• Dec 16th 2010 at 1:00PM
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2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year Finalists – Click above for high-res image gallery

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):

Car: Truck: 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. Click past the break for the official press release.

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!

Which car should win the North American Car of the Year award?
2011 Chevrolet Volt 7987 (42.3%)
2011 Hyundai Sonata 8058 (42.7%)
2011 Nissan Leaf 2821 (15.0%)

Which truck should win the North American Truck of the Year award?
2011 Dodge Durango 1868 (10.4%)
2011 Ford Explorer 8970 (50.2%)
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 7040 (39.4%)

2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt

  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata

  • 2011 Nissan Leaf
  • 2011 Nissan Leaf

  • 2011 Dodge Durango Citadel
  • 2011 Dodge Durango Citadel

  • 2011 Ford Explorer
  • 2011 Ford Explorer

  • 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

[Source: North American Car and Truck of the Year]
Show full PR text
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).

More information including the names of the jurors is available at www.northamericancaroftheyear.org.

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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Chrysler deserves to win Truck of the year! Those are trucks, the explorer is not! Go Chrysler!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Despite all the comments above, I tend to fall favor of the Hyundai Sonata. This model has class and style. It drive great and gets very good gas mileage. It catches or basically demands the attention of everyone that looks at it.

      So when you see me driving down the road in one, just remember that this is going to be the wave of the furture.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the Chevy Volt was a "True" mass-production electric vehicle - Koodos to GM - but unfortunately it is just another "Hybrid" being produced in limited quantities for high cost. Whereas, the Hyundai Sonata is a "Real" full-size family car with oodles of standard features, performance, ride & handling, with better than 35 mpg (pretty close to the Volt) at almost 1/2 the price and is available as a SULEV/PZEV for the environmentally conscious.. Hmm.. let's look at some of the facts.

      Volt range = 40 miles then switches to 100% gasoline engine, must be re-charged using an "optional" home charging station, has cheezy interior trim, loud road noise & wind rush at highway speeds, costs over $40k, and reportedly GM will only make 10,000 units - If this is "COTY" better get in line early & be prepared to accept whatever color you can get!!!

      Sonata gets best in class fuel economy, offers multiple "flavors" of trim levels / engines / transmissions, has a 5-Star Crash Rating, excellent road manners, room for a family worth of cargo, comes with 10 year/100k mile warranty and costs less than $25,000. The $15,000 savings alone will take you 175,000 miles (@ $3.00 per gallon).

      Choice looks pretty clear from this end of the keyboard.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Hyundai Sonata exemplifies what customers want in a vehicle and carries a realistic (and affordable) chance of ownership. I think it epitomizes what customers will be driving in 2011, therefore being the best choice for NACOTY.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the Jeep Grand Cherokee does not win 2011 Truck of the Year, it is a flat out travesty!! I own the new GC and it is flat out amazing!!! I have never been a Jeep owner and I chose the Grand Cherokee over a Lexus GX470 because it had a nicer interior and much better ride/handling. I can certainly say that I am completely satisfied with this vehicle. If you have not driven this Jeep, then you are certainly missing out!

      Also, opinion is obviously subjective, but that Explorer is rather unattractive and initial specs do not look good in terms of capability.


      By the way, the Jeep is so nice that even the other vehicle based on it's platform is up for consideration.

      - Signed: A thoroughly satisfied 2011 Grand Cherokee Owner!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      IMO, the 2011 Ford F150 Should be on that list in one form or another (the raptor or 3.5l ecoboost). Also missing from the list is the Chevrolet 2500/3500HD pickup, which is surprising because they smashed the competition in every way.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Those that voted "Ford Explorer" - Are you on CRACK?? NONE of you jackwagons have even driven the damn thing!! But vote it "Car of the Year" lol

      I'm a Ford fan but as far as I'm concerned the new Explorer isn't an Explorer at all - unibody, Front Wheel Drive, handles and drives just like my GMC Acadia. Nice vehicle - sure, but "Explorer" meant something to me...now it's a FWD minivan disguised as a "Sports-Crossover"...blegh you can keep it, NOT interested (well if I wanted another Acadia lol)

      • 4 Years Ago
      Volt and leaf? Realy? Were is the fusion or fiesta or did ford not line your pockets like gm did
      • 4 Years Ago
      I bet the Volt will win the car.. and I would like to see the Explorer win but that is a toss up, all 3 are pretty good
        • 4 Years Ago
        It would be the Nissan LEAF in a shoo in until the GM payola machine in Detroit starts making the rounds. Remember when the terminally mediocre Saturn Aura won? Yep, the NACTOY panel is full of Detroit homers like McElroy and the GM public relations machine is 24-7.

        Imagine if GM had a REAL electric car to offer. People would already be asking what floor of the RennCen to deliver it on.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai Sonata and Ford Explorer. The Volt is just now getting to dealer lots and the year is almost over. We don't know if those cars will start breaking down after a month or two!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Those were my votes but it won't happen, Volt is almost a guarantee.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Car of the Year? Before any of them have driven one mile on public roads in the hands of any owner? The winner could end being a complete letdown. That's like announcing Time's Man of the Year for 2011 - in 2010. Or giving out the 2012 Olympic medal for Mens 100 M dash today - and then hoping that particular runner does well come the Olympics. Car of the Year needs to be announced after one full year on the road to see which fared best.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Or Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize early in his Dictatorship for things "He might do".

        Soon after he ramped up our war effort in Afgan!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Hyundai is the most significant car. This car makes Hyundai a major player in the largest volume segment in the US market. Hyundai has already eclipsed the Toyota brand in Europe, is America next? However the PC choice will be the Volt.

      The Grand Cherokee should win the truck prize as it is the first vehicle from an all new platform. A platform that is also the basis for the Durango and the next gen. ML and GL. While the Explorer is a dramatic change from body-on-frame RWD to unit body FWD, it is ultimately just another variation on the existing S80/Taurus platform.

      *jumps down of soap box and walks away*
        • 4 Years Ago
        How can the Volt set the stage for electric vehicle drivetrains when it isn't an electric vehicle? its a Sometimes electric vehicle. As far as I'm concerned, the moment it was revealed that the Volt's ICE can transmit torque to the wheels it should have been recatagorized as a gas electric hybrid as opposed to its now dubious title of extended range electric. If anything the Leaf sets the stage for fully electric drivetrains, however that doesnt guarantee it the win.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So Stew, GM engineers should have added an overdrive gear with extra weight and less efficiency just to satisfy your need for a simple understanding of the car....

        Drivers of the Volt, right now, are going to work every day, sometimes at highway speeds of more than 70, 75, 80 mph. And their logs are showing 75 % of their miles are pure electric.
        But you need your simple understanding of a drivetrain to make you happy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Volt is more revolutionary than the Sonata. The Volt's powertrain sets the stage for electric vehicles to become the norm long term. Just the Prius 13 years ago, the Volt is significant in a way the Sonata is not.
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