By on December 8, 2015


The North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year finalists were announced Tuesday and clearly the jurors read our September handicap — and completely mostly disregarded our odds.

According to jurors, the finalists for 2016 North American Car of the Year are the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Malibu and Mazda MX-5 Miata. The finalists for the 2016 Truck/Utility of the Year are the Volvo XC90, Nissan Titan XD and Honda Pilot. The winners will be announced at the North American International Auto Show in January.

Let’s review the finalists and definitively state in each capsule why that car will absolutely win:

Car of the Year

2016 Honda Civic Sedan (13 of 34)

Honda Civic (1 to 3)

Clearly the winner here considering one of the nominees only seats two people and the other is something called a “Malibu.”

Have you seen the last generation Civic? The 2016 Honda Civic adds a turbonator and Apple technology over last year and that’s just the start.

Do you want more? How about a coupe or something sporty, you say? Honda has a Civic for that, smart guy, and you can fit people in the back. Try sticking your friends in the trunk of a Miata.

Jurors would be stupid not to pick the Honda Civic.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Chevrolet Malibu (1 to 3)

How many two-time car of the year champions can you name? I’ll tell you how many — one. The Chevrolet Malibu is the two-time car of the year champion you can name because that’s how many times it’ll be car of the year after 2016.

The 2008 winner is a heavyweight in this division because it’s so good that it practically makes the Impala redundant.

This year’s Malibu looks like a champ and is priced like one too. It starts at $22,500, which isn’t much more than the Honda Civic, but the Malibu is big enough to host Christmas dinner. You could probably fit the Mazda MX-5 in its trunk.

Jurors would be stupid not to pick the Chevrolet Malibu.


Mazda MX-5 Miata (1 to 3)

The MX-5 Miata is so good that it could be two cars and still sell.

Mazda’s two-seater convertible is the clear winner simply because it’s so simple. Notice how hard the Civic is trying on its styling? The MX-5 doesn’t need that. It very clearly has epic sports car proportions.

What is that roof line on the Malibu? You know what’s better than that roof line? How about 90,000 feet of sky. That’s better than your roof line, Jack.

Who cares that the power outlet is hidden in the floor? This is the North American car of the year — not appliance of the year.

Jurors would be stupid not to pick the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Truck/Utility of the Year

2016 Honda Pilot Exterior

Honda Pilot (1 to 3)

It says “Utility of the Year” on the award, right? What’s more utility than a Team Bus?

Honda’s new Pilot is so helpful and big you could fit the entire jury in there and still get more than 20 mpg.

Three-row SUVs win utility of the year all the time because everyone needs three-rows when you start having kids because each kid requires 250 pounds of crap. Can the XC90 seat 8? Probably not. The Titan XD can, but you’d have to stack them in the bed and that’s illegal, I think.

Jurors would be stupid not to pick the Honda Pilot.

The new Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90 (1 to 3)

The XC90 is basically from the future. It should be the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Utility of the Year because it’s that good. It drives itself, you know.

Have you seen the XC90’s Sensus infotainment system? I’m pretty sure it was in “Minority Report,” and it was just upgraded with Apple CarPlay because Volvo is magic.

It doesn’t swill dirty diesel fuel like the Titan XD (not in the States, anyway) and the XC90 doesn’t look like a bloated minivan like someone else I’ve seen recently.

Jurors would be stupid not to pick the Volvo XC90.

2016 Nissan Titan XD

Nissan Titan XD (1 to 3)

A truck of the year is supposed to be a truck, right? Do you see any other trucks here besides the Nissan Titan XD?

The Nissan Titan XD is such a good truck that it made its own classification in trucks for itself. Didn’t think you needed a medium-duty diesel? Guess again.

Can that Honda Pilot rip a stump from the earth? Probably not. Would you get that Volvo XC90 in anything deeper than a backyard slip-n-slide? Nope.

The Nissan Titan XD is the truck of the year because it probably has a hairy chest.

Jurors would be stupid not to pick the Nissan Titan XD.

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51 Comments on “Here Are The North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year Finalists, Let’s Make a Bet...”

  • avatar

    I just LOL at the name Nissan Titian XD because the “XD” always makes me think of this:

    Will it be enough fun to make drivers make that face?

  • avatar

    No dissent here. Bits and pieces I’ve read about the 16 ‘bu in the handful of available reviews are positive – certain better than the step backwards that last two refreshes were.

  • avatar

    Saw a new and an older last-gen Pilot parked near each other today. So sad. The new one looks like a Traverse with a Honda face.

  • avatar

    Seems like a pretty weak field of nominees. Like there were no other options? Mazda MX-5 and Volvo XC90 are the winners.

  • avatar

    Nothing wrong with any of these. I think I’d pick the Pilot because it looks like it takes everything good about the CR-V and just makes it bigger.

  • avatar

    My votes are the Miata and XD. Do I win something?

  • avatar

    Honda can kiss my behind.

    Dear Honda: Put volume knobs back into cars please and thanks.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The hideous Civic will win because it’s a Honda.

    The Titan will win because it’s yellow.

  • avatar

    “The finalists for t16he 2016 Truck/Utility of the Year”

    I suddenly feel slightly better about my know/no brain far earlier in the day. Thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      Have you seen the size of my stupid, fat fingers? They’re like wielding 5 full-size kielbasas around a keyboard. I should be shot. Thanks for the catch.

      • 0 avatar

        LOVE your sense of humor, Aaron!

      • 0 avatar

        You must be popular with the ladies, which probably impresses and frustrates Jack at the same time.

        • 0 avatar

          You know what they say about big hands and big feet………….

          “Urologists at St. Mary’s Hospital and University College Hospital in London recorded the penile length of 104 men with foot sizes 8 through 13. For the purposes of the study, the men’s organs were “gently stretched” while in the flaccid state and measured. When analyzed, the data so collected yielded no link between the size of the male organ and a man’s feet. “A common misconception,” the researchers reported, concluding, “There is no scientific support for this relationship.”

          I wonder who got to do the “gentle stretching”?


          • 0 avatar

            Not sure what puzzles me more, Lou….that fact that you googled that stat or had it bookmarked as one of your favourites. ;P

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Here is the past list. Form your own conclusions about the meaning of this award:

    To my surprise, in most cases I can’t disagree with the chosen winners among the finalists listed.

    The 2011 NA-CTOY is a tough one – the Leaf was the first mass-produced affordable BEV, the Volt is obviously a breakthrough vehicle, but that generation of Sonata really turned Hyundai’s fortunes skyward.

  • avatar
    daniel g.

    Mazda miata
    Because nobody can make a light and fun car today to a real price for the masses (don’t count here a catherham or some low volume car)
    Volvo xc90
    The future is here, good and personal design, diferent from the rest.

    Both cars in the street and you see a diferent car from the rest.

    The others…well are ok. Apliance, just other truck, you named.

  • avatar

    I’ll take the Volvo and the Miata, and a solid backscrub please.

  • avatar

    Not one of those vehicles moved me enough to go down to the dealer and take a look. Our ’99 Miata and ’06 Forester are safe for another year.

  • avatar

    “Honda can kiss my behind.

    Dear Honda: Put volume knobs back into cars please and thanks.”

    I second this. I also add a bunch more things to the list of dumb things Honda is doing these days.

    In no particular order:

    1. Add exhaust tips back to Acura vehicles.
    2. Stop putting turbos in your cars.
    3. Stop grafting the same corporate grill onto all your cars.
    4. Use real names. HRV is NOT a name.
    5. Go back to analog speedometers in all your cars and trucks.
    6. Stop using direct injection.
    7. Make at least one car without electric power steering.
    8. Use more durable fabric on your seats like you use to.
    9. Make headlight lenses out of something that doesn’t turn into a cloud in 10 years.
    10. Offer manual transmissions in your Acura line.
    11. Get rid of the Acura beak.
    12. Add a trunk latch, or give us our key hole back.
    13. Put the trunk latch back on the floor like god designed it the first time.
    14. Use batteries that are big enough to start the car in cold weather, and last longer than 3 years.
    15. Sell a sports car. (the crz does not count)
    16. Make super handling all wheel drive available on Hondas. (besides the pilot)
    17. Make the ILX a lift back.
    18. Add a manual version of the CRV. (preferably with SHAWD)
    19a. Enough with the CVT.
    19b. Just make all your automatics Hybrids. And do it right this time.
    20. Add the vent cupholders, and upper glove box back to the fit.
    21. Build an all wheel drive minivan.
    22. Get rid of the god-awful zig-zag beltline on the the minivan.
    23. Fire whoever came up with the zig-zag beltline.
    24. Stop pretending that anyone cares about the NSX.
    25. Stop building the RLX. It’s an embarrassment, and no one will notice.
    26a. Put the god-damn chip for memory in all your power seats.
    26b. Fire anyone who disagrees with this.
    27. Build a real truck.
    28. Add more hybrid versions to more products. And do it right this time.
    29. Improve the quality of your seats.
    30. Build a car with rear wheel drive.
    31. Improve paint quality and durability. (your 25 year old cars look better than your 15 year old cars)

  • avatar

    The Pilot is truly unfortunate looking when seen on the highway amonst cars with more cohesive styling…like an ’03 Sunfire GT.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      It really is. The tail-lamps look like afterthoughts, the half-done character line that swoops up alongside the quarter panel window is ridiculous…and there is an unholy arrangement between the wing-mirror mounts and the A-pillar sail windows, made all the worse by the wart that is the LaneWatch camera on the right side.

      The Odyssey looks better from every angle, and is more functional to boot. I don’t think I could ever be compelled to purchase the current Pilot; it’s just plain hideous.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the front end is a disaster, but the bigger problem is just the proportions and the slab sides. It looks ungainly and bulbous. It seems to outdo minivans in the sense of being an obviously utilitarian people carrier, yet it’s still dressed up with stupid amounts of chrome and overstyled fascia details.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The Civic will win cause like previous generations, it’s attractive to many buyers in all its forms.

  • avatar

    Love the cover photo. That’s got to be John Malkovich’s worst performance ever — a random person off the street could probably do a better Russian accent.

    • 0 avatar

      Why do you say that, @kmoney? Are you an expert in all of the various English accents from each of the regions of that vast land mass called Russia? Seems to me what you said would be like trying to judge whether someone’s Spanish language accent (as a native English speaker) was any good, based only on a Spaniard’s knowledge of RAE Castillian Spanish, while remaining totally ignorant of, for example, an authentic Mexican or Columbian Spanish accent, accurately imitated by an native English speaker.

      Unless you know the English accents from all the regions of Russia, there is no way you could be equipped to determine if his was a bad Russian accent. Perhaps a bad Moscow-origin English accent, but all of Russia? You don’t have enough time to do the necessary research to eliminate the possibility that he speaks like a Russian from another part of Mother Russia.

      And you had better watch your over-confidence. KGB will feck you up and take all your money, while splitting Oreos in half and eating them one half at a time.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s universally panned by pretty much everyone, even critics, who have seen the movie, and even JM himself laughs at it. JM is one of my favourite actors, and I love Rounders, but his Rocky and Bullwinkle accent is just the first thing that comes to mind.

        In my club, I will splash the pot whenever the f*** I please.

        • 0 avatar

          I laughed at his performance, too, as did my son. But who can definitively say how bad his accent was, or more precisely, even if bad, how different it was from the bad accents that some real Russians in America have when speaking English.

          I am not a linguistic scholar, but to me, his accent sounded like it was copied from people “on the block” in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn. That was my old stomping grounds for a beach (Brighton Bay One), and I still use it as a parking spot and take the D into Manhattan sometimes, if I am visiting for the day.

          And the whole place sounds like it is full of Teddy KGB’s.

          And FWIW, it was far from Matt Damon’s best performance either. Though I thought John Turturro’s was pretty good, even though he seemed like he was playing John Turturro.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I flipped through my copy of Motor Trend yesterday (that’s more than I usually do when it arrives in my mailbox) and there’s a fold out ad in the very front with all the past Chevy CoTYs on it.
    Let’s see, you’ve got:
    ’71 Vega
    ’75 Monza
    ’79 Luv
    ’80 Citation
    ’91 Caprice Classic
    ’95 Blazer
    ’97 Malibu
    ’02 Avalanche

    If I were MT, I don’t think I would allow such a damning ad in my CoTY issue magazine.
    ESPECIALLY since they gave the award to the 2016 Camaro for some reason.

    • 0 avatar

      Way back 50 years ago, car enthusiasts used to laugh at MT and their “thanks for the bucks” COTY. MT staffers would pull all-nighters for a month, agonizing over whether a 318/Torqueflite was better than a 327/Powerglide. Ford was out of the picture with the dog slow 352 and any transmission, unless Mustang winning year of any kind then 289/271 just great.

      Giant self-congratulatory ads follow for months, just like now.

      The resulting hard-hitting lead article would be written so that the losers would seem only just a little bit worse than the winner, so that the door was open for next year’s winner and a bigger bribe.

      A successful formula that MT has pursued to this day, the repetition of which has dulled the senses, and is probably more ethical than 99% of the schlock awards handed out today so that everyone can have a hand-engraved $13.99 wall plaque to show off to the customers. The worst rubbish is the Consumer Guides awards.

      Now North American COTY, who and what in hell is that and who’s making the money? Literally cannot be bothered to google it.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I am not fond of the way the new Malibu looks, especially the front fascia. I actually like the outgoing one; it just needed to be a tad longer and use better interior materials. The LS, in particular, is downright abysmal. Instead of embracing its base-model status and using a tasteful cloth fabric (like the Fusion), it has some godawful cloth/leatherette combination that I’m pretty sure was on my dad’s ’73 Chevy C10 Custom.

    For the car, I’d say the Civic; for the truck/utility, the XC90.

  • avatar

    Plot advertising buys by manufacturer vs. COTY awards. Compute the time lag. Find the largest ad buyer that far back. Predict the next COTY winner with p > 0.9.

    That is all…you heard it here first. If Las Vegas made book on this mierda, I wouldn’t be telling you guys.

  • avatar

    I’m betting Malibu for car because (even though the best car in this segment still is the Fusion) because if this generation copies after the award winning Impala it will be excellent. For truck I’m betting on the Volvo because the XC90 is a new start for Volvo plus the most advanced and stylish luxury SUV on the market

  • avatar

    I’ll never understand the grouping of trucks and utility vehicles. SUV Truck. The two vehicle types have different missions.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Forget the Malibu, the 2nd Gen 2016 Chevy Volt should be car of the year. Nothing else even comes close.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yeah, I don’t know how that didn’t get nominated. It might be because it’s only being released in limited markets, for now.

      Either way, with the new Malibu, Cruze, Volt and Camaro, 2016 is a huge year for Chevrolet.

  • avatar

    I’ll throw in my vote.

    Car: Miata.
    The last of a dying breed. Small, tossable, affordable, dependable (I’m sure there are a few more ‘-ables’, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head.)and good looking. What’s not to like?

    Truck: Titan.
    Why not? Preliminary reviews are good and it would be nice to see a different truck other than a Ford, GM, or Dodge, win.

    • 0 avatar

      Miata: another -able (at least in its first incarnation)…weak-sauce-able powertrain. IIRC, its zero-sixty times were in the double digits when it came out. Slower than my eighteen year old 4000 lb. Panther. And even if not, way too slow for a two seat sports car. Might have outrun a Sprite, but not much else from the golden era of British sports cars.

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