2012 North American Car and Truck of the Year Finalists Announced

In recent years, “car of the year” awards have become nearly as commonplace and meaningless as non-BCS college football bowl games. That being said, the North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year awards are still worthy of our attention.

This year’s North American Car of the Year and Truck of the Year award winners have been judged by a panel of 50 freelance and staff writers from some of the most widely-read and well-respected automotive publications in the U.S. and Canada.

This year’s 2012 North American Car of the Year finalists include the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat. Finalists for the 2012 Truck of the Year title include the BMX X3, Honda CR-V and Range Rover Evoque.

If the list of Truck of the Year finalists seems to be missing something – – namely trucks – – it’s because the “truck” designation has undergone a transformation in recent years.  Crossovers, SUVs, and even minivans now compete head-to-head with extended cabs for the title.  In 2010, Ford’s Transit Connect utility vehicle claimed the title to the chagrin of many who questioned its truck credentials. In 2009, Ford swept the awards when its Ford F-150 pickup was named Truck of the Year and the Ford Focus claimed the title of Car of the Year.  For 2011, the Car of the Year title went to the Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric hybrid.

Ford has dominated the Truck of the Year competition, winning the award in eight of the 19 years it has been handed out.

The North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year awards are given to now or significantly redesigned vehicles. Judging is based on a variety of criteria including design, performance, fuel-economy and safety.

Contenders for this year’s Car of the Year award included the Audi A6 and A7, Buick Verano, Chevy Sonic, Chrysler 300/SRT-8, Fiat 500, Ford Focus, Hyundai Accent, Elantra and Veloster, Kia Rio and Rio 5, Scion iQ, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Camry and Prius V and Volkswagen Beetle and Passat.

Competing for the title of 2012 Truck of the Year honor were the BMW X3, Honda CR-V, Land Rover, Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes M-Class, Mini Countryman, Nissan Quest and Saab 9-4X.

This year’s winners will be announced on January 9, just prior to the start of the North American International Auto Show which is held annually in Detroit.

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