2011 North American Car & Truck of the Year finalists announced

2011 Dodge Durango
2011 Dodge Durango

Winners will be revealed in Detroit

With the year coming to a close, the finalists for the 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year have been announced.

Unsurprisingly, the nominees for car of the year include the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. They are joined by the Hyundai Sonata, which is an underdog to say the least.

On the truck side, the outcome is more of a toss up as the contenders include the Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Ford Explorer.

The winners will be selected by a panel of 49 automotive journalists and the awards will be presented at the North American International Auto Show in January.

Who should win? Feel free to chime in on the comments below.

Source: North American Car and Truck of the Year

2011 Finalists Chosen

DETROIT, - Forty-nine automotive journalists have selected the Chevrolet Volt, Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Leaf as the three finalists for the 2011 North American Car of the Year.

The finalists for the 2011 North American Truck of the Year are the Dodge Durango, the Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The finalists were revealed today at an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit. The winners will be announced on January 10 at an 8 a.m. news conference at the North American International Auto Show.

The awards are unique in the United States because -- instead of being given by a single media outlet -- they are awarded by a coalition of automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who represent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and web sites.

To be eligible a vehicle must be all new or "substantially changed."

The correct name is "North American Car of the Year" and "North American Truck of the Year," not "Car of the Year" or "Truck of the Year."

Earlier this month jurors sent their ballots to Michelle Collins, the Michigan Audit Partner in Charge at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Today Ms. Collins handed over envelopes containing the names of the finalists (listed in alphabetical order) to Mark Phelan, the auto critic for The Detroit Free Press, who made the announcement.

This begins a second round of voting on the three car and three truck finalists. Those ballots also go to Ms. Collins who will be the only one who knows the winners until she hands over the envelopes on January 10.

Here are some observations:

If the Chevrolet Volt wins it will be the fourth time General Motors has won the North American Car of the Year. Most recently, the Chevrolet Malibu was the 2008 North American Car of the Year.

The Hyundai Sonata includes three models, the standard sedan, the sporty version and the hybrid. If the Sonata wins it will be the second win for Hyundai. Its Genesis was the 2009 North American Car of the Year.

If the Sonata wins it will be the fifth time a hybrid has been honored. Most recently the Ford Fusion Hybrid was the 2010 North American Car of the Year.

If the Nissan Leaf wins it will be the second time a Nissan has been a North American Car of the Year. The first time was the Altima in 2002.

If the Dodge Durango wins it will be the second time a Dodge has been a North American Truck of the Year and the third time a vehicle from Chrysler has won. The Grand Cherokee won in 1999 and the Dodge Ram in 1994.

If the Ford Explorer wins it will be the seventh time a Ford has been the "North American Truck of the Year." Ford has dominated the truck category. Last year the Ford Transit Connect was the winner.

If the Jeep Grand Cherokee wins it will be the third time a vehicle from Chrysler has been a North American Truck of the Year. The Grand Cherokee won in 1999 and the Dodge Ram won in 1994.

This is the 18th year of the awards, which are funded exclusively by the jurors. During that time:

• Domestic automakers have won North American Car of the Year nine times. European automakers have won four times, Japanese automakers have won three times. A Korean automaker has won once.

• Domestic automakers have won North American Truck of the Year 11 times. Japanese automakers have won four times. European automakers have won twice.

Last year the North American Car of the Year was the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the North American Truck of the Year was the Ford Transit Connect.

The awards are administered by a five-person organizing committee. This year its members are Karl Brauer (Edmunds.com); Tony Swan (Car and Driver); Lindsay Brooke (Automotive Engineering International); Mark Phelan (The Detroit Free Press) and Christopher Jensen (Freelance).

Below are the vehicles on which the jurors voted.

2011 North American Car of the Year:
Audi A8
Buick Regal
Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Volt
Ford Fiesta
Hyundai Sonata/2.0T/Hybrid
Infiniti M37/56
Jaguar XJ
Kia Optima
Mazda Mazda2
Nissan Juke
Nissan Leaf
Volkswagen Jetta
Volvo S60

North American Truck of the Year:
Dodge Durango
Ford Edge
Ford Explorer
Honda Odyssey
Hyundai Tucson
Infiniti QX56
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia Sorento
Kia Sportage
Lincoln MKX
Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Porsche Cayenne
Toyota Sienna
Volkswagen Touareg

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Comments (25)

Siawa Siawa
My vote is definitely for Sonata... what an achievement but for some reason (seeing it's North American award), I think it's gonna go to Volt.
Dec 20th, 2010 7:48pm
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alamak alamak
lol.............i had the same feeling!!!!
Dec 21st, 2010 3:32am
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JimP JimP
Well, whatever one they pick it will be the kiss of death like all the others they have had.
Dec 20th, 2010 6:39pm
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radmeister radmeister
The Sonata is the best car for the $, the 2.0T is just fabulous. As for SUV, there is only one real SUV and that is the Range Rover....The rest of these cars are a joke.
Dec 20th, 2010 10:24am
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Han Solo Han Solo
Hats off for Hyundai Sonata, they went from crappy Asian Car to a superb class leader in the segment.... Wow...that is some accomplishment. I love everything about the new Sonata except for the Headlights. Bravo to Chevy Volt, I just hope they make a Sedan Spind-Off soon. I heard that GM and LG Chem is converting the Chevy Cruze Sedan into an Extended Range Electric Vehicle using the Chevy Volt's system. It's called Vista C.
Dec 20th, 2010 6:06am
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radmeister radmeister
I agree, i now find it very hard to walk into a ford or chevy dealer and justify their prices in comparison to hyundai. I much rather buy a new hyundai than a gm. Hell i'll take a genesis v8 sedan over a cadillac DTS
Dec 20th, 2010 10:31am
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Shumy Shumy
Sonata is just a joke. It is the copy of wv passat cc. Durango's front is nice but the back is really bad. They made a good publication of the Volt. I don't see anything special about it. I know it's an electric car but what? It is not the first one. In addition to this, it's uglyyy. Good marketing Chevrolet !
Dec 19th, 2010 12:03am
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radmeister radmeister
It may be a copy, but it is more sporty and half the price. Sure it does not have the quality of a 35k car for 25k, but it's pretty darn close. And for that i think it deserves some recognition. Easy to judge a book by its cover, you have to drive both the CC and the Sonata and then you get an understanding of how good the sonata is. I in fact find it scary the rate at which hyundai is advancing.
Dec 20th, 2010 10:29am
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shaahinmt shaahinmt
shouldn't this be the 2011 Gay car for the year list?
Dec 18th, 2010 10:00pm
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rsrtampa rsrtampa
Why is it that every comment you make is referencing "gay". Just come out of the closet already you sad sack.
Mar 9th, 2011 6:37pm
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joelynn joelynn
ahem, just because a car doesnt have a petrol engine doesnt mean it isnt a car.
Dec 18th, 2010 6:08pm
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shoemaker shoemaker
From the listed cars of this rank it is worthy only Durango, IMHO. Both leaf, and volt is, as a matter of fact, not cars in traditional understanding of this word.
Dec 18th, 2010 1:54pm
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radmeister radmeister
Shoemaker, your name does not lie. The first "car" was steam powered. So what is the definition of a car? I dare you to look up the definition and find me a single dictionary that puts a limit on method of propulsion.
Dec 20th, 2010 10:26am
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som3aa som3aa
i don't understand why do people want to buy an overpriced car which runs on batteries that aren't sufficient to take you anywhere but to a store next door to save a few bucks on gas in return have to charge the car (pay for electricity) and then every couple of years pay for a new battery which costs more than paying for the fuel those years???
Dec 18th, 2010 10:57am
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Shumy Shumy
This is probably the longest sentence I ever saw
Dec 19th, 2010 12:00am
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Han Solo Han Solo
Because we are running out of Fossil Fuel and we are tyring save the environment.
Dec 20th, 2010 6:17am
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eddie eddie
The Leaf would be the perfect commute car. The Volt is the best compromise if you needed some out of town traveling.
Dec 18th, 2010 8:39am
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dcars62 dcars62
The Volt is a true engineering wonder. The Sonata is a beautiful car and the true leader in that class of cars. The leaf is a modern remake on the electric car. My vote is for the Volt no.1 and the Sonata a close second.
Dec 18th, 2010 6:36am
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ransomeliolds ransomeliolds
I'm goin for the LEAF and the EXPLORER
Dec 18th, 2010 5:32am
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eddie eddie
I am thinking of buying a Sonata. It looks great, made in the USA, well built and a great warranty in these times of uncertainty.
Dec 18th, 2010 3:05am
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Does anyone remember last year when the fusion and transit connect won car and truck respectively. what a f*ing joke.
Dec 18th, 2010 2:45am
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bfghemicuda bfghemicuda
Probably the JGC but would like to see the Durango.
Dec 18th, 2010 1:49am
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wcfuser14369 wcfuser14369
Oh right, not trucks then really. Just SUVs. And Hyundai Sonata as Car of the Year? Even the Koreans will be chickling at that one.
Dec 18th, 2010 1:31am
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and what exactly is wrong with the sonata?
Dec 18th, 2010 2:46am
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Douglas6250 Douglas6250
Well nothing's wrong with the Sonata. It's a very good car. I used to laugh at Korean cars as well, but not any more now. They mean business. However, isn't it a bit weird to pick the Chevy Volt over the Nissan Leaf ??
Dec 18th, 2010 6:35am
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