While we must have missed last year's inaugural winner – it was the Hyundai Sonata, by the way – we did catch this year's award presentation. The Passat beat out two other finalists, the Ford Explorer and Mazda5, in the voting of 68 automotive journalists. Those car scribes all belong to the Midwest Automotive Media Association, or "MAMA," as the Chicago-based group is affectionately known.
Candidates for the FVOTY must be new or updated vehicles that have four doors, have base prices under $50,000, and "appear at one of MAMA's two annual rallies." Other models considered in the 2012 voting included the Chevrolet Volt, Dodge Durango, Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, Ford Focus, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Subaru Impreza, and Toyota Camry.