Tesla Model 3, New Nissan LEAF Motor Trend Car of The Year Candidates

white nissan leaf hatchback


A record four EVs make the Motor Trend Car of The Year candidate list, including the Tesla Model 3 and 2018 Nissan LEAF. The list also gets a few hybrids, one of which has a plug.

Yes, as we’ve recently shared, 2017/2018 are seeming like the years for the EV. This is yet another story to support that claim. Aside from the Model 3 and the new 2018 LEAF, Motor Trend Car of the Year contenders include the Hyundai IONIQ EV and Smart Fortwo ED. The traditional hybrid IONIQ is also on the list, joined by the hybrid Kia Niro, but even better, the Toyota Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid) is on board too.

Toyota Prius Prime joins Tesla Model 3, Nissan LEAF as MTCOTY candidates

The Toyota Prius Prime will join the Tesla Model 3 and 2018 Nissan LEAF in hopes of securing the Motor Trend Car of the Year award.

As Motor Trend explains, the automotive industry is in “mutation” mode. Lithium-ion batteries are becoming big business, not to mention a multitude of active safety features, including the advent of self-driving cars.

The publication’s car of the year process is nothing short of monumental. It begins in Mojave, California at Hyundai’s testing facility. A week of closed-course tests begins the process, followed by two additional days of “real-world” testing in Tehachapi.  During the first week, the group of candidates is narrowed down to eight. Only those eight proceed west to Tehachapi, where they undergo a myriad of rigorous tests on a 27-mile real-world loop. Motor Trend writes:

“Every step of the way we remind ourselves of our competition’s six foundational criteria: Advancement in Design, Engineering Excellence, Performance of Intended Function, Efficiency, Safety, and Value.”

Let’s not forget about last year’s champion.

Getting this long list of cars down to one is no easy task. The rules are all easily subjective and there are several judges. To say that these judges don’t agree on many an automotive subject would be an understatement. However, that’s the type of process that makes such awards fair and respected.

It’s a bit shocking to hear that Tesla has provided Motor Trend with a Model 3. It’s not the fact that it’s Motor Trend, however, since it’s the only automotive publication that had a special opportunity to drive the car mere hours before the Model 3 handover event. The shocking part is that Tesla has a car to provide and that despite production problems, unfinished vehicles, and the automaker’s previous choice not to participate in the similarly significant (and arguably more prestigious) North American Car of the Year (NACTOY) competition, Tesla is moving forward with this one.

It could be looked at as good news, however, that Tesla is more prepared to provide a fully functional, competitive Model 3 at this point than the automaker was just a few months ago. We can only hope that one of these EVs can make some waves this year. With the Chevrolet Bolt’s victory last year, that would mark two years in a row for the segment!

Source: Motor Trend

Categories: Nissan, Tesla

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21 Comments on "Tesla Model 3, New Nissan LEAF Motor Trend Car of The Year Candidates"

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Two years in a row, would be an EV “tour de force”, and another big win for Tesla! The Model 3 would continue on its upward trajectory, probably reeling in EVen more accolades!

I guess it’s good to have some EVs in the running, but frankly I think the inclusion of the Model 3 and 2018 Leaf is highly questionable. Neither one of those vehicles is readily available for sale. I think they should have been held back for next year.

I agree. For an electric to be considered car of the year should it not have better performance credentials than previous electric “cars” of the year? For instance, I understand the initial 2018 Leaf will only have a range of 150 miles, some 88 miles less than the 2017 Bolt while the Tesla M3 is only rated at 220 miles per charge.

One other thing; can someone point me to a website that explains how all the “hibrids” operate. I lease a Volt so I am square with that. But I know nothing about the Prius Prime or Ionic hibrids.

I can only imagine the unholy wrath of angry keyboards that will be unleashed here if the Model 3 doesn’t win!

Late night monitor glow and cursing coming from parents’ basements.

A win for the Model 3 would help overcome the fact that it won’t be leasable initially, which raises the monthly payment by about $200.

Please explain why a company would offer leases if they can pre-sell everything they make.

I agree, who knows when and if you will be able to get one, it got bad reviews with the quality of the way the body parts fit together. And who knows how the reliability will be. They always have issues with newly released cars.

Last year’s newly released winner didn’t have quality issues.

The reservations are not “pre-sales”. they are free loans to Tesla at zero interest.

Why would they include cars that are not on sale ?

Possibly because “Production Hell” EVs, could use some love as well, even if the unwashed masses can’t have their cake, and eat it too!

The Leaf isnt going to win, that is already a certainty. Motor Trend lists the initial round of models that failed to make the first cut as “Contenders”, which according to their website, includes the Leaf. The Model 3 apparently survived that first round of cuts, but I have a hard time seeing it win the prize with all of the production issues. I agree with Asak; it should have been held off for the 2019 COTY awards.

Smart ForTwo ED, Hyundai Ioniq (Hybrid and Electric), and Prius Prime are similarly out.

Motor Trend has a history of handing out COTY to electrics recently. 3 of the past 7 years electrics have taken it: 2011 Chevy Volt, 2013 Tesla Model S, 2017 Chevy Bolt.

Their earlier initial drive report for the Model 3 was almost embarrassingly effusive, so would not be surprised to see it as a shoe-in.

What does production issues have to do with car performance?

Production issues are a big deal. The cars that are being built right now, with hand-built components, are hardly representative of the vehicles that will be built once these issues are resolved and production ramps up.

I think the Chevy Volt should have made their list. It’s a really impressive car

The Volt wasn’t eligible since it wasn’t “new or significsntly improved” for 2018. It was considered last year for the 2017 awards.

I visited the Motor Trend site and I predict that the 2018 COTY award will be an import, not the Tesla Model 3.

2018 COTY Alfa Romeo Giulia Sales:
2016 2017 2018
January 70 948
February 412
March 484
April 634
May 883
June 992
July 1104
August 916
September 7 916
October 0 726
November 0 756
December 29 1011

Tesla Model 3 has sold more in the last two months and will never look back…

Spacing fail…
2018 COTY Alfa Romeo Giulia Sales:
Dec 2017 1011
Jan 2018 948

Tesla Model 3 has sold more in the last two months and will never look back…
Dec 2017 1060
Jan 2018 1875