Finalists for 2014 North American Car and Truck of the Year revealed

Article by Anita Panait, on December 11, 2013

The finalists for the 2014 North American Car and Truck of the Year are already known following an Automotive Press Association luncheon at the Detroit Athletic Club. The finalists for the 2014 North American Car of the Year are: the Cadillac CTS, Mazda3 and Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The finalists for the 2014 North American Truck/Utility of the Year are: the Jeep Cherokee, Chevrolet Silverado and Acura MDX.

The six finalists were selected by an independent jury of 48 auto journalists from 11 cars and 12 truck and utility vehicles.  To be eligible for the award, a vehicle must be redesigned or substantially changed and be launched during 2013. Six carmakers had multiple entries.

General Motors had six: the Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Impala and Silverado, GMC Sierra and Buick Encore. Toyota Motor Sales had three: Toyota Corolla and Tundra and Lexus IS. Hyundai-Kia also had three: the Kia Cadenza and Sorento, and the Hyundai Santa Fe LWB.

Nissan North America had two: Nissan Rogue and Infiniti Q50. BMW also had two nominees: 4 Series and X5. Other carmakers having two entries are Jaguar-Land Rover with its Jaguar F-Type and Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and Mazda with its Mazda3 and Mazda6. Other nominees included American Honda’s Acura MDX, Mercedes-Benz’s CLA, Chrysler Group’s Jeep Cherokee and the Subaru Forester.

The 2013 North American Car of the Year was the Cadillac ATS while the 2013 North American Truck of the Year was the Ram 1500. Since its inception in 1994, Ford and GM each have gained eight accolades. Other multiple winners include Chrysler, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Hyundai. The 2014 North American Car and Truck of the Year will be announced Jan. 13, 2014 during a press conference before the Detroit auto show press days.

One of the basic principles in the development of the new Cadillac ATS was to make it one of the segment's lightest cars without compromising refined driving experience.

David Masch, ATS chief engineer, quipped that low weight allows the new Cadillac ATS to be nimbler and more controllable while at the same enables the performance and efficiency of its powertrains to be optimized. He added that they took care to manage the weight of the ATS while maintaining the levels of refinement typical of Cadillac vehicles.

By pursuing a four-pronged philosophy, Cadillac was able to optimize the mass of the ATS. This philosophy entails: strict adherence to original architectural goals, measured load management; benchmarking components to determine whether lighter solutions could still be availed; and employing an overall culture that "weighed" the mass of each component against all aspects of development.

The new ATS basically has a low overall mass thanks to the employment of an aluminum hood, natural-fiber door trim panels and magnesium engine mount brackets – thereby reflecting Cadillac’s systematic approach of assessing every gram that went into the premium sedan.

However, not all solutions entailed making the ATS lighter. This is because some weight sources are considered advantageous to attain the expected driving experience. For instance, engineers have determined that cast iron differential results to better fuel economy than a lighter aluminum version.

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Topics: car of the year

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