The competition for this year's North American Car and Truck of the Year was certainly stiff, but at the opening ceremonies for the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, the winners have finally been crowned. The 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Ford Explorer take top honors as the Car and Truck of the Year for 2011.
We aren't necessarily surprised by either winner, especially the Volt, which has taken the automotive industry by storm in recent months. General Motors' range-extended EV has already been named Motor Trend Car of the Year and Automobile of the Year, and regardless of the sedan's shortcomings, it is no doubt an impressive engineering feat for GM. The Volt also won the Green Car of the Year award and the Detroit Free Press' Car of the Year title.
Thomas Stephens, GM's vice chairman of global product operations, said that the Volt represents the soul of the new General Motors, so critics (we're looking at you, Rush Limbaugh) will probably continue to have lots to complain about in the coming years.
With the Explorer's win, Ford has now taken the North American Truck of the Year award for the past three years, with the Transit Connect and F-150 winning in 2010 and 2009, respectively. The new Explorer's transition from a traditional body-on-frame SUV to a modern crossover certainly hasn't weakened its appeal to both the media and consumers alike, and with an EcoBoost version arriving within the next few months, the Expy's market share will undoubtedly get larger.
Congratulations to both the Volt and Explorer, and a tip of the hat to runners-up Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Leaf, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.