW, Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini) helped birth our winner, but plot twist—the soul of this Bavaria beater is forged in Seoul, South Korea.
As for our Person of the Year for 2019, he needs no introduction or further discussion. Once you know, you’ll know.
Time will tell what kind of long-term impact these winners will have, but the key takeaway, as murmured by our judges throughout the weeks of OTY testing and deliberations, is that we really are in an automotive golden age. At no point in history have cars, trucks, and SUVs offered better quality, performance, efficiency, technology, value, and safety than what is available today. Congratulations to all Of The Year contenders and our most deserving winners.
We’re entering our 70th year of MotorTrend and will be celebrating with bigger and bolder moves, across every platform that bears our name, in the months to come. Thank you for the support thus far, and I hope you’ll join us for the journey ahead.
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