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Honda wins car and truck awards

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Honda wins car and truck awards

Ridgeline and Civic take the National Car and Truck of the Year awards as voted on by auto writers
January 8, 2006: 2:58 PM EST

Detroit (CNNMoney.com) - Honda took both the Car and Truck of the Year awards handed out at the opening of the Detroit Auto Show Sunday.

The annual awards are voted on by a committee of 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada. The journalists involved write for a variety of publications, including Fortune Magazine, while some are freelance writers.

The awards are open to all new or substantially redesigned vehicles introduced during the past year. The three finalists for cars were the Civic, the Ford Fusion sedan and the Pontiac Solstice sports car.

Among trucks, the finalists were the Ridgeline, the Ford Explorer SUV and the Nissan Xterra SUV.

The awards are said to recognize vehicles for their innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.

The Ridgeline is unusual for a truck in that it features car-like engineering that has been heavily reinforced to deal with heavy loads. Among its noted features are a trunk hidden under the bed and a tailgate that swings out as well as down.

"Heavy duty truckers may scoff, but with the Ridgeline you can have your SUV and pick-up, too," said John Gilbert, a wrier with St. Paul magazine and one of the jurors.

Officially known as the North American International Auto Show, the Detroit event is the year's major showcase for car manufacturers around the world. For more coverage, go here.

The Civic was completely redesigned for 2006, becoming slightly larger. It also has a more radical, futuristic shape.

The last generation Civic suggested that Honda, like so many other automakers, might be content with resting on its laurels, said Stephen Cole Smith, an auto writer with the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel. "The new Civic suggests that isn't the case."

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