Which 2010 or 2011 model gets your vote of the most desirable vehicle of the year? The best green car? There are three important awards being announced at the press preview days of the important 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show next week.
First, is the title of Automobile of the Year, awarded by Automobile Magazine. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 16th via Facebook and on the magazine’s own website, and followers will be able to chat with editors.
On Wednesday, November 17th, The Car Connection names its Best Car to Buy in 2011 award winner, and on Thursday, November 18th, the Green Car of the Year Award is being presented at the LA Auto Show, by the magazine Green Car Journal. A couple of models are on all three ‘best car’ lists, because they simply blow the doors off the competition.
Here are the ten Automobile of the Year finalists, and what the editors say, in alphabetical order —
The redesign of Audi’s range-topping sedan doesn’t take a dramatic leap, but then, it didn’t have to. The Audi A8 was already among the most advanced machines in its rarefied class. The new eight-speed automatic transmission, all-LED headlamps, and unique touch-pad driver interface just put more icing on the cake.
BMW’s much-admired mid-size sedan has been treated to a handsome redesign for 2011, but changes run more than skin deep. The new turbocharged six-cylinder and eight-speed automatic, in particular, combine sport-sedan performance with surprising efficiency.
The Opel-based Regal is the smallest Buick entry in recent years. With a European-tuned chassis and an engine lineup of normally aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinders, it should go a long way toward redefining Buick.
- The Buick Regal is also on The Car Connection ‘best buy’ list.
Cadillac CTS-V Coupe/Sport Wagon
Cadillac’s Nürburgring-worthy CTS-V was already available as a sedan, but it makes an all-the-more compelling package in the dramatically styled coupe and wagon. We love the message here: (lots of) power to even more people!
General Motors’ long-anticipated and much-talked-about moon-shot vehicle is finally here, and it’s on time and very good. The degree to which the Volt’s extended-range electric powertrain portends the future can be debated, but plenty of manufacturers are readying similar systems. GM just happens to be the first.
- No surprise — the Chevy Volt also is a finalist for Green Car of the Year and Best 2011 Car to Buy.
For years we’ve agitated for Ford to bring its highly regarded European small cars to America, and the Fiesta is the first to finally arrive. The Fiesta’s 40-mpg EPA highway rating may not surprise anyone, but the rich equipment levels almost certainly will.
- The 2011 Ford Fiesta is one of the five finalists for Green Car of the Year, as a traditional gas-powered vehicle with knock-your-socks-off 40mpg fuel economy. It’s also on The Car Connection best buy list for the same reason.
Nothing better exemplifies Hyundai’s recent ascension than the new Sonata, which rises to the very top of the brutally competitive mid-size-sedan segment. A recently added turbocharged model is a more efficient but no less satisfying substitute for the traditional V-6 offering.
- The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is one of the finalists for Green Car of the Year.
At long last, the big Jaguar sedan looks as modern outside as it is inside. An advanced, aluminum-intensive construction helps make this big cat as lithe as it is luxurious—and it is very luxurious indeed.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Its huge-volume-selling days may be behind it, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee remains a very important vehicle for Chrysler. This all-new version was developed during a tumultuous time, but you’d never know it from the highly polished result.
Nissan is making a huge bet on electric propulsion with the Leaf, the first-ever mass-market EV in the United States. The EV-only Leaf certainly looks like a new-age machine, inside and out. It also promises to be a major milestone.
- Not surprisingly, the Nissan Leaf is one of the five finalists for Green Car of the Year, and on the Car Connection list. It’s on everybody’s list.
For more on the Green Car of the Year awards, read my recent article on Examiner.com, where I am the National Green Car Examiner.
BTW — I’m attending the Los Angeles Auto Show press preview days Nov. 17 and 18th. More than 50 new models are being introduced, including some revolutionary concepts, hybrids and electrics. Which model gets your vote?
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