• Dec 23, 2010
2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T – Click above for high-res image gallery

The finalists for this year's North American Car and Truck of the Year awards may have been no big surprise, but the vehicle that our readers think will win Car of the Year honors came as something of a shock.

The NACTOY judges have picked the Chevrolet Volt, Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Leaf as finalists for Car of the Year. While the Leaf saw a little bit of love with 2,820 votes in our unofficial poll, as well as being named European Car of the Year, the final tally came down to a bare-knuckled fight between the Volt and Sonata. Surprisingly, the Hyundai eked out a win with 8,058 votes and 42.7-percent of the total votes cast, which just barely bested the 7,985 votes cast for the Volt and its 42.3 percent of the total vote.

That's not a huge margin of victory by any means (a statistical dead heat, as they say), but considering that the Volt has whirred away with honors like the Green Car of the Year, Automobile Magazine's Automobile of the Year and Motor Trend's Car of the Year awards, we fully expected the Bowtiie to handily walk away with our impromptu poll.

We were pretty smitten with both the 2.0T and the hybrid variants of the Sonata when we hopped behind their wheels earlier this year, and buyers have been no less taken with the base model. The 2011 Sonata has enjoyed a huge year in terms of sales with 183,102 units sold by early December, a year-over-year increase of 65 percent.

Meanwhile, the 2011 Ford Explorer handily beat the 2011 Dodge Durango and 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee in our informal North American Truck of the Year poll. You can check out the results from both surveys here, and the stay tuned for when the real winners are announced at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show in early January.



Photos copyright ©2010 Zach Bowman / AOL


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  • 35 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am seeing a lot of these cars on the road and I live in a very GM town.
      Hyundai is on its way to becoming the next Toyota.
      The Genesis really can't be beaten for under $40,000 either.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The new Sonata isnt very photogenic, it looks great in the flesh. I didn't like them until I started seeing them on the road, now I can't stop looking at them!

      • 4 Years Ago
      That is one horrible looking car. And before the backlash starts,....Yes, I realize this is just my opinion. Thankyou.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is what happens when you let self proclaimed auto professionals "desk jockeys" take surveys, half the people that read AB have yet seen much less test drove any of the vehicles in the survey but yet they have opinion on which vehicle is best????? Lets leave the car business to that that love cars and not those that think they have a clue!
        • 4 Years Ago
        As a person who spent 25 years in the automobile business let me congratulate D57H for clearly stating what needs to be realized about biased opinion of people who base their decision on what they think they know. I'm sure the Sonata is a fine car but all their technology has already been done by all the companies so it's really nothing unique. That said, the styling is horrid but as we say in the real car biz,"there's a seat for every ass and an ass for every seat". The Leaf has some real issues about the range and as people whome choose to live with those issues will find out and have a car with alot of down time and will have to buy a regular gasoline car to make up for that down time. Which leaves the Volt as a practical solution and the technology is very cutting edge. While the price right now is very high, the price like most technologies will reduce themselves as competition and costs of manufacturing reduce themselves through full production. AND with Toyota scrambling to catch up by retrofitting the Prius to plug in by 2012 and all indications are currently nowhere near the Volts range and performance, should tell most that GM in on to something huge. But all you "experts" out there should just stay in your cozy denial and just keep on hateing GM and Ford. Your mommy will still love you.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm so glad AB picked that pic to be the cover pic for the Sonata. It's got to be the worst angle for the car, showing off the melted look just right as well as the huge-gap-appearance between the hood and fenders. It's unsightly. I know if Toyota made something like that everyone here would be HOWLING at how horrible it is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed, the Sonata looks like Salvador Dali drew up a melting car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @MyThreeRocks

        Uh... no.

        Toyota doesn't need "help" in showing how ugly their vehicles are.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I concur. This car is plain ugly. The fact it won this poll doesn't make it any prettier; it just shows many people have no taste.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai makes two similar cars, different in personality and brand. The Mercedes derivative look Sonata and the Kia Optima give the choice of Toyota or Mazda driving experiences. Both will be excellent buys next fall as leftovers. Right now, though, the factories are making terrific lease offers...
      CLS
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Hyundai Sonata exemplifies what customers want in a vehicle and harbors a realistic (and affordable) chance of ownership. I think it epitomizes what customers will be buying/driving in 2011, therefore being the best choice for NACOTY!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This doesn't make any sense to me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's music to my ears.
      • 4 Years Ago
      considering the sonata's about half the price of the volt, accessible to a lot more people, and represents a massive move upward for the company, I'm not surprised, plenty of rational people apparently hiding on the sidelines here :).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can't spell informal without fail.
      • 4 Years Ago
      With the number of H/K idolaters who spring to the praises of anything H/K, why is this result surprising to anyone. Just remember dissension is NOT allowed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @MondayMorning, Why is someone labeled a "hater" just because they don't like something? That is such an overused and misused term. It's not a personal attack on hyundai, it's just that some of us don't like the way the car looks. Not sure why you find it "interesting" that we post on hyundai threads even though we don't like them. That's what the comment section is for. If people like them, that's fine. You won't hear me call them "hyundai whores". So what's the difference?

        By the way, I think Kia's are pretty good looking.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sounds like there's plenty of dissent. I honeslty don't know what you guys are crying about here. Maybe it's just that your opinion isn't valued?
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's like a Justin Bieber fansite asking its readers to name their favorite singer and then the website being surprised that Bieber won... LOL.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The problem is that any time anyone speaks out against Hyundai their star rating somehow hits the bottom, while those who say things like "Hyundai is on its way to becoming the next Toyota." get nothing but three star ratings. If that's all that came of it, then it wouldn't be a big deal, but when the fanboys constantly vote done any dissenting comments, those commenters have to go through a whole process of verifying their e-mail address before any other comments show up. I guess it could be just a handful of overzealous fanboys doing it, but this site does seem to have a love affar with Korean cars.

        Granted, a simple way to get back into the green is to post some shlock about how "the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T is the greatest thing to ever happen to the automotive world" and you magically inch back into the green! Even then, while I personally don't like the styling of recent Hyundai products, I don't mind Kia's styling at all. The Forte Koup is rather stylish.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Excellent point. And very true especially with regards to dissension. Think freely at your own peril.
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