A jury of 49 veteran automotive journalists has selected the Buick LaCrosse, Ford Fusion Hybrid and Volkswagen Golf/GTI as finalists for North American Car of the Year and the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Transit Connect and Subaru Outback as finalists for North American Truck of the Year.

The awards are unique in the United States because they are given by automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who represent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and Web sites, instead of being given by a single media outlet.

The awards are designed to recognize the most outstanding vehicles of the year based on factors that include innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.

To be eligible, vehicles must be "all-new" or "substantially changed" from the previous model. This year the jury considered more than 50 vehicles and finally focused on 16 cars and 10 trucks.

The 17th annual awards will take place Jan. 11 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The finalists include:

2010 North American Car of the Year nominees

  • BMW 335d
  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Ford Fusion
  • Ford Fusion Hybrid
  • Ford Taurus/Taurus SHO
  • Honda Insight
  • Kia Soul
  • Mazda3/MazdaSpeed3
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Porsche Panamera
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Suzuki Kizashi
  • Toyota Prius
  • Volkswagen Golf/GTI/TDI

2010 North American Truck of the Year nominees:

  • Acura ZDX
  • Audi Q5
  • Cadillac SRX
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Ford Transit Connect
  • Honda Accord Crosstour
  • Land Rover LR4
  • Lincoln MKT
  • Subaru Outback
  • Volvo XC60

More information on the awards is available at www.northamericancaroftheyear.org.