The Honda Civic was identified as the 2006 North American Car of the Year, while the Honda Ridgeline is the 2006 North American Truck of the Year.
The awards are unique in North American because instead of being given by a single outlet the winners are chosen by 49 automotive journalists representing newspapers, magazines, television shows and web sites in Canada and the United States.
It was the first time one automaker has won both awards. The winners of the awards — now in their 13th year — were revealed at a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
However the show is not otherwise involved in the awards. The awards are designed to recognize the most outstanding vehicles of the year based on factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. To be eligible vehicles must be "all new" or "substantially changed" from the previous model.
Dozens of new 2006 vehicles were eligible but the jurors whittled the field down to 14 cars and 14 trucks on which they voted. While the Civic won, second place was the Fusion followed by the Solstice.The winning Ridgeline was followed by the Nissan Xterra in second and the Ford Explorer.
The jurors voted early in December with the ballots sent directly to Steve Laughman, a partner at Deloitte & Touche in Detroit. Laughman kept the winners secret until he handed over sealed envelopes at today’s news conference.
The jurors represent outlets such as the Toronto Star, Car and Driver magazine, AutoWeek, The Chicago Tribune, MotorWeek, USA Today, Autoline Detroit, Edmunds.com, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Road & Track magazine, the
San Jose Mercury News, Edmunds.com, Consumer Guide, the Boston Globe, Automotive News, Popular Mechanics and Fortune.
- The Ridgeline is built to take punishment. The 5,000-lb. towing capacity and 1,550-lb. total payload capacity make small work of big jobs. Its strength comes from an integrated closed-box frame with unit-body construction and powerful, 247-hp, V-6 engine. The Ridgeline also lays claim to heavy-duty agility, efficiency and a big dose of durability. It’s all truck, and all Honda.
- The ’06 Civic combines a 1.3 liter iVTEC 4-cylinder engine with a 20-hp electric motor to deliver a total of 110 hp. The new powertrain is 20 percent more powerful and five percent lighter than the previous model