Memorial day has passed by, the unofficial start to summer begins and the weather is finally getting warmer here in New England – Not dryer mind you, just warmer.
So what better way to celebrate the return of warm weather then to award the best winter vehicles as determined by the members of the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA).
Today, NEMPA members gathered together with representatives from around the automotive industry at their annual NEMPA Awards dinner MIT in Cambridge Massachusetts.
Besides winter vehicles, the event MC’ed by Chasing Classic Cars star Wayne Carini also recognized the best convertibles on the market, as well as honor members of the industry itself.
Jaguar / Land Rover Media Specialist Ree Hartwell was presented with the ‘The Charles E. Dole High Road Award’ honoring her long-time career in the automotive media world. Hartwell’s friends at Jaguar and the New England Motor Press paid tribute to her in two funny, yet touching videos that were shown during the presentation.
‘The Camel’s Back Award’ was given to Russell Datz, National Public Relations Manager for Volvo Car USA, while the ‘NEMPA Camel’s Back Double Hump Award’ went to Lori Scholz, Public Relations Manager for Hyundai Motor America.
The New England Motor Press describes the Camel’s Back award as an award that is presented to a member of the automotive public relations corps who have consistently and with good humor and genuine helpfulness risen to NEMPA’s often untimely and burdensome requests, rather than allowing them to be the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Toyota took home two special awards, ‘The Yankee Cup Technology Award’ was given to Toyota for their Zero-Emissions Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Freight Vehicles. And the ‘The Ritvo Design & Elegance Award’ which Toyota won for the all-new 2020 GR Supra design.
Qualcomm Technologies, a big supporter and technology partner of the Formula E racing series was awarded the ‘The Yankee Supplier Award’ for their 3rd Generation Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Automotive Cockpit Platforms.
The Kia Brand was also recognized with the ‘Yankee Value Award’.
Normally given to a single vehicle within a manufacturers line up, this year the New England Motor Press choose to honor the entire Kia line up. A diverse line up that now ranges from the sub-compact Kia Rio, to the all-new, eight passenger Kia Telluride SUV.
Stepping back a bit..All the way back to February.
Every winter NEMPA members get together for what they call a ‘Winter Test Day’ where members drive, evaluate and vote on the most worthy winter vehicles in each respective class.
Now, what defines a worthy winter vehicle maybe a subjective discussion and not all members agree on what makes a vehicle ideal for this type of weather.
As you can see by the video below, when asked by the folks at RPM News Weekly, NEMPA members each had their thoughts about what makes a winter vehicle.
But hey, It’s not all about the cold and gloom of winter at the New England Motor Press Awards, besides honoring the best snow-worthy rides members also get to choose their favorite fun in sun cars as well.
The Rag Top Awards honor ‘Best in Class’ convertibles in three categories: Convertible, Luxury Convertible and Ultra-Luxury Convertible. With the Mazda MX-5 Miata, all-new BMW M850i xDrive and the Mercedes-AMG SL63 taking home those awards.
Then of course there’s our own annual WheelsTV Pre-Owned Vehicle of the Year Award, or POVY for short.
Presented by WheelsTV CEO Jim Barisano, this is the eleventh year of this iconic Award, which at one time was the only major award given to a pre-owned vehicle in North America.
To be named the WheelsTV POV of the Year, the vehicle must be in service for at least two years and demonstrate both outstanding long-term reliability and exceptional consumer satisfaction.
Unlike every other vehicle award, the WheelsTV POV of the Year pits vehicles from a variety of classes against each other with the key vehicle attributes being dependability, reasonable repair costs and the level of vehicle owners’ satisfaction with their used car.
The challenge for the POVY panel of judges is to select a single stand out from category winners in eight diverse classes. Green Cars, SUV, Crossover, Sporty Car, Small Car, Family Car, Light Truck and Luxury Car.
This year, members of the WheelsTV Staff along with 30+ members of the New England Motor Press whittled some 300+ car models down to 8 finalists, eventually choosing the 2016-2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata as the overall winner.
The Miata is fun, inexpensive and reliable, so although you can’t bring home a load of mulch from the garden store (like a boring o’le SUV) the Miata still fits the definition of a Pre-Owned Vehicle Award winner perfectly.
During the his award presentation speech Barisano referenced Mazda’s Jinba Ittai design philosophy that dates back to the conception of the first generation MX-5 Miata:
“Mazda’s car making philosophy is Jinba Ittai and that describes the special moment when the horse and rider are one, with a profound degree of connection and mutual understanding, now If you have had the opportunity to drive the MX-5 Miata, then you’ve probably experienced Jinba Ittai and can better understand why the MX-5 has been crowned the 2019 WheelsTV Pre-owned Vehicle of the Year”
Here’s a complete look at the 2019 New England Motor Press Award winners.
NEMPA Winter Vehicle Award Winners:
2019 NEMPA Official Winter Truck of the Year
2019 NEMPA Official Winter Sedan of the Year
NEMPA Best in Class Sub-Compact SUV
NEMPA Best in Class Compact SUV
NEMPA Best in Class Mid-Size SUV
Best in Class Large SUV
NEMPA Best in Class Compact Sedan/Wagon
Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
NEMPA Best in Class Mid-Sized Sedan
NEMPA Best in Class Luxury Sedan
NEMPA Best in Class Luxury Compact SUV
NEMPA Best in Class Luxury Mid-size SUV
NEMPA Best in Class Full-Size Luxury SUV
NEMPA Best in Class Green Vehicle Hybrid or PHEV
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
NEMPA Extreme Vehicle Award
Ford F-150 Raptor
Yankee Value Award