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2005 9th Annual International Car of the Year Awards
by Martha Hindes

Luxury Car of the Year - Jaguar XJ LWBSportscar of the Year - Chevrolet CorvetteSUV of the Year - Land Rover LR3Crossover/Sport Wagon of the Year - Dodge Magnum

2005 International Car of the Year Awards & Winners
by Martha Hindes

For those living on the edge of new car excitement, 2005 became a very good year. An explosion of technology, of tantalizing design and multifaceted purpose met every seeming taste and need. The code word for admission into the vehicle ranks was "variety," as everything from punchy little mini cars and multipurpose crossbreeds competed for road turf with hulking heavyweights.

ROAD & TRAVEL Magazine watched the procession of new auto and truck models grow more versatile and lively year after year, as nine varieties went head-to-head for top bragging rights. In its annual quest for the very best, RTM honored those that rose above the pack for their ability to capture the essence of purpose, style and performance. Since it all began, dozens of vehicles have won the magazine's coveted honors decided by a panel of distinguished automotive and lifestyle journalists. A few of those models rose to the pinnacle of praise.

Vehicles designed for 2005 continued the trend, as RTM launched its 9th consecutive awards search amid a packed Detroit Marriott Renaissance Hotel ballroom of potential victors. There were so many in fact, the winners' circle was expanded and, for the first time, judges not only chose an International Car of the Year, but added a first-ever honoree as International Truck of the Year.

Those who crafted the tantalizing advertisements that smacked us to attention and tugged at our sensibilities weren't overlooked for 2005. Presentation won a niche of its own in an entirely new category, the HEART STRING Award for the most-compelling car commercial. The first award winner: Ford Mustang's "Cornfield" TV spot created by J. Walter Thompson superimposed with legendary actor Steve McQueen. And, again, accomplishment was honored as RTM handed out its second auto industry Lifetime Achievement Award in two years. Honored for 2005 was Forbes Magazines' Jerry Flint, renowned major-domo of American auto journalists for decades.

The presentations for 2005 were made under the sparkling lights and musical rush of a black-tie gala, sometimes referred to as the "Academy Awards of Detroit," that again kicked off the annual North American International Auto Show. The show, held every January at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Hotel, has become the premiere stage among the select group of the world's top vehicle expositions and draws more international industry celebrities and media attention than any other.

As round after round of applause filled the ballroom and beaming participants gripped hands in congratulations, RTM's annual awards were handed out breaking the built-up suspense. Winning as International Car of the Year was the Chrysler 300C sedan. Honorable mentions went to the Cadillac STS and Ford Mustang. GM's Hummer H2 SUT took the first-ever International Truck of the Year honors, with the Land Rover LR3 and Nissan Pathfinder receiving honorable mentions.

Winners among respective categories: Luxury Car - Most Respected, Jaguar XJ LWB; Crossover/Wagon - Most Versatile, Dodge Magnum; Sedan - Most Dependable, Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sedan; Minivan/Life Stage - Most Compatible, Chrysler Town & Country with Stow n' Go; Sports Car - Most Sex Appeal, Chevy Corvette; Pickup Truck - Most Athletic, Ford F-Series Super Duty 4X4; SUV - Most Resourceful, Land Rover LR3; and Entry-Level - Most Spirited, MINI Cooper Convertible.

Attending the awards celebration, filmed for a one-hour CBS Detroit television special to air January 14-16, was a star-studded list of civic and political leaders and top movers and shakers from inside and outside the industry. They added a high-profile aura to the vehicle stars of the show.

VIPs included U.S. Congressman John D. Dingell; Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick; Detroit's Chief of Police, Ella M. Bully-Cummings; Kunio Ishigami, Chairman, President & CEO of Subaru of America; Kathleen Ligocki, CEO of Tower Automotive; Irma Elder, CEO of Elder Automotive Group; Nick Scheele, President of Ford Motor Company; Tom LaSorda, COO of DaimlerChrysler Corporation; Tom Shaver, Partner of J.D. Power & Associates and recording artist and radio personality, Alexander Zonjic.

Sponsorship for the gala awards ceremony read like a "Who's Who" in the world of motion, action and prestige. Supporting the 9th annual event were Shell Oil Products US, Bridgestone/Firestone NA Tire, Dolby Laboratories, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center Hotel, Hyundai Motor America, OnStar, American Honda Motor Company, BMW NA, Bose Corporation, DaimlerChrylser Corporation, GMAC Financial Services, Nissan North America, U-Haul International, Google, Tower Automotive, and ArvinMeritor, Inc. This year's media sponsor was MSN Autos, which provides post-event coverage with its post-event shows.

Jury members for 2005 include: Denise McCluggage, columnist and senior-contributing editor for Auto Week; Ken Gross, contributing editor for Robb Report; Ann Job, new car test driver for the Associated Press and MSN Autos; Warren Brown, auto editor, Washington Post; BJ Killeen, president of Motor Mouth Productions; John McElroy, host of Autoline Detroit; Kathy Jackson, reporter for Automotive News; Alex Law, contributing editor, Car & Driver; Cheryl Jensen, automotive contributor to The New York Times and Chicago Tribune; Bob Plunkett, syndicated automotive columnist; Perry Stern, editor for MSN Autos and RTM editor-in-chief, Courtney Caldwell.

To ensure the utmost credibility and validity of each win J.D. Power and Associates officially tabulated all 2005 ICOTY votes.

Now, with the secrets finally out, we invite you to read on and share the excitement of this year's ICOTY winners.

Sedan of the Year - Subaru Legacy 2.5iEntry Level Car of the Year - MINI COOPER ConvertiblePickup Truck of the Year - Ford F-Series F250 SuperdutyMinivan of the Year - Chrysler Town & Country With Stow n' Go
Car of the Year
Chrysler 300C

Truck of the Year
Hummer H2 SUT

Most Sex Appeal/Sports Car
Chevy Corvette

Most Spirited/Entry-Level
MINI Cooper Convertible

Most Compatible/Minivan
Chrysler Town & Country

Most Versatile/Crossover
Dodge Magnum
Most Respected/Luxury Car
Jaguar XJ LWB
Most Athletic/Pickup Truck
Ford F-250 Superduty

Most Resourceful/SUV
Land Rover LR3

2005 ICOTY Awards Links