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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- You may not think of it as the most exciting car in the world, but the newly redesigned Volkswagen Golf compact car has been named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year.The award is for all four available versions of the Golf. In keeping up with the latest in technology, the winner of the Motor Trend 2011 SUV of the Year will be announced on Facebook this year. If you think of this as a non-traditional way to announce a winner of a major car award, then you are not alone. MacKenzie also said that using Facebook will allow a dialog with the audience interested in the award. All-new or substantially upgraded 2015 vehicles were eligible for the 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award, which saw 23 contending autos narrowed down to just 10 finalists. Like the automotive industry itself, Motor Trend’s Of the Year program has evolved to reflect the changing transportation landscape. 1949In 1949, we named Cadillac our Car of the Year, but in reference to the whole line, not one specific model.The initial mention of a Car of the Year in the November 1949 issue wasn’t an award.
1951Two years later, Motor Trend ran a three-page article honoring the ’51 Chrysler Division for its engineering excellence. 1958Two years passed before the term “Car of the Year” was again associated with the Motor Trend Award.
1966The very first front-wheel-drive car to win the Motor Trend Award and a suitably googie-futurist-styled trophy was the groundbreaking Oldsmobile Toronado. 1971Winners like the Vega often say more about the times (rising fuel and insurance prices) than the technology.The now-iconic Golden Caliper trophy was first awarded to the compact Chevrolet Vega 2300. 1976After a five-year absence, ICOY returned, recognizing the undeniable success of the Toyota Celica line of sport coupes, which then accounted for half of all Toyotas sold in the country. 1978For the first time, vans and light trucks began to outsell the top car models, especially among people with active lifestyles.
1985The first import-badged American-built car to win the Car of the Year award was Volkswagen’s second-generation GTI. 1989The ’80s also ushered in the new trend of small pickups, and we responded by reinstating the Truck of the Year award. 1999Ever-vigilant to recognize a dramatic shift in the automotive landscape, we saw the Lexus RX 300 pointing the way for literally millions of vehicles to come. 2010This year we doubled the criteria from three (superiority, significance, value) to our current six.
This most coveted trophy in the automobile industry was presented to General Motors for the Cadillac CTS, a model first introduced by the company in 2002.

That includes the sporty Golf GTI, the diesel-powered Golf TDI, the electric-powered e-Golf and the basic Golf 1.8T. In addition to the VW Golf, the other finalists included the Audi A3, BMW 2 Series, Ford Mustang, Honda Fit, Hyundai Genesis, Kia Sedona, Lexus RC, Maserati Ghibli, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. VW plans to introduce a muscular 292 hp, all-wheel-drive Golf R and the Golf SportWagen range early next year. So, too, has the trophy, from a mere mention in an article to a medallion to a plaque to an extruded aluminum rod and finally to the familiar Golden Calipers.We’ve handed out 65 official Car of the Year awards alone. Rather, it was the headline of an article by the renowned John Bond in recognition of the ’49 Cadillac and its then-innovative overhead-valve V-8 in favor of L-head V-8s of the time, which used side valves. The award, which relied mostly on empirical overall engine performance, was called the Motor Trend Engineering Achievement Award. This time, the fully redesigned ’58 Ford Thunderbird and its combination of “safety, performance, comfort, and compactness” were recognized. It featured a rear-mounted, air-cooled, aluminum flat-six engine and transaxle, plus four-wheel independent suspension. It featured a silver sphere atop a gold-anodized, extruded-aluminum shaft topped with a calipers-esque drafting compass. The advantages of more interior room, no drivetrain hump, improved traction on slippery surfaces, and the unusual capability to lay rubber with the front tires were covered exhaustively in the 23-page feature story.1967 -->We abandoned the Motor Trend Award in favor of the Car of the Year award due to its widespread recognition by the industry and the motoring public. Rising gasoline and insurance costs and increased tax and unemployment rates meant that “zeroing in on the mini-cars was inevitable at this time in America.” The editors decided that a model’s market significance should play as big a role in deciding the award as engineering or performance once did. This seventh-generation version of the compact car is lighter and more fuel-efficient but still larger than previous Volkswagen Golfs. Heck, the auto magazine has been keeping us informed on the latest in auto technology since it was founded in 1949. Then, a week later, Green Car Reports bestowed their Best Car to Buy title upon the rest of the Golf family. Each finalist was then subjected to extensive test driving and evaluated based on the following six criteria: design advancement, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and performance of intended function. Since the seed was planted in 1949, we added Truck of the Year in 1978, and SUV of the Year in 1999, incidentally coinciding with our 50th anniversary. This marked the first trophy, this one a medallion embossed with the 1951 model year, an image of a Chrysler, and the first appearance of calipers, indicating precision engineering. Resembling a modern paper towel holder, it was intended as “a reward to manufacturers with the courage, foresight, and ability to set new precedents within the industry.” The Buick Special, powered by America’s first mass-produced V-6 engine, took home the gold.

To commemorate the occasion, we introduced a new trophy featuring the now-famous Golden Calipers atop a sturdy base. The fledgling ICOY award was put on hiatus after just one year, and both domestic and import brands competed side-by-side. Setting a new standard for ride quality and drivability while retaining all the utility and all-weather capability most SUV buyers would ever need, the RX 300 was the one that put SUVs in a separate category from trucks. Ah, hmmm.2016For the first time in the history of the storied Of the Year awards, we decided to announce Car of the Year, SUV of the Year, and Truck of the Year awards together at a special celebration on November 16, 2015. Trophy design displays an engineering icon: the exterior caliper, standing upright on an automobile gear. And then this morning, the prestigious 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award was presented to VW of America CEO Michael Horn, in recognition of all four Golf models – the fun-to-drive Golf 1.8T, the fuel-efficient Golf TDI Clean Diesel, the sporty Golf GTI, and the zero-emissions electric e-Golf. The Mercury Cougar, which gave Ford’s ponycar buyers a roomier, more upscale, and more luxurious option, won in 1967.1970The mid-engine Porsche 914 earned our inaugural Import Car of the Year (ICOY) award.
We also added a fourth award to the mix, Person of the Year, to highlight the achievements of the man or woman who tops our Power List. We noted that it developed 160 hp “stripped, or 133 bhp as installed” with all accessories such as an alternator and air-conditioning compressor. Dubbed “the first modern sports car for the masses,” it marked the upswing of imports and design influences from overseas. To mark these changes and the special occasion, we redesigned the trophy by adding more height and golden glimmer to the pedestal upon which the calipers sit.
And with the web being perhaps the largest source of news than any other media, where better then to make the announcement than on a social networking site like Facebook. Also, the body had the "some of the sharpest sheet metal creases in the industry and some insanely tight panel gaps," he said.Volkswagen's engineering prowess is also displayed in the Golf's wide array of available engine and transmission options. Besides those already on the market here, the 292-horsepower, all-wheel-drive Golf R and the Golf SportWagen models will be available early next year, the magazine said."The Golf is studied by all the auto industry," Loh said. Prices for the Golf start at about $18,000.To capture the top prize, the Golf beat out 23 other completely new or substantially redesigned models considered by the magazine.

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