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by Tim Beissmann

The 2012 North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) finalists have been announced, with small cars and SUVs dominating each category.

The Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat (unique to North America) have been nominated for the North American Car of the Year award, while the North American Truck of the Year winner will be selected from the BMW X3, Honda CR-V (new model coming to Australia in 2012) and the Range Rover Evoque.

After considering dozens of all-new or substantially changed vehicles throughout 2011, the judges – made up of 50 automotive journalists from the US – initially narrowed the field to 17 cars and seven trucks, before making the secondary cull to leave two top threes.

The NACTOY winners will be announced at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 9.

If the Focus takes home the 2012 North American Car of the Year award, it will be the fifth win for the Detroit-based manufacturer in four years. The Explorer (2011 Truck of the Year), Fusion Hybrid (2010 Car of the Year), Transit Connect (2010 Truck of the Year) and F-150 (2009 Truck of the Year) topped their categories in the past three years of the award.

Last year’s Car of the Year prize went to the Chevrolet Volt.

Of this year’s six finalists, the Evoque is the only vehicle not assembled in the US. In the 18 previous editions of the award, 10 Car of the Year winners and 12 Truck of the Year winners have been produced by domestic car makers.




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