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2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists shortlisted


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2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists shortlisted

by Jeremy Korzeniewski (RSS feed) on Dec 16th 2010 at 1:00PM

Predictable, yet worthy. That's how we're feeling about this year's crop of choices for the 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists. Without further ado, here they are (in alphabetical order, all 2011 models):


Chevrolet Volt

Hyundai Sonata

Nissan Leaf


Dodge Durango

Ford Explorer

Jeep Grand Cherokee

See? Predictable, yet worthy. There was little doubt that the 2011 Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf would make the list, and the Hyundai Sonata has done an admirable job of shaking up the established midsize sedan hierarchy. On the truck side of the equation, it's none too surprising to see a trio of people-moving 'utes, seeing as though the category has just be reinvigorated by a number of substantially reworked and worthy players.

But, as usual, it's your opinions we're most interested in. While our completely unscientific polls will have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the actual results of the official voting, we urge you to make your voice heard anyway. Now, get to voting!



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Leaf, Volt, Sonata named Car of Year finalists; Ford, Chrysler in truck running

David Phillips

and Jesse Snyder

Automotive News -- December 16, 2010 - 11:30 am ET

DETROIT -- The Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Sonata today were named finalists for 2011 North American Car of the Year, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer and Dodge Durango were named Truck of the Year finalists.

The awards are judged by 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada -- representing magazines, newspapers, Web sites, television and radio.

The criteria used to judge the winners include innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. The finalists were unveiled today at a meeting of the Automotive Press Association in Detroit.

The Volt is primarily an electric vehicle with a backup gasoline engine to give it additional range, and the Leaf is an all-electric car. Both models went on sale this month. The Sonata is also available with a hybrid powertrain.

The Grand Cherokee and Durango are SUVs, while the new Explorer is a crossover based on a car platform.

The winners will be announced Jan. 10, the opening day for media previews at the Detroit auto show.

The 2011 car semi-finalists were the Audi A8, Buick Regal, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Sonata 2.0 T Hybrid, Infiniti M37/56, Jaguar XJ, Kia Optima, Mazda Mazda2, Nissan Juke, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen Jetta and Volvo S60.

The truck semi-finalists for 2011 were the 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 and Volkswagen Touareg.

Last year, the Ford Fusion took North American Car of the Year honors, while the Ford Transit Connect van was named Truck of the Year.

It was only the third time in 17 years that one automaker won both awards. Honda Motor Co. won two honors in 2006, and General Motors Co. claimed both honors in 2007.

American automakers have won the car honor nine times. European automakers have been selected four times, and Japanese automakers have won three times. A Korean car has been selected once.

Domestic automakers have dominated the North American Truck of the Year award with 11 wins. Japanese automakers have been selected four times, and European automakers have won twice.

The jurors include Edward Lapham, executive editor of Automotive News.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101216/RETAIL01/101219867/1252#ixzz18IhcXe50

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Volt, Leaf, Chrysler SUVs finalists for top award



Two Chrysler SUVs and two electric cars stood out as the most outstanding cars and trucks of the year, according a panel of the nation's top automotive journalists who are voting on this year's North American Car and Truck of the Year.

The Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee, both built in Detroit off the same truck platform, as well as the extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt and all-electric Nissan Leaf were among six finalists for the award.

• Related: Chat live with Mark Phelan Friday at noon about NACTOY.

Ford's redesigned 2011 Explorer and Hyundai Sonata also were named as finalists today at an event hosted by the Automotive Press Association in Detroit.

Ford is launching its Explorer this month.

"It couldn't come at a better time," said Ford spokesman Said Deep. "We are in dealers with our new vehicle and orders are running at a rapid pace."

The North American Car and Truck of the Year awards are different from other industry awards because they are given by a jury of 49 veteran automotive journalists from Canada and the United States, including Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan.

"We're pleased this respected, opinion-leading group of journalists recognizes the Jeep Grand Cherokee's attributes," Mike Manley, CEO of the Jeep Brand said in a statement.

Winners of the contest will be announced on Jan. 10 at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

This year, the jury considered more than 50 vehicles. Of those, the jurors voted to put 14 cars and 14 trucks on the ballot.

Here is a closer look at the finalists:

Dodge Durango: While the Dodge Durango is built on a unibody platform, rather than an SUV's traditional body-on-frame platform, the stout truck pulls 6,200 pounds with a V6 engine and 7,200 pounds with a V8.

Pricing for the three-row SUV starts at $30,045 for the Durango Express model with rear-wheel-drive and at $32,045 for the all-wheel-drive version, including an $850 destination charge.

Ford Explorer: Launched this month, the 2011 Ford Explorer can handle the off-road demands of most weekend warriors and easily travels over deep sand ruts and steep hills even though it built off of the same platform as the Ford Taurus sedan.

The new Explorer gets 25 miles per gallon on the highway, a 25% improvement over the outgoing model. It's also loaded with safety features, including an industry first: optional inflatable rear seat belts.

Jeep Grand Cherokee: Introduced in July, sales of the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee have surged. In November, for example, sales increased 256% compared with the same month a year ago. Critics have applauded the Grand Cherokee for its vastly improved interior and new engine.

Chevrolet Volt: After nearly four years of anticipation, many car critics are saying the Volt's performance is impressive. With a starting price of about $41,000, the Volt travels between 25-50 miles on an electric charge before a gasoline-engine switches on to generate more electricity.

Hyundai Sonata: Sales of the Hyundai Sonata, introduced in February, have surged 65.9% through November, making the redesigned midsize sedan among the most popular cars in America.

"We have a game-changer in the mid-size car segment and customers are responding," said Hyundai spokesman Dan Bedore.

Bedore said sales of the Sonata are on track to exceed 200,000 this year for the first time in its history.

Nissan Leaf: The compact, battery-powered Leaf is part of Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s goal of being able to produce as many as 250,000 zero emission cars annually by 2013.

The first Leaf was delivered to a customer last weekend and 20,000 customers have placed reservations, said Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman.

The Leaf has an advantage over the Volt because its starts $32,780 before federal tax incentives, or several thousand dollars lower than the Volt.

“We’ve come out with a mass-market, affordable zero emission vehicle,” Brockman said.

The Leaf has an EPA-rated cruising range of 73 miles that will typically range from about 80 to 110 miles for most customers.



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By Mark Kleis

The North American Car and Truck of the Year awards are some of the most coveted awards given in the region each year, and represent a fantastic – and free – way for automakers to brag endlessly for the following 12 months.

Last year, Ford swept the awards with the Fusion Hybrid bringing home the Car of the Year award, and the Transit Connect bringing home the gold for the Truck of the Year – but this year we have a new field of very mixed, and very competitive entrants.

For the Car of the Year, the field has been carefully narrowed down to include the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Sonata, all three cars have enjoyed seemingly endless press and praise throughout 2010.

Across the isle, the Truck of the Year finalists include the Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee – giving Chrysler a solid chance of bringing home an award.

While there likely isn’t a vehicle on the list that you didn’t see coming, picking the final two winners will likely prove a bit more difficult as the competition is particularly stiff this year.

Winners for the awards will be chosen by a coalition of automotive journalists located across the United States and Canada, representing all media forms including magazines, television, radio, newspapers and web sites.



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