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Leftlane's Lucky 7: Detroit show award winners

Leftlane's editorial team has selected our "Lucky 7" award winners from the North American Auto Show in Detroit.



After some intense discussions followed up by a rigorous voting process at some of Detroit's finest bars, the Leftlane editorial team has selected our "Lucky 7" award winners from the 2011 North American International Auto Show.

It wasn't easy to whittle away some of the exciting reveals earlier this week at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit, but we've done our best to pick winners for our seven award categories.

Most exciting: Hyundai Veloster
In this era of newfound austerity, we chose the practical option as our favorite way to get our jollies on four wheels. The long-awaited Veloster combines coupe style with practicality at a low price, but it doesn't scrimp on fun. Hyundai promises a balanced chassis ready to entertain on your favorite curvy road.

Watch out Honda CR-Z. The Veloster makes hybrid sports cars seem like a bad idea.

Check out a video here.

Most Surprising: Chevrolet Sonic
Since Chevrolet's last effort at a subcompact was the butt of its own jokes, it doesn't take much to improve things in our eyes. But the Chevrolet Sonic manages to combine impressive style with a high-class interior and a powertrain that works pretty darn well in the larger and heavier Chevrolet Cruze.

Watch out Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta. The Sonic might not be quite as spunky, but it sure looks and feels grown up.

Check out a video here.

Most disappointing: Buick Verano/Volkswagen Passat (tie)
It wasn't just the excruciatingly long press day that had us yawning earlier this week in Detroit. Buick and Volkswagen both hyped up a pair of sedans that turned out to be perhaps even duller than we anticipated. The Verano would have been a great Saturn, but seems to make a strange Buick, while the Passat wound up the mega-Jetta we feared.

Watch out Lexus IS 250. The Verano's angry eyes are mad at you! But you might really need to watch out, Toyota Camry: The Passat is conservative enough to excite middle America.

Check out videos here and here.

Most important concept car: Kia KV7
The Koreans haven't really tackled the people-mover segment, but the boldly-styled KV7 shows promise. If Kia can work out a balance between family-friendly features and unique style, this could be the new car for suburban households.

Watch out Kia Sedona - your days are numbered.

Check out a video here.

Car we most want in our driveway: Audi A6
Audi looks to have finally gotten the formula right for its midsizer, a crucial segment it needs to master before it can topple BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The A6 is finally a toned-down A8 instead of an upsized A4 and it brings with it a more aggressive, R8-derived style.

Watch out Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which was Mercedes' best-seller in the U.S. last year.

Check out a video here.

Car we least want in our driveway: Toyota Prius v
Toyota's brilliant decision to expand its Prius lineup into a sub-brand will undoubtedly pay off, but the only way the basic Prius five-door hatchback could be any duller is by making it into a pseudo-MPV simply called the Prius v. And that's just what Toyota did. It offers mediocre fuel economy, questionable styling and, unlike rivals from Ford and Mazda, it only has two rows of seats.

Watch out Ford and Mazda. Toyota could slap the Prius badge on a hamburger and McDonald's would probably go out of business. This could be a huge hit.

Check out a video here.

Best in Show: Chevrolet Sonic
We drooled over the Porsche 918 RSR and we could barely keep our hands off of the BMW 1 Series M, but let's face it: The Sonic reinvents the subcompact car segment that we thought Ford and Mazda were in the process of dominating. A turbo four with a six-speed stick, a chassis tuned by the Corvette team and an interior with show car-style goodies make the Aveo but a distant, unpleasant memory.

The Sonic isn't perfect - its dorky name might cost it some sales - but it shows that General Motors finally cares about its entry-level offering, a segment that can and should be a stepping stone into the rest of the automaker's lineup.

Bring on Chicago! The next show of the season is less than a month away on February 9.