Honda Civic, Volvo XC90 get 2016 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards

The Honda Civic and the Volvo XC90 managed to beat out strong rivals in their respective categories to win the awards at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. 

Paul Sancya/AP
John W. Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., poses with the Honda Civic, winner of the North American Car of the Year award in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.

The 2016 Detroit Auto Show is just getting underway and to start things off with a bang the organizers have announced the winners of the 2016 North American Carand Truck of the Year awards.

In the car category, the winner was the 2016 Honda Civic, which managed to beat out strong rivals such as the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata and 2016 Chevrolet Malibu in the final round of voting.

In the truck/utility category, top honors went to the 2016 Volvo XC90, which beat the 2016 Nissan Titan XD and 2016 Honda Pilot.

For Honda, the award represents a successful redesign of a model that only a few years ago was deemed substandard by most journalists. The new model combines sleek design, advanced construction methods and the latest technology in a package that remains affordable. The car also drives and handles great.

For Volvo, the praise awarded to the automaker’s new XC90 is a sign that the Swedish automaker, now with Chinese backing, can once again become a major force, this time in the premium sector. The new XC90 shares a design, platform and technology that will filter across to most of the automaker’s lineup, and the fact that the first vehicle out is already so good bodes well for the rest of the lineup.

As in past years, to be eligible for the awards, a vehicle had to be new or substantially changed for the current year. The vehicles also had to be popular sellers, thus ruling out many niche products like those from the exotic brands. And doing the judging were dozens of journalists and industry veterans, including five Motor Authority editors.

This year, there was an original field of 40 contenders (19 vehicles in the car category and 21 for the truck/utility category). Last year, the winners were the Volkswagen Golf and Ford F-150.

For more from the Detroit Auto Show, head to our dedicated hub.

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