By on January 10, 2011

Chevy’s Volt and Ford’s Explorer won North American Car and Truck of the year, a result which surprised precisely nobody here at Cobo Hall. The Volt beat out Nissan’s Leaf and Hyundai’s Sonata, while the Explorer beat out Dodge’s Durango and Jeep’s Grand Cherokee. But forget the well-fed journos who make up the NACOTY jury… what is your car and truck of the year… and why?

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91 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: What Is Your Car Of The Year?...”


  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    The Sonata.
    The design, price and the “we don’t need no V6″ thing is really going to make others go back to their drawing boards.
    It’s a great comparison of forward thinking vs. the recently introduced Passat.
     

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      I think you’re right with the Sonata, though I don’t disagree with the selection of the Volt; price notwithstanding it is a technological advance.
       
      I find it ironic that “Truck of the Year” went to something that really isn’t a truck anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      I refuse to get involved in popularity contests, but I would like to say that the Leaf going on sale will be an important moment in car history.

  • avatar
    buzzdsm

    The Volt is impressive but the $40K price tag (without government aid)  takes it out of contention for me.
     
    A few that I would consider as car of the year.
     
    Mustang GT
    Hyundai Genesis
    Nissan Leaf (same price issue)

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      These awards are for new or recently redesigned vehicles. I don’t think the Genesis would qualify. The mustang might with the new engines. Also, price generally isn’t a metric with these awards.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    The one that started this morning in 6 degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures and got me to work.
     
    My 16 year-old Pontiac Sunfire GT.

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      +1

      I also nominate my 9 year old Mitsubishi Diamante VRX for the same reason.  Well that and keeping me away from car payments since 2006.

    • 0 avatar

      +2  I also nominate the car I drove 30 miles to work in the freezing cold this morning…. a 1994 Geo Metro Hatch.  257k miles and still gets the best fuel economy when the temperatures drop of anything I’ve ever owned.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      +1 My 2004 Ford F150 Heritage 80,000+ miles on the clock and 0 downtime during 2010 except oil changes.

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      Along those lines, I submit my 1993 Mazda Miata. Bought for $5k, it has required only routine maintenance and replacement of wear items.

    • 0 avatar
      The Wedding DJ

      I’ll throw in my ’99 Grand Voyager.  223K, never lets me down, and I drive it all over Michigan and Ohio to perform the duties of my user name.  Only thing it’s needed since May ’09 was a starter.  Well, brakes, belts, hoses, and I had to fix the front end.  Best $1000 I ever spent (on the van, not the front end).

      I agree with both choices, but they could have picked the Jeep over the Explorer and they wouldn’t have been wrong.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Sonata, as mentioned above.
    2011 V6 Mustang (300+ hp for around $22k)
    Chevy Cruze (first GM small car you might maybe wanna someday buy).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Chevrolet Cruze, the non-electric Volt. Simply the nicest small car the domestics have come up with, even if it is a domestic – import “hybrid” design. Sure beats the slab-sided Focus, but I’m still an un-apologetic Chevy man.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    ***SIGH*** The damned Ford Explorer IS NOT A TRUCK, people.  All credibility of the NAIAS COTY award…presuming they ever had any…is, in the word’s of the late, great Ernie Harwell, “L-O-N-G gone!” 
    My choice for Car of the Year?  The Hyundai Sonata, though I choke on my oatmeal as I type this….Truck of the Year?  Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Well, it is truck-like, anyway. 

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I think they use the EPA definitions for light truck, which have more to do with height and ground clearance than body structure or RW

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      This isn’t the first CUV to win truck of the year.  Look back in history and about 5 car based vehicles have won the award.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      The Grand Cherokee has been a unit body forever.  What about it makes it more “truck-like” than the new Explorer?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Flipper35,

      The new Grand Cherokee is no more ‘truck-like’ than the new Explorer, but previous GCs had the benefit of purpose built SUV unibodies instead of ones adapted from old Volvo sedans. They also had suspensions designed for off road tasks instead of sedan parts adapted to effect a style-dictated ride height. Had you left out the word forever, I’d have conceded that the current GC is no more likely to provide a truck quality duty cycle to owners than a new Explaurus will.

    • 0 avatar
      stubydoo

      I’d say that awarding “truck of the year” to any four-wheeled vehicle designed for carrying people rather than carrying freight, is blasphemous.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    If we’re talking about contribution towards brand equity and the bottom line, the Hyundai Sonata.
    If we’re talking what I personally consider to be the most interesting car due to it’s potential, the Honda CR-Z with the six-speed manual. I call that my ‘Wee Willie Keeler’ car of the year since it’s hittin’ em where others ain’t.
    Unfortunately the *ain’t* also means customers. Honda has a potential hit on it’s hands. A mild redesign and a non-hybrid engine would easily triple the current sales numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      Highway27

      I think a non-hybrid engine, even if it’s not more powerful, would be just great in that car.  I agree with the potential hit.  I know I won’t consider it as a hybrid, but would without the electric motivation.
       

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    For me it’s a toss up between the Sonata and Mustang for COTY.  Truck of the year?  I have no idea but PLEASE make the “Max and Al” commercials stop!

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      This may be off-topic, but you’re reference to “Max and Al” (I don’t think I’ve seen them, or, if I have, I haven’t been paying attention), but your comment reminds me of the Highlander commercials with the mop-headed little brat making fun of his parents or other kids because their parents don’t drive a Highlander.

      Would I be terribly vindictive if I were to say that I would buy the plug-ugliest car on the market that otherwise fit my needs just to give that kid a dose of STFU already?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Tankinbeans, thank you for my first laugh of the day.
       
      Max and Al are the characters on the HD Chevy Truck commercials.  (Duramax diesel and Alison Transmission)  Let’s just say the acting and “story-lines” are outshone by most episodes of “Americas Next Top Model.”

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I’m glad I watch very little TV, because I have no idea that commercial exists. The GEICO commercials are sickening enough, except, of course, for R. Lee. Ermey.

      (EDIT): Doggone it, I’m following E. Dan again!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/chevy-truck-ads-less-howie-long-more-old-spice-guy/
       
      Here’s one of the commercials and a story about it from our own TTAC for the uninitiated.
       
      (and walking by Zachman and mussing his hair like he’s a younger brother, when actually he’s older than I)

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Those “Max and Al” commercials? Holy cow. Simply awful. I wish to see the return of Ricardo Montalban hyping the “rich, Corinthian leather” from days gone by! At least that hinted at class.

      Thanks, Dan, now I know why I have to comb my hair several times a day! But I do have all of my hair, too!

    • 0 avatar
      stubydoo

      I checked your Max and Al link, indeed it is ridiculous.  I’ve never seen those guys despite watching plenty of TV.  Apparently they don’t bother attempting to sell pick-up trucks here in the New York City media market – instead we get bombarded with ads for every conceivable type of SUV.

  • avatar
    John R

    I’m hard pressed between the Sonata NA/Turbo and Mustang V6/GT.
     
    I’d say the Sonata gets my vote. I’m surprised how exceedingly competent the Mustang variants are, but does the retro theme need to extend into the interior as well? I’d be sold on it if had the Genesis Coupe’s IP to be honest.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Mercedes Benz SLS.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Hyundai Sonata. While the Genesis was Hyundai’s game changer its the Sonata that made people realize Hyundai is here to stay and can compete with the likes of Toyota and Honda.
    2nd place: Chevy Camaro. Powerful V6 that put the Mustang on notice. For the first time since ’85 the Camaro outsold the Mustang. With a drop top and Z28 version to come this year its on a roll.
    Truck of Year? I guess the F150 because it continues to sell by the bucket load for reasons I just don’t understand.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “Truck of Year? I guess the F150 because it continues to sell by the bucket load for reasons I just don’t understand.”

      Agreed. I also don’t understand what’s so great about the F-150. Aside from that, I have no need for a truck anyway, at least as a daily driver. Been there, done that, paid for too much gas along the way!

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      F150 won truck of the year last year.  I don’t think it was eligible this year.

      EDIT: I take that back, it won in 2009

    • 0 avatar
      caminsky

      Sure, the 2010 V6 Camaro may have put the 2010 Mustang on notice but the 2011 Mustang changed that. The V6 and V8 options in the 2011 have been outperforming their respective Camaro competitors for a lower price. Because of that I would argue that the Mustang would be a better choice than the Camaro, though the Camaro still looks better (in my opinion).

  • avatar
    Robbie

    The Leaf and/or the Volt. Regardless of what you think of the electrification of the car – I personally think it will go nowhere, and think that Nissan and GM had been better off making Prius competitors – these cars are the new and interesting thing this year.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      +1 Robbie, you nailed it.

      V6 Mustang? Sonata? Really? When we have the first serial-hybrid car? Or the first true fully-electric car that one can actually buy?

      As for trucks, isn’t it the F-150s turn again this year?

  • avatar
    Jason

    At this point, I’d consider any nomination that doesn’t have the word “Sonata” in it to require an explanation as to why it’s more significant overall to 2010.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Because the Sonata isn’t that good?
       
      I mean, it’s nice, but it’s not head-and-shoulders better than anything else in the class.  A “car of the year” shouldn’t be “car of the year” just because it’s most improved over it’s predecessor. It needs to be a standout, either in terms of performance, design or market-redefinition.  The Sonata is “about as good as the Altima or Accord for about the same price”.  That’s not the mark of an exceptional product.

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      Sonata: (1) very well reviewed, (2) transforming a brand, (3) technologically-forward (through the turbo 4pot instead of a 6), (4) remarkably efficient at 35/33turbo, (5) aggressive, eye-catching, design, (6) incredible value proposition that will send competition scrambling
      You don’t have to like the Sonata, but on an objective basis, the Volt or Sonata are the only candidates for COTY, depending on what you value most.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Psar, are you kidding?    We can probably agree that swoopy styling and overnight sales success alone does not a COTY make.   But for a Korean underdog to upstage Toyondissan’s ICE technology, and to challenge the status quo thinking about V6 engines in the family sedan class, is nothing short of a pivotal development.
       
      If this is not deserving of COTY, then what is?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The thing is, it gets not-appreciably better mileage, isn’t more comfortable, better riding or better handling, and isn’t much faster than the Altima or Accord.  It is better than the Camry, but the Camry is also pretty old at this point so that’s not really much of an achievement. And yes, DI is nice and all, but again it doesn’t really help all that much in terms of power, fuel economy or performance as the Sonata is still only about on par with or marginally better than the class leaders. I’ll hold judgement on the Turbo until I see real-world mileage numbers from CR and the like, because I’ve yet to see gas turbo cars that aren’t much worse than EPA, especially in the city, but I admit I’d like to be surprised.
       
      I think people seriously over-estimate how good the Sonata is.  I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s not a game-changer.  I’d even argue it’s less significant that the preceding Sonata from the “Most improved” standpoint.
       
      I like the car, but were I in this market I can’t say there’s any “wow” factor that would lead me to pick it over the Altima or Accord. I might pick it, but I’d have to think about it; it’s not an automatic win.  That lack of “wow” is why it doesn’t really deserve COTY, not this year anyway.
       
      Consider the Sonata versus the Genesis or Equus sedans.  The former is just another midsizer that, had it come from Nissan (for example) wouldn’t be getting the same attention.  The latter, on the other hand, does redefine the class (or is in a class of one) and truly doesn’t have any competition at it’s price point.

  • avatar
    obbop

    “My 16 year-old Pontiac Sunfire GT…The one that started this morning”
    Not within what are the parameters for the magazine’s COTY but, consider it a courtesy “hug” for a car that performed as it should and pleased its owner.
    And a little scratch behind the ears for any dog or kitty present.
    Old Coot is in a decent mood this AM.
    A notch above disgruntlement.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @obbop: If I read the headline correctly on this post they asked: What is Your Car Of The Year?
       
      Since it’s my primary transportation, it’s my car of the year. It was my car of the year, last year too. (just kidding!)
       
      I really don’t care what cars and trucks the magazines and other journalists pick, their opinions really have little to do with my day to day needs. Even if I were in the market for a new car, I’d still probably buy something else, because it is rare when one of these ‘car of the year’ cars is relevant to what I need out of a vehicle.
       
      On another note, glad to see you’re a notch above disgruntlement today; I’m about regular gruntlement, being Monday and all.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    If Volt qualifies for anything, it’s the most overpromised, underdelivered and overpriced car.
    Sonata all the way for simply being able to design a good looking car in today’s crazy times when even a BMW cannot make a good looking car, never mind the 2.0 turbos they use and such.
    Rogue also deserves a nod for innovation in packaging.

  • avatar
    plunk10

    COTY- Sonata
    TOTY- would have been Mahindra, had they got their act together.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Absolutely the Sonata.
    Volkswagen is talking about selling a decontented Passat for $20k.  The base Sonata at $20k is anything but decontented, with a 6 speed automatic, a 199 horsepower direct-injected engine, near-fullsize room and some of the best in class safety features.  Throw in class leading fuel economy and well priced turbo and hybrid variants and the Sonata is the car of the year.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think this is right in line with how NAIAS picks car and truck of the year.  The Fusion Hybrid won and so did the Ford Transit Connect.  Before that, the Hyundai Genesis won.  Those 3 vehicles aren’t likely to be bought by many.  They are for niche markets that were big improvements over what was available.  I think the Volt or Leaf would have qualified for that type of vehicle.  First couple of EVs available.  My guess is that the plug in Prius will top the list when it comes out too.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    For everyone who says the Sonata, have you driven one yet?  I find the steering wheel controls in a very odd position.  I know they are trying to style the steering wheel, which I like, but I think the controls are to far away from where I hold the steering wheel.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Without a doubt the Chevy Volt. A game changer! Expensive? Guess that depends on your point of view.  Show me another car that can even remotely approach what that thing is capable of, MPG wise. 

    Sonata???? Yawn.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I drove a Sonata, and it felt fine.  Not exciting, mind you – just fine.   The computer reported 28.9 mpg in mixed driving – with  the turbo.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Car of the Year: Nothing really grips me from this years offerings, best I can do is throw some explanations out there.
    Sonata: only for forcing DI into the most important segment and raising that standard, otherwise I’d agree it’s very average, and I think the styling won’t age well.
    Fiesta: for bringing dual clutch (in an accessible state of tune) to a new segment, and for really popularizing a new US small car. Not as versatile as the Fit, but has superior tech.
    Golf tdi: diesel in a new package is always significant, also has dual clutch. Nicer than other fwd’ers, but needs leather.
     
    Truck of the Year: Ford Raptor
    Changing the brief for future high performance trucks is significant, and every other truck I can think of is doing exactly what is expected of it. No small diesel engines, no cheap small offerings, life continues as usual.

  • avatar
    mikenem

    Nissan Juke? Ha

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Car of the year; Ford Fusion Hybrid.  

    Truck of the year, Ford 150, for no particular reason, other than my son’s Silverado is a pos, DODGE, er.. RAM, whatever; hasn’t done anything other than living to die another day, and Toyota is old news too.

    Lifetime achievement award (if there were one);  Crown victoria.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Fusion Hybrid won it last year, not eligible for this year.  F150 won it 2 years ago, not sure that the new engines are enough to put it in the running this year or not.

  • avatar
    carguy

    COTY: Hyundai Sonata. Raising the bar for fuel economy, value and styling in a very important segment. Honorable mention: GM Volt for pushing the envelope and building a tech foundation for future vehicles.
    TOTY: Ford Explorer 2.0T. Americans want better fuel economy but are not about to give up their spacious vehicles – this is Ford’s shot at delivering both and you will see others follow their lead. Honorable mention: Ford Raptor for delivering insane levels of fun and off-road capabilities – a welcome change from go-fast street trucks.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    My idea of Car of the Year is a car that has a marketplace life cycle of exactly 1 year before it flames out and becomes a financial burden on its parent company. Oh, but it’s platform shared, so it’s supposedly “pure profit” for the company to make this incremental derivative.
     
    I nominate the Acura ZDX, BMW X6, and Honda Accord Crosstour for being the answer to a question nobody asked.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Raptor.
    Runner up: Panamera.
     
    Both dramatically ups the real world performance on offer in their respective categories. The Raptor wins because it so completely outclasses Porsche’s own “performance off roader”, for, like, half the price and complexity.
     

  • avatar
    GS650G

    So the Volt spends 5 years as a promise only to undeliver on expectations and it get’s COTY?  If we MUST award a hybrid I vote for the Fusion.

  • avatar

    Without a doubt, the Sonata is the most significant automobile introduced in 2010. Ultra-low production, overpriced science projects (designed and assembled by remedial students, for that matter) need not apply.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ Rob “designed and assembled by remedial students” Dude , a little beneath your standards eh?

      I’ve actually been around new vehicle launches that were not near as complicated or complex as the Volt. Have you?

       Judge the product,as you see fit. I see no need to beat up the designers and assemblers and anybody in between.

    • 0 avatar

      My point is, even the most diehard GM fan has to admit the company’s record for introducing new technologies — from the Vega’s aluminum engine, to the C4’s Commodore-esque fluorescent dash — hasn’t exactly been stellar.

      Hence my “remedial students” comment, which I will stand by until it is proven otherwise. Let’s see the Volt make it a year without burning up any drivers in electrical fires…

      And while I haven’t been around any new car launches, I’ve witnessed a fair number of new aircraft intros — some more auspicious than others. I have a pretty jaded view of the “next big thing!” from lesser companies.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Doubtful the same engineers and assembly staff is still there.  Maybe a few still are, but you are going pretty far back to show your examples.  If I wanted to, I could say the same thing about the sludging Toyota’s and tranny problems with Honda minivans and Civics.  I understand this isn’t new technology, but was still pretty bad because this was old technology.
       
      IMHO, where GM has really lacked recently was interiors.  Quality of the interiors was lacking as was the reliability of them.  Rattle traps… there have been many.  But that seems to be changing too, although time is the real judge there.
       
      Also, it isn’t always the engineers fault.  The real problems with the Vegas aluminum engine was a power struggle at GM.  GM corporate won when the Chevy Engineers were right.  Same for the fender problem that was there too.  It wasn’t an engineering problem.  The assembly problem was again a corporate debacle who eliminated workers trying to cut costs, all while trying to run the fastest assembly line for any care of that day.
       
      I don’t know much about the C4 problem that you are talking about, but the Vega is a good example of corporate cost cutting being a problem and not an engineering problem.

    • 0 avatar

      I was going for “long-established pattern of mediocrity” but if you need more-recent examples, fine:

      -GMT900 rust-through, and dents if you so much as sneeze on a fender

      -V8 piston slap

      -electronic dash clusters catching fire (first seen on ’97 Malibus, and again recently on a friend’s ’03 Silverado)

      -interior plastics de-bonding and flaking, as seen on my previous ’04 Grand Am with less than 30K pampered miles on it

      -that pesky “Cobalts/G5s may lose their steering” issue, sadly (and suspiciously) lost in the furor of the trumped-up Toyota debacle

      -leaky Cruze trunks… because even with two years of others’ experience to reference on how to build the things, the UAW still found a way to screw up a simple seal

      -Dexcool. ‘Nuff said.

      My point is, I don’t trust GM NA to get the basics right. Not yet. Too much evidence to the contrary, too much reliance today on the dubious likes of Daewoo and Opel for semi-decent vehicles. So why blindly assume they’ll get something as “game-changing” as the Volt right? And why all the awards for a company that hasn’t actually proven anything yet? Much like Obama with the Nobel, all GM has done so far with the Volt is show up.

      Give it a year. If the Volt still works, heap all the praise you want on it. Until then, I don’t want to come within 50 yards of one. That is how much I fully expect GM to screw this up.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      But back to the original post, how could you call the Sonata the most significant automobile introduced in 2010?  I mean, I think the Volt or Leaf would easily trump that metric regardless of the reliability.  The Sonata was probably the most significant product for Hyundai.  The Cruze was probably more significant for GM.  But to the industry, I think both the Volt and Leaf were more significant than any ICE could be.  Even if EVs don’t pan out in the long run, this would be the first step in knowing that.

    • 0 avatar

      More buyers are influenced by what the Sonata offers, than what the Volt promises. Simple as that.

      The Sonata is highly significant to the market it serves, and that market is much, MUCH larger (and more profitable) than the number of greenies in line for a Volt. It also offers more practical technology — think direct-injection engines, that use real-world practical technology to offer both power and economy — wrapped in a stylish and insanely-popular package.
       
       

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    Gotta be the Volt. It truly is a game changer. The Sonata? Run od the mill sedan that looks nice. Fuggedabout it!

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      For the Volt to be a “game changer”, it will have to actually affect the game. Personally, I think it’s a dead end, until/unless they can figure out a way to build it profitably at a real-world price. And “real world price” means competitive without forcing me to pay a percentage of the price of every one sold.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I think the Volt got the award because it’s “Finally! No Longer Vaporware!”

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I agree with the choices. The Prius killing Volt performs far better than anybody expected and is for sure the latest advance on gas saving electric cars. The Explorer is a very refined SUV and paves the road to future gas saving design and it is a big advance on the outgoing model which couldn’t even muster 20 highway MPG with a V6 and 5 speed automatic! The Sonata is a nice car but not enough so to be COTY. It’s lack of V6 will sour some, the hybrid still doesn’t match some class competitors and the turbo L4 looks better on paper than it’s real world performance implies.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Volt.  Its a paradigm shift.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think the Volt should win.  An EV that is drivable everyday is pretty cool.  The Sonata is a good car.  But a good car doesn’t make it COTY.  What is so great about the Sonata to make it COTY?  It is really just on par with the mid size sedans for the same price with only minor advantages in fuel economy.  Sure if the Volt and Leaf aren’t in the running, I guess it wins because I don’t recall too many other entries this year… maybe a CTS V Coupe?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    The Sonata is for Hyundai what the 86 Taurus was for Ford, so I’d select it for beauty.
     
    The Volt is a technological wonder, and a tribute to GM’s perseverance to finish it.  But I’d never buy one, even if I had the money.
     
    The Leaf is the first modern true EV (ignoring the stuff 100 years ago), but it’s a niche player.
     
    All of these cars have gotten good reviews.  I’d select the Sonata based upon its impact in the market and benefit to its mfr.  The Volt and Leaf will remain novelties for years.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Sonata.   History may well regard this car as the beginning of the end of the V6 family sedan, as well as the end of Japanese dominance of this segment.   It is also a mascot for the fiscally-conservative times in which we now find ourselves.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    Car of the year? Impossible to pick only one, but I can certainly pick one for each of the relevant categories. My choices are not based so much on innovation or new-ness of design but rather, on best bang-for-buck, features, resale value and above all, reliability:

    Subcompact: Honda Fit. (Reliable, superb utility, economical, handles better than any of my six 1st gen RX7s ever did, well-built, good resale value and feels larger than it is). Honourable mention: Toyota Yaris.

    Compact: Honda Civic. (All of the Fit’s attributes except utility). Honourable mention: Toyota Corolla.

    Midsize: Hyundai Sonata. (Maybe the reason this one’s being picked by so many is because that many of us can’t be wrong?) Honourable Mention: Ford Fusion.

    Full-size: Toyota Avalon. (Boring, yes. But that’s par for the course among land yachts). Honourable mention: Geez, let me just think for a minute…. Uh, nope. Nothing else in this category that I’d consider buying.

    Minivan: Honda Odyssey. (Still the benchmark, no reliability issues, excellent resale value, utility and build quality). Honourable mention: Toyota Sienna.

    Sports car: Mazda MX-5. ( Nothing new, but why fix what ain’t broken?) Honourable mention: Porsche Cayman. (Better than the MX5 performance and prestige-wise, but the price…).

    Muscle car: Ford Mustang. (Still the only one that matters, reliable, well-built, superb acceleration and living proof that a domestic-based manufacturer CAN build decent cars). Honourable mention: None.
     

  • avatar
    zeus01

    Car of the year? Impossible to pick only one, but I can certainly pick one for each of the relevant categories. My choices are not based so much on innovation or new-ness of design but rather, on best bang-for-buck, features, resale value and above all, reliability:
    Subcompact: Honda Fit. (Reliable, superb utility, economical, handles better than any of my six 1st gen RX7s ever did, well-built, good resale value and feels larger than it is). Honourable mention: Toyota Yaris.
    Compact: Honda Civic. (All of the Fit’s attributes except utility). Honourable mention: Toyota Corolla.
    Midsize: Hyundai Sonata. (Maybe the reason this one’s being picked by so many is because that many of us can’t be wrong?) Honourable Mention: Ford Fusion.
    Full-size: Toyota Avalon. (Boring, yes. But that’s par for the course among land yachts). Honourable mention: Geez, let me just think for a minute…. Uh, nope. Pickings are too slim.
    Minivan: Honda Odyssey. (Still the benchmark, no reliability issues, excellent resale value, utility and build quality). Honourable mention: Toyota Sienna.
    Sports car: Mazda MX-5. ( Nothing new, but why fix what ain’t broken?) Honourable mention: Porsche Cayman. (Better than the MX5 performance and prestige-wise, but the price…).
    Muscle car: Ford Mustang. (Still the only one that matters, reliable, well-built, superb acceleration and living proof that a domestic-based manufacturer CAN build decent cars). Honourable mention: None.
     

  • avatar

    If a couple of years on Volts are proving to be highly reliable, and highly efficient, then consider a coty. At this point, for all we know the thing could turn out to be a lemon.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
    Gorgeousness for All.

  • avatar
    Carlos Villalobos

    Kia Cadenza.  All the power and features you need for 2000 US Dollars more of a Sonata.
    An a beautiful and restrained design

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    Hyundai Elantra (or is it next year’s COTY?)

  • avatar
    Kman

    My COTY vote: Hyundai Sonata, for all the reasons stated by others, including the innovative for the segment “we-don’t-need-a-V6″. That being said:
     
    In the thirty years since I picked up my first C&D and became a “car enthusiast” (worked in industry, raced ‘em, club-ed them, etc…), I notice one constant:
     
    The North American manufacturers have so constantly produced crap, that when a car they produce is simply _not_ crap, it gets praised and given high laurels and awards. The pattern is consistent when, one to three years later, that model is just quietly not mentioned anymore because it was, after all, crap, or, really, just quite ordinary.
     
    The 1981 GM X-cars (Chevy Citation II, Pontiac Phoenix, etc…) were heralded as world-changing, America’s front-wheel-drive miracle cars.
     
    The 1988 Chevy Beretta was hailed as a great, almost-Teutonic 2-door sports sedan.
     
    The 1st gen Caddy CTS, the aforementioned Chevy Vega, heck I even submit the 1982 Mustang, which was only raved about because the Mustang II was so embarrassingly abhorrent. The list continues and is consistent over the years.
     
    I actually like the Volt. I hope it works or is indeed the the game-changer all its hype claims. However, by this standard, the MY 2000 (1999?) Toyota Prius should have been COTY.
     
    For this year, it’s Hyundai’s Sonata.

    • 0 avatar
      zeus01

      You nailed it KMAN!

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      The Prius was a finalist along with the Insight for COTY in 2001.  The Prius did win COTY in 2004.  Now, the PT Cruiser won the award in 2001.  It was innovative for the time with the shape, but not a vehicle I would have picked.  If you think back to the first Prius, was very innovative for the time as well, and probably should won the award.  Either that or the Insight, from that year.  But I would have picked the 4 seater Prius.
       
      Honestly though, I don’t think that not having a V6 is innovative.  The Buick Regal doesn’t have a V6.  It could have one, and doesn’t have some of the advantages of the Sonata, but honestly, that is the only thing different about the Sonata.  It is no better than the other cars in this segment as reviewed by many automags.  The Sonata is no shoe in for this award.
       
       

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Ford Fiesta/Mazda2 — showing the way to future transportation in permanently poorer western societies like ours.

    Hyundai Sonata — an unparalleled brand equity builder… and from the point of view of Hyundai’s competitors, the single most frightening vehicle imaginable because it embodies a potency of automotive imagination and corporate can-do that will manifest in any segment Hyundai participates in.

  • avatar

    Volt? not with my money.  Well, I guess they did use my money.  Read about the
    world’s best hypermiler driving the 2011 Sonata Hybrid across the USA.  I am not a
    hybrid fan, but this car kills Volt and Leaf for less money (alot less than a Volt).

    http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?p=292785
     
    Wonder who they paid off and how much to get the award.  I am appalled by GM.


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