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

Minivan of the Year - 2005 Chrysler Town&Country  with Stow n' Go
Sometimes things just seem to fall into place -- like those wonderful lifestage vehicles, the minivans. They smooth life's bumps and bruises, make our daily treks less taxing, and keep on getting better in the process. We honor the traffic-tested minivan for such virtues. Few others can make such a time-honored claim. Put to the ultimate test for usability, year after year, they simply surpass all contenders hands down. Our most compatible minivan/lifestage winner is a true knockout that nails most of the competition to the floor for the full count of 10. Just open one of the doors to Chrysler's Town & Country with Stow n' Go and you see why. Second- and third-row seats fold into the floor in seconds, with no need to grapple with leftovers. Instant moving van. Immediate flat-floored platform for transporting trays of delicate party hors-d' oeuvres. Name the use and the ability likely is there. With seats in place, submerged storage gobbles up loads of odds and ends.

All rear seats have recline talent; row three during flipped posture for tailgating. Dump the mid-row for instant limo. Cupholders self-store for the forgetful. This "initial caps" minivan zooms with 3.3 liter V-6 or 3.8 liter V-8 power, tons of luxury amenities and state-of-the-art safety features. We'd tell you more, but that might spoil the fun of exploration.

Honorable Mentions:

Honda Odyssey
Like its mythological Greek namesake, the Odyssey from Honda is one heck of a trip. Totally re-engineered, it adds a wealth of technology features that are firsts or rare for minivans. Advanced engine management, Satellite nav system with voice recognition, rearview safety cameras, and room for eight are some of them. DVDs get personalized surround sound. A "One-Motion" third row seat flips out of the way as it sounds. A gutsier 255 hp VTEC V-6 boosts performance, but remains stingy with fuel and emissions. For hiding things, a lazy Susan console is hidden under the floor.

Chevy Uplander
In its third trip to the minivan plate, Chevy has hit a comfortable, smack-down-the-center homerun. The new Uplander, labeled a front drive-based sport van, comes on the secne with a solid stance, trendy lines and practical roofrails while necessities (traditional sliding side doors, seating for seven) carry over. Satellite entertainment and security are among high tech adds on the road. Truly invisible rear cargo hideaways keep prying eyes from spotting stored treasures, whatever the value.

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