This is the first time we can recall the eligible nominees in the truck/utility segment outnumbering the number of qualifying cars.

'Back to school' ads are are spooling up on TVs and in newspapers everywhere, and the auto industry's model picture is pretty clear for 2015, which means it's time for a new North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list.

For 2015, the jury will consider some 29 entrants in the car category, and 28 models are in contention for the truck/utility award, a category that includes crossover vehicles. This year's list is as long and varied as the industry itself, with everything from inexpensive subcompacts like the Honda Fit to exotically styled, constructed and powered dream cars like the BMW i8 up for consideration. It's also a truck/utility-heavy year, with utility players like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Colorado commingling with tiny luxury CUVs like the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. This is the first time we can recall the eligible nominees in the truck/utility segment being so close in number to that of the qualifying cars. While we're not ready to call it a bellwether moment, it seems like both a reflection of industry trends and also an acknowledgment that companies like General Motors are renewing a lot of closely related product families this year (e.g. GM's full-size GMT K2UC/G SUVs).

A number of car companies have multiple nominees, including GM (one car, eight trucks/utilities), Ford (one car, seven trucks/utilities), BMW (five cars, one utility), Hyundai/Kia (three cars, two utilities) and Toyota (one car, three utilities).

Last year, the cut crystal awards went to the Chevy Corvette Stingray and Silverado in a rare brand sweep.

It's important to note that this long list is a preliminary roundup of new or substantially refreshed vehicles, and at this early stage in the process, the jurors, like the rest of the automotive media, haven't necessarily had a chance to see and drive everything on the list. As we've noted previously, the long list is designed to show which vehicles are eligible for consideration, and as such, it's a fluid one – some nominees may fall of the list if they aren't made available to the jury within the consideration period, and other vehicles not shown on this list may yet be added.

For 2015, the independent jury (NACTOY is not affiliated with any publication, show or automaker, and funding comes from dues paid by the jurors themselves) has been expanded by 10 slots to 60 jurors. The expansion comes in acknowledgement of the industry's growing number of important publications in print, online and broadcast journalism.

The jury has a lot of work ahead of it: this autumn, after jurors have driven the nominees, an initial round of voting will be held, and the resulting "short list" of a dozen or so vehicles will trigger a further period of assessment followed by another vote that will result in three finalists for each category. A final round of voting will commence, and the winners will be announced at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Check out both lists of nominees by scrolling below, then have your say on who you think should win in Comments.

*Full Disclosure: Author is a NACTOY jury member.


UPDATE: In the text above, we commented on the fluidity of the NACTOY long list, and indeed, that's proving to be the case already – the Mini Hardtop has been added (although it initially carried a 2014 MY designation, it arrived too late for consideration in last year's voting) and the Honda HR-V and Ram ProMaster City have been removed, as they won't be available in time for judging. The Toyota Highlander has also been added. The text of the story and the nominee list has been updated accordingly.
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2015 North American Car and Truck/Utility Candidates
August 1, 2014

Cars

Acura TLX
Alfa Romeo 4C
Audi A3
BMW M3
BMW M4
BMW i3
BMW i8
Cadillac ATS Coupe & V
Chrysler 200
Dodge Challenger
Dodge Charger
Ford Mustang
Honda Fit
Hyundai Genesis sedan
Hyundai Sonata
Jaguar F-Type Coupe
Kia K900
Lexus RC
Maserati Ghibli
Mercedes-Benz B-Class electric
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
Mini Hardtop
Subaru Legacy
Subaru WRX / WRX STi
Toyota Camry
Toyota Yaris
Volkswagen Golf/GTI
Volvo V60

Trucks/Utilities
Audi Q3
BMW X4
Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Colorado
Chevrolet Suburban
Chevrolet Tahoe
Chevrolet Trax
Ford Edge
Ford Expedition
Ford F-150
Ford F-Series HD
Ford Transit Connect
GMC Canyon
GMC Yukon
GMC Yukon XL
Jeep Renegade
Kia Sedona
Kia Soul EV
Lexus NX
Lincoln MKC
Lincoln Navigator
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
Nissan Murano
Porsche Macan
Subaru Outback
Toyota Highlander
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      Master Austin
      • 4 Months Ago
      Slam dunk for the F150
      ChemicalNBC
      • 4 Months Ago
      We all know 2015 belongs to the F150 and Mustang.
      Jon Bowen
      • 4 Months Ago
      15 stang and 150 for sure
      Chris Burns
      • 4 Months Ago
      200 and colorado
      Avinash Machado
      • 4 Months Ago
      Car - Mustang Truck - F150 or Colorado\Canyon.
      Michael
      • 4 Months Ago
      Definitely slanted, so not accurate! The New Chevy Impala wasn't listed, and it's one of the best sedans on the road. With the new My Link & 4 G LTE in most of the '15 GM models, the 2 year/24,000 mile free maintenance + plus just being better built vehicles, Should Be Impala, ATS V, Colorado, Silverado, Suburban, Equinox, Traxx...as far as ford, real people drink out of aluminum cans, not try to drive them
      RZ-Civic
      • 4 Months Ago
      Almost certain it will be the Ford F-150 for the truck, while I could see the Jeep Renegade and Cadillac Escalade among the finalists. The car would be tougher to call, but I could see the Chrysler 200, Dodge Challenger (SRT Hellcat), and Ford Mustang among the finalists.
      rsholland
      • 4 Months Ago
      CAR: BMW i3; winner Subaru WRX; runner up TRUCK: F150; winner Jeep Renegade; runner up
      Chris Taketa
      • 4 Months Ago
      BMW i8. FTW.
      David
      • 4 Months Ago
      Surprised F56 MINI Cooper not nominated. It has been in Europe (and won). Surely, it's a way more impressive than, say, the Honda Fit.
        quuppa70
        • 4 Months Ago
        @David
        what it has won in Europe?
          David
          • 4 Months Ago
          @quuppa70
          Autoexpress Car of the Year, is one that I know of. I know. Not in the same league as this competition, but still it should have been a nominee if the Fit was! http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/mini/mini/87835/car-of-the-year-2014
      ashleydaniel
      • 3 Months Ago
      Audi Q43 will rule the show. The best luxury car ever.
      Wm Billyy Pataska
      • 4 Months Ago
      definitely the f-150 with the aluminum and the mustang for going global, and because they are the best looking vehicles around
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