The win was the second for Volkswagen, coming 16 years after the New Beetle took top honours in the 1999 edition of the awards.
The previous-generation Volkswagen Golf was a finalist in 2010 but lost to the Ford Fusion Hybrid.
The Golf’s win is the 10th
for a manufacturer based outside the US in the 22 years of the North American COTY awards, and just the fifth for a European car maker.
The Ford F-150 claimed a resounding victory in the Truck of the Year category, polling 297 points to humble the Chevrolet Colorado (205 points) and the Lincoln MKC (68 points).
The 2015 award is joins three other Truck of the Year trophies in the F-150’s cabinet, and is the eighth in total for the blue oval brand.
It also extends the dominance of domestic manufacturers in the Truck category, with US marques winning 15 years out of 22.
The North American Car and Truck of the Year is voted on by 57 automotive journalists from the US and Canada representing websites, television, radio, magazines and newspapers.
The awards are designed to recognise the most outstanding new vehicles of the year, rating eligible models according to their innovation, comfort, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for money.
Chevrolet swept the awards last year, with the Corvette Stingray and the Silverado taking home the bacon in their respective segments.