Car of the Year
The fully electric 2017 Chevrolet Bolt has been named the North American Car of the Year. Not to be confused with the automaker’s Volt plug-in hybrid, the Bolt has an electric motor in place of a traditional gasoline engine and can travel an industry-leading 238 miles on a single charge of its battery pack. It’s also one of the most affordable EVs yet, with a price tag around $30,000 after federal tax credits. “It’s as close to a ‘real’ car as we have seen in this price range,” AAA’s Car Doctor John Paul said. Adding to its appeal, electric motors like the one inside the Bolt do not require maintenance such as oil changes and spark plug replacements, Paul said.
Ford announces return of two popular vehicles
With truck sales booming, Ford Motor Co. has announced a U.S. revival of two of its most popular nameplates, the Ranger midsize pickup and the Bronco sport-utility vehicle, in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Details are scarce, but Ford has confirmed that both vehicles will be built in the United States. Ford discontinued the Bronco in 1996 and the Ranger in 2011 due to slumping U.S. sales, but both have retained a strong following among auto enthusiasts.
2017 Top Safety Pick+ Vehicles
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has stiffened its criteria for car headlights, and as a result, only 38 vehicles from the 2017 model year have received the organization’s highest safety award, the Top Safety Pick+. This number is down from 79 vehicles in 2016. Toyota, and its luxury arm Lexus, had nine vehicles receive the distinction, the most of any automaker.
Top photo: The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. (Chevrolet Pressroom)