2011 North American Car & Truck of the Year Finalists Announced

Its that time of the year again when new cars and trucks from across the globe compete among themselves for various titles being given away by a whole lot of automotive publications. Among the significant, tough-to-win titles are the North American Car of the Year & Truck of the Year awards. So, when finalists for such prestigious titles are announced, it ought to be noticed. The models which have been shortlisted for 2011 awards are Chevrolet Volt, Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Leaf in cars and Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee in trucks.

The awards are unique because instead of being given by a single media outlet, they are awarded by a group of automotive journalists from the United States and Canada representing magazines, television, radio, newspapers and web sites. To be eligible, a vehicle must be 'all new' or 'substantially changed' from the previous model year.

Though my heart beats for Hyundai Sonata to take the title in the cars category with its Regular, Turbo and Hybrid variants for the sole reason of shaking up the established midsize sedan segment, my mind shouts that its going to be the revolutionary Chevrolet Volt taking the top step. The fact that the Volt has already won quite a few individual Car of the Year titles and the Nissan Leaf has already been declared 2011 European Car of the Year doesn't help matters either. Amongst the trucks, in all probability, Ford Explorer should be taking the title though there are good chances of the Jeep Grand Cherokee springing in a surprise.

Both the awards, in their 18th year currently, will be announced at the North American International Auto Show at Detroit on January 10. Last year, Ford made a clean sweep of the awards with its Fusion Hybrid and Transit Connect taking the respective titles. Let the countdown begin!

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