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Truck of the Year Between Just 7 Models

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer October 2011

Each year, automotive writers from across the U.S. and Canada submit their ballots to decide which vehicles will be North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year. Awarded at the North American International Auto Show held each January in Detroit, the races are typically close fights with many contenders.

But with just seven new trucks released in 2011, the contest for this year's Truck of the Year title likely won't be the competitive struggle it's been in past years. It also won't compare to the battle raging for Car of the Year, which has seen a field of more than 20 narrow to "only" 17 contenders. But while this year's Truck of the Year race may not be as exciting as previous contests, each model certainly has a legitimate claim to the coveted trophy.

Among the seven vehicles competing for Truck of the Year, four are from luxury brands: the BMW X3, Mercedes M-class, Range Rover Evoque and Saab 9-4X. While the X3 and M-class each represent redesigned versions of highly-successful current models, the Evoque and 9-4X offer stylish new directions for their respective brands - and all certainly have a chance at the award.

Mainstream brands offer just three competitors for the award: Honda's upcoming CR-V, Mini's segment-busting Countryman and the radical new Nissan Quest minivan. While final details about the CR-V are still unknown, both the Countryman and Quest represent big leaps in their respective segments, also making them strong competitors for the title.

Our prediction? It's too early to tell. But it is worth noting that writers who serve as jurors for the award often shy away from upscale brands, almost exclusively choosing mainstream models instead. Since the award's official inception in 1994, just three luxury models have been named Truck of the Year: the 1998 Mercedes M-class, the 2001 Acura MDX, and the 2003 Volvo XC90. Most recent winners of the award include the Ford Explorer in 2011, the Ford TransitConnect in 2010 and the Ford F-150 in 2009.

Regardless of the outcome, we'll report on the verdict as soon as it's handed down from Detroit.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Truck of the Year Between Just 7 Models - Autotrader