The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is a finalist for the 2015 North American Truck/Utility of the Year award. (U.S. News and World Report)

The 2015 North American International Auto Show is next month, and finalists for the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards have been named. Candidates for the 2015 North American Car of the Year award include the 2015 Ford Mustang, 2015 Hyundai Genesis and 2015 Volkswagen Golf. The three vehicles up for the 2015 North American Truck/Utility of the Year include the 2015 Lincoln MKC, 2015 Ford F-150 and 2015 Chevrolet Colorado.

The winner of each category will be announced Jan. 12, 2015 at the Detroit Auto Show. A panel of 57 automotive journalists votes on the awards.

The Detroit Free Press reports, "The vehicles that are selected as finalists are viewed as benchmarks in their segments based on factors including innovation, comfort, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar."

That sentiment is reflected in our own rankings, as all of this year's finalists perform very well in their respective class. The Golf, Mustang, F-150 and Colorado all currently hold the top position in their class. The MKC is ranked third in our luxury compact SUV rankings and the Genesis is our second-ranked upscale midsize sedan.

Last year's winners of the North American Car and Truck/Utility awards were the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

We take awards such as the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year into account in our rankings. The finalists and winners have points added to their Critics’ Recommendation score, with the winners earning more points than the finalists. That Critics’ Recommendation score is then combined with the car’s interior, performance, safety and reliability scores in a weighted average to get a final score for our rankings. When the award winners are announced, we'll update our scores, so check back next month.

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