Finalists have been announced for the ICOTY (International Car of the Year) award. Winners will be announced at NAIAS (the Detroit auto show) in January. A few dozen leading auto writers from various publications and websites vote, so advertising is not a factor in this one.
The car finalists:
1. Chevrolet Camaro
2. Ford Taurus
3. Hyundai Genesis
The truck finalists:
1. Chevrolet Equinox
2. Ford Transit Connect
3. Volvo XC60
I learned a few years ago, when the Saturn AURA won, that voting is heavily based on the significance of the car for its manufacturer and for the car market, and not just on what the car is like to look at and drive.
In the car category we have:
1. The first car Hyundai has produced that enthusiasts would want to drive.
2. The symbol of Ford’s (hoped for) resurgence. Journalists love to boost Ford these days. (Which will also help the Transit Connect.) The Taurus has been receiving so-so reviews, but so did the AURA.
3. A niche product that, while stylish and powerful, doesn’t point the way to the future of either GM or the car market in general.
So I think the odds of winning run in the above order.
Over in trucks, I see no chance for the XC60. The question, then, is whether a revolutionary (for North America) cargo can get the nod over a mainstream crossover that is far better than the one it replaced. Tough call, but if I have to pick one it’s the Equinox.
I used to think that journalists would avoid giving one manufacturer both wins. But then GM won both two years ago, so this isn’t a factor.