Chevrolet Malibu wins Car of the Year
General Motors' mid-size sedan wins coveted North American Car of the Year award. Mazda CX-9 SUV is Truck of the Year
DETROIT (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors' Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan, radically redesigned for the 2008 model year, won the North American Car of the Year Award Sunday at the first media preview day for the Detroit auto show.
The Mazda CX-9, a sporty crossover SUV, was named Truck of the Year.
The Malibu and CX-9 were selected by a jury of 47 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada representing a range of media outlets including Fortune magazine, Edmunds.com, Road & Track and the Chicago Tribune.
To be eligible, vehicles must be "all new" or "substantially redesigned" from the previous model year. The journalists selected the Malibu and CX-9 from a field of 13 cars and 15 trucks.
The mid-size sedan has been well-reviewed by the media, including CNNMoney.com. The Malibu's interior has a twin-cockpit design that mimics classic Chevrolet Corvettes. Its exterior shape, with smooth sides, wide rear window pillars and side turn signals, is intended to resemble European luxury sedans.
This marks the second year in a row that a GM vehicle won Car of the Year. Last year, the Saturn Aura, a sedan that shares most of its engineering with the Malibu, won Car of the Year.
GM also won Truck of the Year last year with the Chevrolet Silverado and stood a good chance of winning again this year since two of three finalists were GM products.
The Mazda CX-9, a so-called crossover SUV, has already been named SUV of the year by Motor Trend magazine. The curvaceous CX-9 gets kudos for its ride and handling characteristics, which are especially good for an SUV with three rows of seats.