Three cars and three trucks have been named finalists in the North American Car and Truck of the Year competition, which will culminate in an announcement of the winners in both categories at the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The finalists for the car of the year are the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda MX-5 Miata and Honda Civic, while the list of truck and utility vehicles nominees include the Volvo XC90, Nissan Titan XD and Honda Pilot.
Lindsay Brooke, one of the 53 NACTOY jurors who presented the nominees during a luncheon hosted by the Detroit’s Automotive Press Association, said the challenge for this year’s jurors was the large number of new vehicles that debuted during 2016. Forty-nine new vehicles made their debut during the year.
The challenge will be even more daunting in 2016 when 79 new vehicles will debut and in 2017 when 74 new vehicles will debut, according to estimates prepared by IHS Automotive, Brooke said. Each of the vehicles has to be changed substantially to earn a look from jurors.
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Brooke said after the presentation that the one surprise was the Mazda Miata since in the past jurors tended to favor “mainstream” family vehicle over roadsters.
Now in its 23rd year, the NACTOY jury selected the finalists from a list of trucks and sport utility vehicles that set new benchmarks in the classes in which they compete. The jurors evaluated Titan XD and 11 other semi-finalists on the ballot based on factors including: value for the dollar, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction.
“To understand the full significance of the North American Truck of the Year award you have to look at the cumulative depth of knowledge of the jurors, who represent major magazines, television stations, radio stations, newspapers and websites,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, U.S.A., Nissan North America, Inc.
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“To be named one of three finalists is a tribute to the dedicated Nissan planning, design, engineering, development and manufacturing teams across America that have worked so hard to bring it to market.”
Last year’s winners were the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford F-150. The three car finalists were the Ford Mustang, Hyundai Genesis and Volkswagen Golf. The Golf had 256 points, the Mustang 204 and the Genesis 110.
It was the second win for Volkswagen. The New Beetle won in 1999. The Golf was a finalist in 2010 but lost to the Ford Fusion Hybrid.
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The three truck finalists were the Chevrolet Colorado, the Ford F-150 and the Lincoln MKC. The F-150 had 297 points, the Colorado 205 and the MKC 68. It is the eighth truck win for Ford and the fourth time the F-150 has won.