Car show season and time to pick the best vehicles of the year is upon us again, and in the midst of the rush, a select handful of automotive journalists--including our own Executive Editor Marty Padgett--are somehow supposed to find the time to meditate on the essential greatness of every vehicle on the 2010 North American Car of the Year list. That job just got a little easier today, as the panel narrowed the candidates down to just 15 cars and 10 trucks.

Perhaps as interesting as the cars that did make the list below are the cars that didn't make it past the nominee stage. Few of these cars would be kicked out of any garage.

But the list of cars and trucks that did make it reads like a "who's who" of the industry in 2010. Notable for appearing
three times on the list for the Fusion and its hybrid version, the Taurus and the Transit Connect is Ford, the one U.S. carmaker that didn't plumb the depths of bankruptcy this year.

Among the more luxury-oriented carmakers, Cadillac is in a strong position with the CTS and SRX both on the short list. After that, no other luxury carmaker managed to put more than one vehicle on the list.

Stay tuned for the latest developments as they happen, and jump in with your own ideas on which car or truck should take the title for 2010. Go to and post your choice and you could win fun car swag including t-shirts, books, hats and more.

Cars that didn't make the cut:

  • Audi S4
  • BMW Z4
  • BMW 5-series GT
  • Ford Mustang/GT500
  • Hyundai Genesis Coupe
  • Hyundai Elantra Touring
  • Jaguar XFR
  • Kia Forte
  • Lexus HS 250h
  • Lexus IS 250/350 C
  • Nissan Cube
  • Nissan 370Z

Trucks that didn't make the cut:

  • BMW X5 xDrive35d
  • Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid
  • GMC Terrain
  • GMC Sierra Hybrid
  • Lexus RX350/450h
  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Volkswagen Touareg V-6 TDI

The 2010 North American Car of the Year Short List:

  • BMW 335d
  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Cadillac CTS
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Ford Fusion/Fusion Hybrid
  • Ford Taurus
  • Honda Insight
  • Kia Soul
  • Mazda3/MazdaSpeed3
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Porsche Panamera
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Suzuki Kizashi
  • Toyota Prius
  • Volkswagen Golf/GTI

The 2010 North American Truck of the Year Short List:

  • Acura ZDX
  • Audi Q5
  • Cadillac SRX
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Ford Transit Connect
  • Honda Crosstour
  • Land Rover LR4
  • Lincoln MKT
  • Subaru Outback
  • Volvo XC60