The North American Car and Truck of the Year organization (NACTOY) has rolled out its list of semifinalists for the 2013 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards, which is comprised of new or recently redesigned cars, trucks and SUVs. While driving a car that wins Car of the Year isn’t exactly like winning a Grammy, the evaluation process should help consumers who are shopping for a new car. CNN Money points out that judges “drive and evaluate cars for factors like innovation, handling, performance, safety, and value for dollar.”

Autoblog writes that the list of semifinalists isn’t too surprising. Redesigned affordable midsize cars make up a decent chunk of the semifinalists, as the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima have all made the cut. The BMW 3-Series, Cadillac ATS, Dodge Dart, Lincoln MKZ, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Toyota Avalon have also made their way onto the short list.

Nominees for the Truck/Utility of the Year are comprised of a number of small crossovers, including the Acura RDX, BMW X1, Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5. Midsize SUVs include the Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti JX35, while wagon entries include the Audi Allroad and Ford C-Max. The Ram 1500 is the only truck to make the cut for the 2013 NACTOY awards.

The Hyundai Elantra currently presides as the 2012 Car of the Year, while the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque took the top spot among trucks and SUVs. NACTOY will announce its 2013 winners at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The award also affects how the winning vehicles perform in our rankings.

While NACTOY awards recognize a car and truck that have raised the bar in their classes each year, last year’s winners (Elantra and Evoque) may not make sense for every new car shopper. Our Best Car for the Money Awards run down every class of car, and our award winners represent vehicles that have the best combination of praise from car reviewers, lower upfront costs and lower long-term ownership costs than their competition.

If you’re looking for a family-focused vehicle, our Best Cars for Families Awards highlight cars, minivans and SUVs that provide the best combination of features, utility, safety and reliability for families.

Shopping for an award-winning new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. You can also find the best local prices in the area by using our Best Price Program. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.