By Dee-Ann Durbin
DETROIT -- Two Honda vehicles - the Civic sedan and the Ridgeline
pickup - were chosen as the Car and Truck Of The Year at the North
American International Auto Show (in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.).
The awards were presented Sunday, the first day of media previews for
the show. The show opens to the public Saturday.
It's the first time in the award's twelve-year history that both
winners were from the same automaker. The winners were chosen by a group
of forty-nine full-time automotive journalists from the United States
More than fifty cars and trucks were eligible for the 2006 award.
Finalists had to be new or substantially redesigned from the previous
The other two finalists for Car Of The Year were the Ford Fusion and
the Pontiac Solstice.
The other two finalists for Truck Of The Year were the Ford Explorer
and Nissan Xterra sport utility vehicles. The Xterra previously won
Truck Of The Year honors in 2000.
This is the second major award bestowed on the Civic and Ridgeline.
Late last year, Motor Trend magazine named the Ridgeline its Truck Of
The Year and named the Civic its Car Of The Year.
Motor Trend said the Ridgeline's innovative features set it apart from
other trucks in it's class, including an 8.5-cubic-foot trunk under the
pickup's bed and four cargo lamps that illuminate the bed.
Motor Trend praised the Civic for new styling and technical
innovations, including more power and better fuel efficiency.
The Ridgeline went on sale in March. Honda says it expects to reach
its goal of selling 50,000 Ridgelines in the first twelve months the
pickup is on sale.
Civic sales were flat for the year, although they rose in the Fall
after the new Civic hit showrooms.
The North American honors have been given annually since 1994. Jurors
scrutinize each vehicle's design, safety, handling and innovations.
Judges also consider driver satisfaction and value.
Last year's Car Of The Year was the Chrysler 300. The Truck Of The
Year was the Ford Escape Hybrid, the first hybrid sport utility vehicle.