The new Hyundai Elantra is the 2012 North American Car of the Year, while the Range Rover Evoque is the 2012 North American Truck of the Year. Both victorious models were revealed at the 2012 North American International Auto Show at Detroit.
The winners were chosen by a jury of 50 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada. Instead of being given by a single media outlet, they are awarded by a coalition of automotive journalists from the both countries who represent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and websites.
The awards are designed to recognise the most outstanding new vehicles of the year, benchmarks in their segments based on factors including innovation, comfort, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar, according to the organisers.
The Elantra MD, which will be launched next month in Malaysia, scored 174 points. It beat the Volkswagen Passat (161) and Ford Focus (155). “The Hyundai Elantra 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,” wrote Jayne O’Donnell, a member of the jury from USA Today. This is the second North American COTY award for Hyundai, which came up tops in 2009 with the Genesis.
In the truck category, which includes SUVs, the Range Rover Evoque scored 254 points, way ahead of the Honda CR-V’s 142 and the BMW X3’s 94. This is the first win for the British marque. “Range Rover successfully charts a new direction for the venerable SUV trailblazer with a fresh design and advanced thinking about environmental issues,” said another juror, Alex Taylor of Fortune magazine.
This is the 19th year of the awards, which was inspired by the “Car of the Year” in Europe. Last year, the Chevrolet Volt won for cars and the Ford Explorer won for trucks, but none of the Detroit carmakers made it into the top three in either category this year. Congratulations Hyundai and Land Rover!