Genesis G70, Hyundai Kona and Ram 1500 win 2019 NACTOY awards

The North American International Auto Show officially kicks off Monday in Detroit, with the first day of press previews. 

This is the day the annual North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year Awards (NACTOY) are announced. Called the "Oscars of the Auto Industry," the NACTOY awards evaluate the vehicles on design, innovation, safety, segment leadership, driver satisfaction, handling and value for the dollar, according to the website.  

This year, the Genesis G70 won Car of the Year, beating the Honda Insight and the Volvo S60/V60.

The Hyundai Kona/Kona EV won Utility Vehicle of the Year, ahead of the Acura RDX and the Jaguar I-Pace.

And finally the Ram 1500 won Truck of the Year over the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500.

More on the Genesis G70: After announcing their entrance into the luxury division of automotives, Hyundai has ascended to the top of the mountain, with their Genesis G70 model winning 2019 North American Car of the Year. It's not the first award they've swiped however, as they took Motor Trend's 2019 Car of the Year a few months prior. Stealing such adjectives as "smooth, quiet, fast, upscale, nimble and good looking," the winning sedan is priced at $34,900.

More on the Hyundai Kona/Kona EV: Not the only Hyundai on the nominee-docket, the Kona is a little bit bigger than its car-like cousin, the Genesis. The subcompact crossover is the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. The front-wheel drive comes with four optional trims, each sporting their own variation of (now) award-winning luxury. There's Apple CarPlay integration for the SE and heated side mirrors on the SEL. Pick the Limited and you'll get a sunroof, or buy the Ultimate and enjoy the rain-sensing wipers, a head-up display and wireless charging pad. Oh, and that last one costs $30,435.

More on the Ram 1500: More aerodynamic than before, more efficient than before and dressed in a more luxurious style, the Ram 1500 is the 2019 North American Truck of the Year. Priced similarly to its competitors at GM and Ford, loyal Ram drivers will be pleased to see their brand won out. It's more than 200 pounds lighter, which means better gas mileage. Save for the hod and tailgate, the Ram 1500 also has a sleeker aesthetic. Even its front grille has been redesigned, to incorporate active shutters that can slice through the air in the summer, while closing up in the winter, allowing for the engine to heat up faster. 

Jurors, automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada, met in Ypsilanti in October 2018 to test drive the 29 seminifinalist vehicles and issue their votes. Through 54 votes, the jurors narrowed it down to nine finalists, announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 28, 2018. 

This year's semi-finalists included 14 cars, 12 utilities and three trucks. As for what jurors are looking for:

"We are always looking for a game-changer, something that stands out in a crowd, and strikes a positive chord with buyers," said NACTOY President Lauren Fix.

NACTOY officials said the utility class was the most hotly contested category.

"Contenders range from game-changing electrics to mainstream brands that have upped their game to luxury brands that are pushing the envelope. Our winner in this class will face the stiffest competition in the auto industry's hottest market," said NACTOY Secretary-Treasurer Kirk Bell. 

Last year, the Honda Accord, Volvo XC60, and Lincoln Navigator were crowned the winners of the 2018 North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year.