Even before the first official debut of the annual North American International Auto Show, Honda and Volvo had plenty of reason to celebrate. The two makers took top honors in a highly competitive field of finalists for the North American Car and Truck of the Year.
This year, top honors went to the 2016 Honda Civic, the North American Car of the Year, with the new 2016 Volvo XC90 taking honors as the North American Truck/Utility of the Year.
Now marking their 24thyear, the NACTOY awards are considered among the most prestigious and influential in the country, reflecting the diverse opinions of 54 U.S. and Canadian journalists who spent months comparing and contrasting close to 100 of the newest cars, trucks and crossover vehicles.
A win was especially sweet for Honda which saw the Civic also win back in 2006. And considering how much better the competition has gotten, John Mendel, the maker’s top American executive, said, “There aren’t any bad cars anymore.”
The new Civic sedan has won rave reviews since making its surprise debut at the New York Auto Show last April. The four-door, noted Mendel, is the first in a variety of variants planned for the Civic line, the coupe version next up. There will also be a new, sporty package not seen in the U.S. market before. “The work has already begun on the next one,” said the veteran Honda executive, adding that landing the North American Car of the Year trophy actually means, “a little more pressure for the team.”
As for Volvo, the North American Truck/Utility trophy win was equally sweet. The Swedish automaker is just beginning to rebuild momentum after years of declining demand, sales last year rebounding to a global record.
Volvo has laid out an aggressive, albeit controversial strategy focusing on switching entirely to four-cylinder engines. In fact, its highest-performance version of the XC90 is a plug-in hybrid. The crossover-utility vehicle, meanwhile, features an array of new, high-tech features.
Read more of the original article in The Detroit Bureau