2018 AutoJudge Award Winners Announced at SEMA Show

The 2018 AutoJudge Awards for Automobiles, SUVs and Pickup Trucks were presented at the start of the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas last month.

The 2018 President’s Award went to the 2019 Nissan Leaf which also was named the Electric Vehicle of the Year.  Other awardees included the 2019 Ram 1500, 2018 Volkswagen Jetta, 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2018 Kia Stinger and the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giula Quadrifoglio.

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“AutoJudge was conceived thirteen years ago and is the first national award of the incoming auto show season,” said Texas Automotive Media Association President Marlon Hanson. “It is announced at the largest automotive and aftermarket event in the country, SEMA. Selecting the very best gets more difficult every year.”

The AutoJudge Awards are sponsored by the Texas Automotive Media Association (TAMA) and present an alternative to the multitude of segment specific automotive awards distributed at various car shows and other events.

2018 Winners

President’s Award / Electric Vehicle of the Year 2019 NISSAN LEAF

Truck of the Year                                                     2019 RAM 1500

Sedan of the Year                                                    2018 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA

SUV of the Year                                                        2019 HYUNDAI SANTA FE

Sports Car of the Year                                             2018 KIA STINGER

Luxury Vehicle of the Year                                      2019 ALFA ROMEO GIULA QUADRIFOGLIO

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The Competition

The AutoJudge Awards competition is open to all current market U.S. spec vehicles.  Nominees are not required to be all-new or heavily revised. With the mentality that a “new” vehicle may not always be an ideal choice, each winning vehicle represents the best example of their respective automotive segment available in the current year. 

Due to the sheer number of vehicles available for consideration each year, a carefully selected panel of judges evaluates and nominates a narrow group of vehicles for consideration. 

The judges are seasoned journalists specializing in all aspects the automotive industry.  Many of them own or collect older model cars as well as test driving many new vehicles each month. They attend auto shows throughout the world as well as visiting “ride-and-drive” launch programs where the newest models are unveiled.  Several are long-time and highly experienced mechanics meaning they have knowledge of the vehicles from more than a cosmetic viewpoint.

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“AutoJudge panelists spend the entire year test driving vehicles. This gives them immeasurable experience, placing them in a unique position to provide their knowledge to consumers,” said Hanson. “We often test drive vehicles before they reach dealers so we can provide input to the manufacturers on changes we believe should be done to make the vehicle more appealing to consumers.”

In the end, the collective group of judges are veteran experts in the industry.  Their views on the nominated vehicles competing in AutoJudge are based on driving most, and likely all, of the nominated vehicles during the course of the year-  preceding the annual awards final evaluations.

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The 2018 Judges panel for AutoJudge consists of many names you will likely know from reading their reviews or seeing their electronic media reports across a wide range of national media during the year.  They include: Sue Mead, Kristin Barclay, Art Gould, Greg Morrison, Alan Gell, Marlon Hanson, Mike Herzing, Dave Stall, Mike Marrs, Jim Meachen, Bob Kocher, BJ Killeen, Nicole Wakelin, Brian Armstead and Steve Wheeler.

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ABOUT THE AUTOJUDGE Awards

Established in 2006, the Texas Automotive Media Association is an active member of SEMA which hosts the presentation of these awards each year. The AutoJudge Awards are sponsored by Focus Daily News, Bumper-to-Bumper and the Texas Automotive Media Association.

For your detail on each awardee, we have included links to reviews of the winners from the Focus Daily News Bumper to Bumper section.  Each review was written by one of the judging team and speaks to features and value that earned each award.  Reviews were published in the October 28, 2018 edition of Bumper to Bumper.