The North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year Awards aren’t your typical auto accolades. Rather than being chosen by a specific organization, these awards are given by an independent jury of automotive journalists based throughout the United States and Canada.
The winners are often vehicles that shake up the status quo while delivering an exceptional experience to the driver and passengers. Only cars that are new to the market, or substantially redesigned, are eligible for nomination.
Each member of the 57-person voting committee submits a score for each of the finalists. They are free to judge the cars however they like, but must disperse a pre-determined number of points across each of the three finalists in each category. The vehicle with the most points in each category wins. The winners are announced each January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
This year’s finalists are prime examples of the exciting cars being produced by automakers around the world.
North American Car of the Year Finalists:
Honda Accord: The Accord might’ve been considered a shoo-in to win, if the Camry hadn’t also been redesigned for 2018. This’ll be a battle of two stalwarts in the sedan industry, with a feisty new up-and-comer hoping to disrupt the party.
Toyota Camry: A routine sales champion, the Camry remains the car to beat in the competitive midsize sedan category.
Kia Stinger: If this were a contest based on looks alone, the Kia, which debuted early this year at the Detroit Auto Show, would win in a landslide. But judges go far beyond a skin-deep review, and the Kia faces some exceptional competition. Who doesn’t love a good underdog, though?
North American Utility Vehicle of the Year Finalists:
Alfa Romeo Stelvio: The sleek Italian vehicle, which debuted at the LA Auto Show last month, makes it on the list of best utility vehicles for the first time. The crossover is a step outside the brand’s comfort zone, but it offers a blend of performance and practicality.
Honda Odyssey: Honda’s two-for-two in getting vehicles nominated for these prestigious awards. The Odyssey is certainly one of the best minivans on the market, but can it hold its own against a new breed of crossovers?
Volvo XC60: Competing vehicles from Audi and BMW, which are also new for 2018, didn’t make the short-list of finalists. That says a lot about the newly redesigned XC60. Were the judges impressed by the classy looks and roomy interior? Were they won-over by the new active-safety features? We’ll have to wait until January to find out.
North American Truck of the Year Finalists:
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2: This trail- and desert-ready Colorado sets a new standard for compact, off-road trucks. Will the judges prefer that capability over the more refined luxury offerings of the other nominees?
Ford Expedition: Buyer preference for full-size SUVs typically lands in the GM camp. This new Expedition could start to change that. As our review says, it’s bigger, lighter, and has a softer look that should appeal to more buyers. But will it appeal to the judges?
Lincoln Navigator: Ford doubled its chances of beating cross-town rival Chevy in the truck category. Based on the Expedition, with added intimidating looks and a hefty dose of luxury and technology, the Navigator has a real shot at taking home this award.
Which models do you think will win the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year Awards?
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