Later this month, some of the nation's top automotive journalists will gather in Hell, Mich., 60 miles west of Detroit, for their annual three-day shakedown of the best of the year's new car and trucks.
The back-to-back comparison tests are part of the work that goes into the selection of the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year award, now in its 20th year, which will be announced at the Detroit auto show in January.
Winnowing the 10 contenders for the truck award has been simpler than on the car side because the original list contained only 15 vehicles. Oddly, three of the five vehicles that didn't make the cut were from Mercedes: The G, GL, and GLK. They are fine vehicles all, but they didn't clear the bar for innovation and value that are among the qualities on which the writers grade the entries.
While the jurors (of whom I am one) won't be voting until December, it is possible to make some informed guesses about which way they are leaning. Last week, I broke down the list of nominees for the car award. This week, I will try my luck with trucks, sport utilities, and crossovers.
The jurors who pick the North American Car of the Year have come out with their shortlist. Our juror gives his odds.