Hyundai Elantra wins car of year honors

@CNNMoney January 9, 2012: 12:28 PM ET

DETROIT (CNNMoney) -- Detroit automakers got shut out of honors at their hometown's auto show Monday as the Hyundai Elantra and the Range Rover Evoque won North American car and truck of the year awards.

The win by Hyundai is the second time it captures car of the year honors at the show in four years. Its luxury Genesis won the award in 2009.

It also marked another sign of the growing competitive threat that the Korean automaker poses to Detroit. Hyundai Motor's two brands, Hyundai and Kia, captured nearly 9% of the U.S. market in 2011, nearly double the share it had five years ago.

"Sporty yet sensible. Luxurious, yet affordable. Spunky, but safe," said Jayne O'Donnell of USA Today, one of the judges. "The Elantra is a series of paradoxes and every one is another argument for the latest impressive entry in the Hyundai lineup."

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The Hyundai beat out the Ford (F, Fortune 500) Focus and the Volkswagen (VLKAF) Passat for the honors, the latter the winner of the Motor Trend Car of the Year honors. (New plug-in Fusion unveiled by ford.)

The Range Rover Evoque, which had won Motor Trend's SUV of the year in 2011, won in Detroit for its combination of performance and fuel efficiency.

"Range Rover successfully charts a new direction for the venerable SUV trailblazer with a fresh design and advanced thinking about environmental issues," said Fortune magazine's Alex Taylor, one of the judges.

The win is another lift for Range Rover, the British SUV maker that Ford sold to Indian automaker Tata as is shed its non-core brands over the last three years. It is a departure for Range Rover, which is known for its tradition of large, luxury SUV's designed for off-road driving.

Powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and with a six-speed automatic transmission, the Evoque is tuned more for on-road performance and fuel economy. It gets an EPA-estimated 28 miles per gallon in highway driving, making it the most fuel-efficient Land Rover vehicle.

The Evoque beat out Honda's CR-V and BMW's X3 SUVs. To top of page

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