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Every January in Detroit, the North American Car and Truck Awards are announced by a jury of 57 automotive journalists from the Untied States and Canada. The awards have been given since 1994, and were inspired by car of the year awards given in Europe. Domestic or imported vehicles qualify for the award, which recognizes new benchmarks in the classes in which they compete. The vehicles must be substantially changed from the previous model.

Taking the automotive honor is the Volkswagen Golf. The other two finalists were the Ford Mustang and the Hyundai Genesis. “We are proud to have the 2015 Golf in our line-up,” said Mac Cannon, general manager at Team Volkswagen in Merrillville. “In addition to winning the North American Car of the Year it has also won Motor Trend Car of the Year, Affordable Car of the Year and is one of Car and Driver’s 10 Best for 2015. All it takes is one test drive and you will find out how well deserved the accolades are. The Golf is roomier, slightly bigger and handles like German Cars that cost twice the money. This is Volkswagens #1 seller worldwide and the engineers take great pride in producing a vehicle that continues the tradition of offering excellent craftsmanship at an affordable price. This car is also made with the next generation of lightweight yet strong materials and is the leader in how to build a small car that places safety first.”

The new-for-2015 Golf has a wider stance, lower roofline, and more interior space. An increased use of ultra high strength steel shaved some 51 pounds over its predecessor in the body alone. It also resulted in a ten percent increase in torsional rigidity. That increased body stiffness makes the Golf feel very solid over bumps. It also allows for great suspension tuning that results in confident cornering and a high fun-to-drive factor

In the Golf 1.8 TSI, the turbocharged 170-horsepower 1.8-liter gasoline four-cylinder boasts a 6 mile per gallon improvement in the highway estimate over the 2.5-liter engine it replaces. It also shaves some more weight.

The TDI diesel in the previous Golf comprised about 50 percent of sales. The 2015 Golf 2.0 TDI diesel can be had for up to $3000 less than last year's model. It's an all-new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder which receives a 31 mpg city and 35 mpg highway rating, a one mile per gallon improvement in both categories.

The Golf is also available in the sporty GTI model, and the all-electric e-Golf. A high performance Golf R is now arriving in showrooms.

It's always big news when perennial pickup sales leader F-150 is redesigned, but the technological leaps forward of the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 stood out enough to win the North American Truck/Utility of the Year, beating out the other finalists Chevrolet Colorado and Lincoln MKC. “The F-150 has been the best selling vehicle for 36 years,” said Pete Blagojevic, general manager at Art Hill Ford in Merrillville. “The 2015 F-150 has an aluminum body that’s 700 pounds lighter, so towing capacity and payload capacity are increased. If you drive one, you’ll know why it’s going to continue to be the best seller.”

The 2015 Ford F-150’s new aluminum-alloy body and a high-strength steel frame that save up to 700 pounds over the previous truck. That results in towing up to 1100 pounds higher and a payload capacity up to 530 pounds higher than the 2014 F-150. It also gives the F-150 the highest fuel mileage of all full-size gasoline powered pickups. A 4x2 with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine is rated 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway by the EPA.

Several new features make truck ownership easier, such as an array of cameras to help maneuver tight spots, park in tight spots, and hitch a trailer without a spotter. Integrated loading ramps and a new cargo management system ease loading and hauling.

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