Honda Civic, Volvo XC 90 Take Car, Truck of the Year Awards

  • Each model captures prize for a second time at Detroit show
  • Both models feature technology that moves toward self-driving

The Road Ahead for Volvo

Honda Motor Co.’s Civic was named North American Car of the Year, and Volvo’s XC 90 won the truck award. Driver-assist technology helped both models stand out.

Honda’s Civic won the award for the second time, adding to its victory in 2006. Last fall, to lure younger customers to the brand, Honda began selling a redesigned version of the car, which is the company’s second-best selling car in the U.S. The more aggressive, sporty design helped the company boost U.S. sales of the car to 335,384 -- a 2.9 percent gain from the year before. The compact car also includes Honda’s driver-assist package of lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control.

The XC 90 took the truck prize for the second time, adding to its win in 2003, the only other year the brand had a finalist in the awards. The company banked heavily on its revamp of the sport utility vehicle, which now offers an automatic driving system that steers, accelerates and brakes for drivers in tangled traffic. The SUV helped Volvo set a global sales record of more than 500,000 in 2015, when U.S. sales rose 24 percent to 70,047 vehicles.

“You can’t just have a great car, you also have to have a car that’s got a lot of innovation,” said Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book and a juror for the awards. “Autonomous features are a component” of what these models offer, he said.

The awards, selected by a committee of automotive journalists, have been given out since 1994. The other finalists for the car award were the Chevrolet Malibu and the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Honda Pilot and Nissan Titan XD were finalists for the truck honor.

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