The field has been whittled down to three top contenders for the prestigious North American Car of the Year award that will be announced next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The field has been narrowed to the Cadillac ATS, the Ford Fusion or the Honda Accord.
New for 2013, the Cadillac ATS compact sedan has been designed with sporty luxury in mind. Sporty features includes rear-wheel drive, Cadillac's first five-link, independent rear suspension, and electric variable-effort steering, while luxury features include keyless access, push-button start, real wood accents and carbon fiber trim. It is available with a choice of three power plants: two four-cylinder-engine types and a V-6.
Redesigned for 2013, the Ford Fusion midsize sedan offers a long list of technologies to help drivers, such as adaptive cruise control, which can apply the brakes to slow the car if it senses a potential crash, and active park assist, which steers the car into a parallel parking spot while the driver applies the brake and accelerator. The 2013 Ford Fusion is available with a choice of three four-cylinder engines as well as a conventional hybrid and a plug-in hybrid.
Though the model has been on the market for 37 years, the Honda Accord has been redesigned for 2013. It is slightly smaller than the previous generation but has more interior volume, including more rear-seat legroom and a larger trunk. There are two power plants currently offered, a four-cylinder and a V-6, while a plug-in hybrid and a conventional hybrid will be offered later this year.
The Car of the Year award is given by a group of 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada. The group initially considers all cars that are new or substantially redesigned for 2013. For this year's award, that list was narrowed to 11 cars. The jurors then voted for the top three finalists. They use the same process to select the North American Truck/Utility of the Year, which will be announced at the same time.
Which car do you think deserves the Car of the Year award?
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.