The North American Car and Truck of the Yearare considered to be among the most important independent awards given in the auto industry.
A panel of 50 auto journalists from across North America picked the finalists from a group of 17 2012 cars and seven 2012 trucks.
To be eligible for the award, the vehicle must be new or substantially changed.
The North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year will be awarded at the in early January.
Car of the Year Finalists:
The Focus was re-designed for 2012 and the result is a compact car that combines improved fuel economy with a more youthful feeling. The Focus is Ford’s fourth best-selling vehicle. The 2012 model is a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Elantra was re-designed for 2012 with a more contemporary, and less-conservative styling It’s helped keep the small car among the most popular choices in the U.S. In fact, the Elantra is the 9th best-selling car in the U.S. this year, with sales up 45.5%. The 2012 model is a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The 2012 Passat is getting kudos for an updated look that is more comfortable both to drive and to ride in. On sale for only a few months this year, the Passat has helped VW enjoy a rebound in U.S. sales (up 25% this year) and points to a new emphasis on vehicles that will better match the desires of American car buyers. The 2012 Passat is a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
North American Truck of the Year Finalists:
The 2012 BMW X3 has breathed new life into the mid-size luxury crossover market thanks to sales that have soared this year. The X3 performance and styling have won positive reviews from those in the automobile press. The 2012 BMW X3 is a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.