The all-new, 10th-generation Honda Accord has just bagged the 2018 North American Car of the Year Award, finishing ahead of two other finalists – the Kia Stinger and Toyota Camry. Besides cars, there’s also the Utility Vehicle of the Year and Truck of the Year awards which were won by the Volvo XC60 (which was just freshly launched in Malaysia) and Lincoln Navigator respectively.

The top award is reserved for models that are new or significantly updated for 2018, and this achievement represents the third consecutive win for Honda, with the Civic taking top honours in 2016 and the Ridgeline with the 2017 Truck of the Year award.

Each winner was chosen by a panel of over 60 jurors from print, online and broadcast media across the United States and Canada. There were dozens of new vehicles shortlisted, and the evaluating process took into account the model’s segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for money.

The process started in June 2017 by determining vehicle eligibility and includes three rounds of voting. The votes were then tallied in confidence by Deloitte LLP and remained sealed until they were announced by NACTOY (North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year Awards) officers.

The three winners each stood out in their segments for different reasons. “Honda seems to have executed some sort of magic trick — not only is this 10th-generation Accord far sleeker and more decisively styled than its predecessor, it’s somehow roomier inside, too,” said Chris Paukert, a NACTOY juror and managing editor of Road Show by CNET. “Even in low-end trims, it drives well and offers a strong amount of standard equipment,” he added.

“Like the XC90, the XC60 offers Volvo’s distinct brand of luxury and it may even be more appealing than its bigger brother. The ride is exemplary, and when smartly equipped, it is a fine value,” said NACTOY juror and freelance auto writer Kirk Bell. Back home, the XC60 can be had in T5 and T8 Twin Engine guises, with prices ranging from RM299k for the entry-level CKD T5 Momentum, all the way to RM374k for the top-spec T8 Twin Engine Inscription Plus.

As for the winning truck, “the 2018 Navigator received a more dramatic update than its Ford Expedition sibling and its impact for the brand will be stronger as a result. With its design now aligned with the Continental, the Navigator becomes an even more important image – and the profit-maker for Lincoln,” said juror Ron Sessions of the New York Daily News.

The NACTOY is now in its 24th year, and the awards are “unique” because they are awarded by a group of dozens of respected automotive journals instead of being given by a single publication, website, radio or television station. Below are the nine finalists for the 2018 NACTOY.