DETROIT – In an event unprecedented in the 13-year history of the North American Car and Truck of the Year competition, one auto maker wins both awards for 2006.
Motor Co. Ltd. wins the award for its all-new '06 Civic, and also takes the crown with its Ridgeline midsize pickup.
's extensive Civic lineup, which consists of a 4-door sedan, the second generation Civic Hybrid and a high-performance Si coupe aimed at the street-tuner set, generally has enjoyed glowing reviews for its grown-up refinement and comparatively affordable prices.
The Ridgeline, however, has divided many reviewers and industry watchers over the definition of a pickup truck and whether Honda's all-new interpretation actually applies.
Honda Civic honored as North American car of year.
Honda Ridgeline voted North American truck of year.
Although most readily concede the Ridgeline, based on the unibody platform of Honda's successful Pilot SUV, does not belong in the same toughness league as traditional body-on-frame pickups, the vehicle has forced critics and industry engineers to examine whether its design brief actually may be more in tune with how today's typical customer uses a pickup.
The Civic bested 13 other nominees for the NACOTY award, including heavy hitters such as an all-new3-Series, Motor Co.'s popular Fusion sedan and Corp.'s hot-selling Pontiac Solstice.
Ridgeline was the winner among 14 truck nominees that included GM's Hummer H2,'s re-engineered Explorer and the Xterra.
The awards are given by 49 fulltime automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. The first awards were presented in 1993.
Last year's car of the year was the300C and the Ford Escape Hybrid won the truck honors.
Ward's senior technical editor Bill Visnic is one of the jurors.