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The NCAA has its Final Four, the NACTOY has its Final Three.

The process of picking three nominees for North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year began this week as the NACTOY jury winnowed the list of 44 eligible 2017 models to 29 “semifinalists” in three categories: car, truck and utility vehicle. For the first time in the 23-year history of the awards, utility vehicles get their own category in recognition of the dominant place that car-based crossovers and SUVs now hold in the marketplace.

General Motors Co. leads the list of nominees with seven vehicles, including the Chevrolet Bolt – the first electric vehicle under $40,000 to get over 200 miles in range. Hyundai/Kia Motor Group has the second most nominees (four), notably the Genesis G90, the badge’s first entry in the luxury market.

NACTOY is the only major automotive award judged by an independent jury of automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. Dozens of journalists (including the author of this article) will drive the vehicles and winnow the field to the Final Three candidates in early December.

The winners will be announced in January during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Taking top honors in 2016 were the Honda Civic as Car of the Year and Volvo XC90 for truck.

2017 NACTOY semifinalists

Cars

Acura NSX

Audi A4

Buick LaCrosse

Cadillac CT6

Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet Bolt

Genesis G90

Hyundai Elantra

Jaguar XE

Kia Cadenza

Lincoln Continental

Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman

Toyota Prius Prime

Volvo S90

Utility vehicles

Audi Q7

Buick Envision

Cadillac XT5

Chrysler Pacifica

GMC Acadia

Infiniti QX30

Kia Sportage

Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

Jaguar F-Pace

Mazda CX-9

Nissan Armada

Trucks

Ford F-series Super Duty pickup

Ford F-150 Raptor

Honda Ridgeline

Nissan Titan half-ton

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