HONDA and Volvo have picked up the top gongs at the ongoing NAIAS show in Detroit, winning the North American Car And Truck Of The Year awards respectively.
The 2016 Honda Civic (main pic) edged out the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, both respectable rivals for the car award.
The Volvo XC90 won truck/utility category with the 2016 Nissan Titan XD and 2016 Honda Pilot the runners up.
There were a total of 40 contenders this year, broken down into lists of 19 vehicles for the car category and 21 for the truck/utility category. Last year, the winners were the Volkswagen Golf and Ford F-150.
Honda got plenty of spotlight for the Civic’s prestigious award, and for the unveiling of its 2017 Ridgeline. The midsize truck, out of circulation for two years, will return this fall as a more standard design.
The new generation Civic’s win was reassuring for Honda following years of bland styling and poor performance from its hallmark model. This time the new Civic answers all criticisms, emerging from a redesign with improvements made to ride and handling combined with advanced tech and powerful engines.
For Volvo, the award was proof that the brand’s renaissance, which centres on the modular SPA platform, is off to a good start.
The company is now under Chinese control, after being sold by Ford Motor Co. in 2010 to the Chinese automaker Geely.
The XC90 (above) is the auto industry’s first seven-seat plug-in hybrid SUV so it also bodes well for the automaker’s new products coming down the line because the XC90′s styling, technology and powertrains will trickle down across most of Volvo’s lineup in the next few years.
Unwrapped or announced already, as the annual car show opened, were a new pickup trick from Honda, new details on the much-anticipated Chevy Bolt all-electric sedan, a hydrogen fuel-cell concept car from Audi, and a new crossover from Kia, the Telluride (see separate post).
Honda’s four-door pickup, the Ridgeline, powered by a 3.5-litre V-6 engine, will mark Honda’s return to a vibrant and growing US midsize truck market, competing with Chevy’s Colorado, GMC’s Canyon, Toyota’s Tacoma and Nissan’s Frontier.
In other truck news, Nissan announced it will add another iteration to its growing Titan truck line.
The Warrior (above) is a concept vehicle that could join the other beasts in the Titan menagerie. If it does, it will be the biggest one – featuring a 5-litre, 8-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine and offering what Nissan called “new extremes with unapologetic, aggressive, athletic styling features that declare the concept’s offroad adventure intent.”