The finalists for the 2016 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year have been announced. All in all, six vehicles made the final cut, including three cars, two SUVs, and one pick-up. The first three will vie for the 2016 North American Car of the Year award, while the latter three will go head-to-head-to-head for the 2016 Truck/Utility of the Year award. Making up the finalists for the North American Car of the Year award are the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, 2016 Honda Civic, and the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Likewise, the three finalists for the North American Truck/Utility of the Year are the 2016 Honda Pilot, 2016 Volvo XC90, and the 2016 Nissan Titan XD.

The distinction of being named the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year is something that automaker’s take pretty seriously. Last year, the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford F-150 took home the awards in their respective categories. Not surprisingly, both Volkswagen and Ford spent a great deal of time touting the awards they received to the public. Expect more of the same from the eventual winners of the two categories, all of whom, it must be said, are part of some pretty competitive segments in the industry.

The Civic and the Malibu, in particular, are direct competitors so being named the car of the year will give the winner a huge amount of bragging rights over the rest of the segment. The same holds true, albeit to a lesser extent, for the Pilot and the XC90. Both are SUVs and while one is considered a premium SUV, the two models are still part of the ever growing SUV market in North America.

The final round of voting is scheduled to take place on January 4, 2016. The two winners will then be announced in a ceremony at the start of the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 11, 2016.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Other than the all-important bragging rights card that will almost certainly be played by the two winning automakers, the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year also represents validation for the winners, especially in a time when the industry is as competitive as ever. Being named as a finalist is a distinction in it of itself considering how many vehicles are traditionally in the running for the award.

The final six vehicles can take their well-deserved bows because they were voted as finalists by 56 jurors from various print, online, and broadcast outlets across the US and Canada. That’s a tremendous achievement since jurors already have the difficult job of picking from a short list of 10 cars and 12 trucks/utilities. Whittling these down to three finalists for each category takes a lot of hard work, second-guessing, and ultimately, some conviction from these jurors.

Actually, I have to give some credit to these jurors too. It’s not easy being put in this position, especially when you have to pick the finalists while abiding by a wide range of benchmarks in their respective segments. Think it’s all about popularity? Jurors also have to take into account a vehicle’s innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction, and value. That’s not easy to do at all.

But, as is the case every year, two winners will eventually be honored with the title of 2016 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year. Which two vehicles will earn this recognition? We’ll have to wait for the 2016 North American International Auto Show to find out.

Chevrolet Malibu

2016 Chevrolet Malibu High Resolution Wallpaper quality
- image 624578

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Malibu here.

2016 Honda Civic

2016 Honda Civic High Resolution Exterior
- image 651061

Read our full review on the Honda Civic here.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 614474

Read our full review on the Mazda MX-5 Miata here.

2016 Honda Pilot

2016 - 2019 Honda Pilot Exterior
- image 616645

Read our full review of the Honda Pilot here.

Volvo XC90

2016 Volvo XC90 High Resolution Exterior
- image 565987

Read our full review on the Volvo XC90 here.

Nissan Titan XD

2016 Nissan Titan XD High Resolution Exterior
- image 610099

Read our full review on the Nissan Titan XD here.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: