Shortlist Determined for Car and Truck of the Year

One of the advantages of waiting to buy a used car rather than immediately buying a new car as soon as it hits the market is the benefit of time and hindsight. If everybody knew how cars would be received and perform over time, it’s unlikely that many of the weaker models would sell very well when stacked up against cars at a similar price point.

Drivers who are shopping for a used car may want to look at the models typically considered to be among the best in any given year, for example. Every year, automotive writers across the country vote on what they believe to be the North American Car and Truck of the year. Looking at these lists can give buyers a sense of which vehicles are generally accepted to be a cut above the rest.

This year looks to be as contentious as ever as multiple brands compete for the top awards. The Detroit Free Press recently looked at some of the top vehicles that made the shortlist this year. These 27 cars and trucks will eventually be narrowed down to 3 in each class on December 16th, with the overall winner revealed on January 10th at the North American International Auto Show.

Two vehicles that were unsurprisingly included on the list were the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. Though both models have yet to be fully released, they each have a strong chance to win based on their heavily-hyped game-changer status alone. General Motors has been heavily pushing the Chevy Volt as a fuel-efficient compromise for many Americans, while Nissan took a risk by going fully electric straight out of the gate. It remains to be seen how these cars will do when they hit the market, but either makes a strong case for Car of the Year.

Hyundai pulled no punches with its redesigned Sonata, taking aim at the typically-dominant mid-size sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Civic. By all accounts, the South Korean automaker pulled it off, delivering a stylish yet affordable sedan that is helping Hyundai shed its “budget” image.

Small cars have gotten a big boost thanks to the flailing economy, and the Ford Fiesta, Nissan Juke and Chevy Cruze all made waves this year, earning places on the short list. The Fiesta changed the auto industry’s approaching marketing, as the vehicle’s brisk sales proved that Ford’s social media strategy was a winner. The Juke has turned heads as a compact crossover with some aggressive styling. The news source said that the Cruze could possibly be “Chevy’s best small car ever and GM’s best-selling car,” no small feat for a brand with such a long history.

In the truck segment, there was a bit of a surprise as no pickups made the list. New looks for old favorites like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer and Honda Odyssey may be tough to beat, but it might be the innovators, like the Infiniti QX56 and Ford Edge, that end up taking home top honors.