The Chevrolet Volt has won yet another major award: The North American Car of the Year. The Volt beat out two other finalists, the Hyundai Sonata and the battery-powered Nissan Leaf. The North American Truck of the Year is the Ford Explorer, which beat out the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango. The announcement was made Monday at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, where General Motors first showed the Volt as a concept car four years ago.

After nearly four years of anticipation, many car critics are saying the Volt’s performance is impressive. With a starting price of about $41,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, the Volt travels between 25 to 50 miles on an electric charge before a gasoline-engine switches on to generate more electricity. Since its introduction in December, Chevrolet has sold 326 Volts.

The Truck of the Year, the 2011 Ford Explorer, was launched in December. A media drive late last year showed that it easily travels over deep sand ruts and steep hills even though it is built off a car platform – the same one as the Ford Taurus sedan. Dealers from California to Pennsylvania say the Explorer shows signs of being a hit with customers.

The Explorer also gets 25 miles per gallon on the highway and 17 mpg in the city, putting it at the head of its class for fuel economy.

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