SUVs on strong display at NAIAS - WNEM TV 5

SUVs on strong display at NAIAS

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Courtesy: Chrysler Pacifica on Facebook Courtesy: Chrysler Pacifica on Facebook
DETROIT (WNEM) -

Some major awards were handed out at the North American International Auto Show on Monday.

The Car of the Year award went to the Chevy Bolt EV. The electric vehicle received 364 points from the jury of automotive journalists across the U.S. and Canada.

Hyundai's Genesis G-90 came in a distant second, followed by the Volvo S-90 Sedan.

The Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup won Truck of the Year. It was followed by the Ford F-series Super Duty and the Nissan Titan.

The SUV of the Year award went to the Chrysler Pacifica. It beat out the Mazda CX-9 and the Jaguar F-Pace.

It has been a resurgent year for the SUV, which showed a strong growth in sales in 2016.

Matt McAlear, with Chrysler, said the Pacifica is shedding stereotypes in the industry when it comes to your average minivan.

"It's about having a vehicle that not only can take seven or eight people in comfort and all your luggage, but it's fun to drive. It looks great. It has 20 inch available wheels," McAlear said.

The Pacifica was on display at the NAIAS.

McAlear said the aerodynamics, noise cancellation and an entertainment theater is what made the utility vehicle top the charts.

However, saving money is important to many SUV drivers. McAlear said the new Pacifica hybrid will cut down on what you pay at the pump.

"We have the EPA recognized 84 miles per gallon, equivalent with an all electric range of 33 miles. But there's really no compromise when it comes to this vehicle. It's really not only the first hybrid in the minivan segment, but it's the first seven passenger hybrid in the industry," McAlear said.

The 25-year best selling SUV was also on display at the auto show.

Omar Odeh, with Ford, said the Ford Explorer and its larger counterpart - the Expedition - target the family that is looking for adventure.

"Expedition is your off-road capable SUV that's also able to tow large boats where the Explorer is probably going to max out at around 5,000 pounds," Odeh said.

It wasn't just the vehicles getting the attention, but the technology inside those SUVs.

In the larger SUV market, Chevy unveiled its all new 2018 Traverse. Chevy added some tech features they said families were looking for.

"If you're drifting out of a lane, maybe you got a little distracted, there's some that gently keep you in the lane. If you're getting too close to the vehicle in front of you, we have a feature that slows the vehicle down for you," said Betsy Flegg, with Chevy.

Flegg said safety is paramount for families and Chevy took note.

"The seat behind the passenger, it slides forward and you can actually keep a car seat in place," Flegg said.

In the smaller category, Ford decided to bring the Eco Sport to the North American market. It is one of several SUVs loaded with features consumers have asked for.

"We have those people that are getting into Fords for the first time and they want a vehicle that gives them a high ride, but still affordable," said Karen Sullivan, with Ford.

The Eco has a touch screen that functions much like a tablet. It also has Android Audio, Apple Car Play and two fast charging USB ports.

After topping SUV sales last year with 700,000, Ford is ready to step up its entry-level SUV.

"You're safe, connected in these vehicles. We have so much technology such as navigation, embedded modem," Sullivan said.

More than 17 million vehicles were sold across America last year. Experts expect even more to sell this year with many of those being SUVs.

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