This year’s recipients of the 2016 North American Car & Truck of the year awards were announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The awards are an opportunity to celebrate automotive innovation, with the winners receiving a considerable boost in publicity for the start of the New Year. Now in its 23rd year, the annual honours are assigned to the top vehicles in the car and truck/utility category, respectively. The vehicle evaluation process examines important variables such as interior comfort, vehicle design/ handling, safety features, driver satisfaction and value based on cost. This years voting panel consisted of 53 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada, representing all major forms of media to decide a winner in each category. Without further ado, the winners are…
The Top Three: Car Category
2nd Place – 2016 CHEVROLET MALIBU (181 points)
The all-new, redesigned 2016 Chevy Malibu took home the silver, but they can hang their hat on the noticeable improvements to the design and functionality of the vehicle. This front-wheel drive, four-door sedan has available 1.5 L Ecotec turbo, 2.0 L LTG turbo and 1.8 L hybrid gasoline engines, accompanied by 6-speed or 8-speed Aisin automatic transmissions. The exterior designs are sleeker than models past, creating a more full-sized look for this mid-sized sedan. An industry changing technology will also be included in the 2016 Malibu with its “teen driver feature”, which essentially allows parents to access diagnostics on their child’s driving habits. The ’16 Malibu is also competitively priced at $21,625 USD.
3rd Place – 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata (146 points)
Rounding out the top three in the car category was the Mazda MX-5 Miata, making it the second Japanese automaker in the top three for 2016. The MX-5 Miata has the distinction of being the highest selling two-seat convertible of all time! The 2016 MX-5 is part of the fourth generation of Miata’s, boasting a lighter body than models past and Mazda’s patented SKYACTIV technology. A 2.0 L engine will come standard on all 2016 models with the option for a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Starting at $24,915 USD, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is on of the most affordable sports cars on the market!
2016 HONDA CIVIC (203 points)
The 2016 Honda Civic takes home “Car of the Year” honours for the second time in a decade (2006) and proves that foreign automakers are still very much a player in the North American auto sector. This front-wheel drive compact is offered in three body styles, including the 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback with available Si trim packages and Type-R models also available. The ’16 Civic offers two available engine options, including a 2.0 litre (6-speed manual or CVT) or 1.5 litre turbocharged version equipped with a 6-speed stick shift. Honda scored big points for its base selling price of $18,640 USD, making it the most affordable car in the top three!
The Top Three: Truck/Utility Category
2nd Place – 2016 Honda Pilot (111 points)
Honda must be feeling pretty good with themselves in 2016, with the Civic winning the top spot in the car category and now the Honda Pilot claiming 2nd place in the truck/SUV category — not too shabby! The 2016 Pilot has received a makeover, moving away from the harder angles of years past and introducing a sleek, more streamlined design. Honda has included a 3.5 L V6 engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission or optional 9-speed. A cool new feature is the implementation of start-stop technology to help drivers save additional fuel, by automatically shutting down the engine when the vehicle is idle. The 2016 Pilot offers quality improvements to their safety features, including a passenger side mirror camera, blind spot sensors, and a lane-departure warning system to alert you of vehicle drifting. It’s “safe” to say that the Pilot is in control and at $30,145 USD to start — your finances will be “under” control.
3rd Place – 2016 Nissan Titan XD (109 points)
Don’t look now, but Nissan and Cummins have teamed up to create a monster of a truck! With the 5.0 L turbo-diesel V8, the Nissan Titan XD truly sets the benchmark for raw power among pickup trucks in 2016. The diesel engine is a great selling feature, especially when you find out it produces 310 bhp and 555 lb-ft o torque! This monster wont have any issues lugging trees, hauling dirt, kicking butt and/or taking names. This XD version benefits from a heavy-duty frame taken from Nissan’s commercial vehicle line. Depending on the size of the job, 4 door extended cab and/or 4 door crew cabs are available. This beast will retail at base price of $40,290 USD
2016 Volvo XC90 (310 points)
They’ve done it again! The Volvo XC90 has won its second top truck/utility award since 2003 when it first brought home the hardware. A category usually dominated by domestic offerings, this year is an ode to foreign automakers’ commitment to developing quality trucks and SUVs. Swedish automaker, Volvo, has earned a reputation for producing safe and reliable vehicles that incorporate stylish and luxurious elements, and the 2016 XC90 is no different. Volvo has publicly made it their mission to ensure that no fatalities occur within a Volvo vehicle by the year 2020 — a bold prediction that we all hope they can deliver on. This all-wheel drive SUV comes equipped with a 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine with available supercharged or turbocharged engine package(s) that produce up to 316 hp and 295 lbs per foot of torque! Apple iPlay is an available option for iPhone users, as well as the new parking assist pilot feature that will take the stress out of parallel parking. This mid-size luxury SUV is also competitively priced at $49,800 USD, which given Volvo’s history for safety and quality — its no wonder the XC90 is their best selling vehicle worldwide.