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2003 ICOTY Awards - Sedan

Most Dependable - Infiniti G35 Sedan
2003 Infiniti G35 sedan

American Woman Road and Travel's Most Dependable Award is reserved for vehicles of the four-door sedan variety, since more families have depended on them over time than any other type of vehicle. With such popularity, the sedan market is fiercely competitive, so you know whichever fresh four-door face takes the trophy, it's got to be good. This year's winner, the Infiniti G35 near-luxury sedan, beat out such heavy-hitters as the all-new Toyota Corolla and the fresh, suddenly stylish Honda Accord (which also comes in two- and four-door bodystyles). And beating an Accord in any respect is no small feat.

Inside and out, the G35 has a tastefully restrained form vocabulary. No clutter on the exterior, with stacked headlights leading into an uncluttered fuselage that stretches along a long wheelbase all the way back to a tidy tush. Inside, the metallic-finished dashboard is fresh, contemporary and all-business, with a gauge cluster that moves up and down with the steering wheel. Ergonomics are user-friendly, while all seats are snug and well-supported (you can even order a reclining rear seat option).

Nissan's sinewy 3.5-liter (which explains the "35" in G35) V-6 produces gobs of power (265 hp), and sends it all to the rear wheels-not the front-which is good news for those of us who prefer the fair-weather charisma of rear-wheel-drive cars. Standard traction control makes snowy roads less daunting, and there is a full compliment of safety equipment, including curtain air bags, offer the kind of occupant protection that is expected on luxury sedans.

Truly, the G35 is a fantastic product: luxurious, engaging and dashingly good-looking -- in short, it's fully warranting of the Most Dependable Award on its product merits alone. And this rings only truer when price is factored in: both models start under $30,000, with top-of-the-line G35s with all option boxes checked coming in still well under $40K.

Additionally, however, it's impossible to overstate the impact the G35 will have on the once-struggling Nissan Motor Corporation (parent company of Infiniti) here in the United States. Like the underdog baseball team that came from behind to make it into the World Series, Nissan has hit home run after home run at crucial points during the last couple of years: first with the Frontier Crew Cab, then with the Altima sedan. This year came the historic 350Z sports car (another RTM winner this year). And now, with the Infiniti G35, Nissan Motor Corp. seems to have scored the fairy tale grand slam home run to win the series. The folks at Nissan should be proud. They've earned it.

Most Respected
Luxury Car of the Year
BMW 7 Series

Most Likely to Change the World
ECO- Friendly Car of the Year
Honda Civic

Most Likely to Survive Anything
SUV of the Year
Hummer H2