The nine finalists for the 2021 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year include three Asian sedans, three American pickups and a group of utilities consisting of a resurrected nameplate, a Mustang-inspired electric vehicle and a burgeoning luxury brand's first crossover.
The car finalists are the midsize Genesis G80 and two compacts -- the Hyundai Elantra and Nissan Sentra.
The truck category will again be a battle between two Detroit automakers: Ford and Fiat Chrysler. The finalists are the redesigned Ford F-150 and two off-road-minded variants: the Jeep Gladiator Mojave and Ram 1500 TRX.
Finalists for the utility category, which was added in 2017, are the Ford Mustang Mach-E EV crossover, Korean luxury brand Genesis' first crossover, the GV80, and the Land Rover Defender, which returned to the U.S. market for the first time since 1997.
To be eligible, a vehicle must be new or substantially changed.
The finalists were selected from a list of 27 vehicles announced in September. The winner in each category will be unveiled on January 11.
Historically, the winners were announced during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Since the auto show shifted away from its traditional January time slot after the 2019 show, the 2020 awards were unveiled at their own event in Detroit.
A spokesman for the awards said NACTOY, in partnership with the North American International Auto Show, will host a virtual event on January 11, in place of an in-person ceremony.
Winners of 2020's awards were the Chevrolet Corvette, Jeep Gladiator and Kia Telluride.
The 50 jurors are automotive journalists from the United States and Canada, including Richard Truett, an engineering reporter for Automotive News.
The awards were founded in 1994.