Hyundai’s Elantra was named the 2012 North American Car of the Year and Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque the 2012 North American Truck of the Year. The winners received their titles Jan. 9 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The vehicles were chosen by a jury of 50 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.
Instead of being given by a single media outlet the awards are made by a coalition of automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who represent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and websites.
The awards are designed to recognize the most outstanding new vehicles of the year and considered benchmarks in their segments based on factors including innovation, comfort, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
It is the second win for Hyundai. In 2009 the Genesis won. The Sonata was one of three finalists last year.
It was the first win for Land Rover, although Land Rovers were finalists twice before.
Juror, Alex Taylor, of Fortune magazine, wrote: “Range Rover successfully charts a new direction for the venerable SUV trailblazer with a fresh design and advanced thinking about environmental issues.”
Regarding the Hyundai Elantra, Jayne O’Donnell, a member of the jury from USA Today, noted it is “sporty, yet sensible. Luxurious, yet affordable. Spunky, but safe. The Elantra is a series of paradoxes and every one is another argument for the latest, impressive entry in the Hyundai lineup.”
Domestic automakers have won North American Car of the Year 10 times. Japanese automakers have won three times. European automakers have won four times. A Korean automaker has won twice.
Domestic automakers have won North American Truck of the Year 12 times. Japanese automakers have won four times. European automakers have won three times.
This was the 19th year of the awards and it was the strongest showing by European automakers in 15 years with BMW, Land Rover and Volkswagen each having finalists.