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The Hyundai Elantra has been named the 2012 North American Car of the Year and the Range Rover Evoque has taken the prize for the 2012 North American Truck (SUV) of the Year.

The winners were confirmed at the Detroit motor show after they polled the highest number of votes from a group of 50 motoring journalists from the US and Canada.

The Hyundai Elantra just got over the line in a tight race with its fellow finalists: the Volkswagen Passat and the Ford Focus. The South Korean small sedan earned 174 points, putting it 13 points clear of the mid-sized Passat and 19 points ahead of the third-placed Focus small sedan and hatch.

Jury member Jayne O’Donnell from USA Today was impressed by the Elantra’s versatility. “The Hyundai Elantra is sporty, yet sensible. Luxurious, yet affordable. Spunky, but safe. The Elantra is a series of paradoxes and every one is another argument for the latest, impressive entry in the Hyundai line-up.”

The win was the second for Hyundai, following the success of the Genesis in 2009. Hyundai is the only Korean company to win the North American award. Elantra models sold in North America are assembled in Alabama, USA.

The Range Rover Evoque had a much more convincing win in the Truck category (which includes SUVs, full-size utes and light-commercial vehicles). It polled 254 points, easily accounting for the Honda CR-V (142 points) and the BMW X3 (94 points).

Juror Alex Taylor from Fortune magazine said the Evoque had created a new niche in the global SUV market. “Range Rover successfully charts a new direction for the venerable SUV trailblazer with a fresh design and advanced thinking about environmental issues.”

The Evoque’s win was the first for Land Rover/Ranger Rover in the North American award’s 19-year history, after finishing in the top three on two previous occasions. The win in the Truck category was just the third for a European manufacturer.

Despite winning the award, Range Rover does not have a stand at this year’s North American International Auto Show. Jaguar Land Rover earlier explained it could only afford one major motor show for the beginning of 2012, and decided the New Delhi Auto Show in India (the home of the duo’s parent company, Tata Motors) was more important than Detroit.

  • Aaa

    Do they accept payments? Just curious.

  • Hr1

    The elentra looks so nice, I saw one driving and it has such a different design compared to the other bland cars..

    Too bad it’s so expensive and under specced in Australia :(

  • Mqr

    In Australia the top selling Hyundai is the ugly i30! In U.S the top selling Hyundai is the Sonata and Elentra!

    Definatley a more pleasant view in the roads of California

  • Faz

    Awe Elantra beat Ford thats why poor ford is pissed.. Hyundai all the way

  • Able

    The Elantra… Really?

  • Matthew Werner

    I was in Laos in November and I found the reason why Hyundai Australia can’t get enough Elantras – every third car on the road there is a Hyundai, and many of those are Elantras. They were everywhere you looked in Vientiane

  • Sumpguard

    I love it. The anti-Korean brigade are out in force! You need to get over it.

       Well done Hyundai. It’s funny how the comments about price are levelled at the Elantra when the Evoque is grossly expensive.  The Elantra is a very good car and given its spec (even here in Australia) it is still well priced.  If it had a ford badge on it many of you would be saying how cheap it is. For what it actually is it is very competitive.

             Option up the Evoque and it will scare even the wealthy. I noticed that is a common comment made by Australian motoring reporters. For a vehicle that is effectively in the same class as the Rav/ ix35 / CX5 you can readily blow near to $100,000 on a full option. Ridiculous despite its good looks.

       This win is a major achievement for Hyundai in the USA.

    • Lucii Pooky

      Really? The Evoque is in the same league as a ix35/Rav? The Evoque is a Luxury Softroader(even though it actually works off road), like the Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5. Option those cars up and their price will be the same as the Evoque’s. Also the ‘Range Rover’ badge also accounts for the price. And $32000 for a top spec Elantra isn’t what you would call cheap.

      • Sumpguard

            You need to read the post again. No-one said same league. “Effectively” which is a reference to its size. As for its “luxury” status that is for the badge snobs to decide!! To me it is a nice vehicle in a pretty frock but the price is absurd. The other models you referred to are equally overpriced and apparently not very reliable either. Which is one area that has plagued Range Rover in the past. Let’s see if this one is any better.

           …and I didn’t say the top spec Elantra was cheap. I said competitive! Read the post next time then comment. Your anti-Korean comments are well documented but you really should try to absorb what is written before replying. 

        • Lucii Pooky

          Yes but your saying its overpriced when compared with those two but their different cars. The interiors of Ix’s/Ravs are full of hard plastic and not much else. The RR is bathed in leather, metal and screens. Their not overpriced because the quality, technology and driving dynamics is better than the average softroader. They offer more and you pay for it. The Evoque is actually quite cheap when compared the the extremely overpriced X3. 

          Also the Elantra is a competitive car but it falls short of its Rivals. Americans love Hyundais though because of these short comings (Floaty ride, dull steering dynamics, dull engines) I by no means hate Korean cars, my grandfather has a Cerato and its a good car for 20K, and I think the Accent is one of the best in class superminis. And Ive driven the new Elantra (Its not as good as the equivalently priced Focus.)

          • tkay

            You need to take a few months off work and travel to the US and see why they are good “competitve” cars.

            Well done Hyundai.

            If you can’t understand the reasons why such a car won…you need to travel and look further than our nominally small market.

          • Sumpguard

               He clearly has a problem comprehending what people write. I’m not even trying to make a direct comparison to those two, merely putting up some perspective for the actual size of the vehicle v’s it’s asking price which is regardless of how much I or others may like it “ridiculously high” and even worse when optioned up.

               Yet the first thing people have done on here is say the Hyundai is the one that is too dear!  You yourself make reference to the Focus which may well be a good car (I haven’t driven one) without the slightest mention of the fact that it too is grossly overpriced in its top spec. Your bias is shining through. 

                I happen to think the Evoque is stunning both inside and out but it is NOT worth the asking price. It is afterall a compact SUV.



          • Busang

            Evoque is a Freelander with a fancy suit.

          • Lucii Pooky

            Mate I understand what your saying. Ive test driven the Elantra. Its a very nice car but for that price their are better cars out their. If it was 2-4K cheaper it would be a great buy, or maybe if it came with a bit more equipment. After all, its a persons personals opinion.

  • Superior79

    Thats rediculas, a “Truck of the Year” award, for an expensive softroader… The body isnt particular practical either…

  • Kaas

    Good on Hyundai and people who like their cars. In the states they are priced well hence favored by reviewers as thy judge it based on value for average car buyer.

    But in my opinion and a lot will agree they look offensive. But aside from that, in the states they are nice value.

    In Oz Hyundai is becoming expensive in a sense that they are priced similarly to their Japanese counterparts. Still, if you like Hyundai then good for you.

  • Robin_Graves

    Hyundai just got the Autobild quality award for a second year running, VW was right down the bottom again.  Google  ”Hyundai auf Platz eins, VW weit dahinter” translated to Hyundai number one, VW way behind.  Even the Germans have to admit VW’s are unreliable hand grenades.