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

Sedan of the Year - 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5i
Things we can truly count on sometimes can seem fewer than the fingers on one hand. Our neighbor's help when we need support from a friend. A guaranteed airplane seat when we finally have a boarding pass in hand. In the halo extension of everyday comfort zones, we simply must recall one stalwart partner as we journey on down the road. What could be more dependable than our mainstay sedan.

In keeping with the trust issue, we can't imagine a more reliant traveling companion than Subaru's fully redesigned Legacy 2.5i sedan. It's a road gobbling tourer with the guts to venture beyond where sensibility tells us we should go (off to work in the middle of a snowstorm), and the confidence to depend on it to get us back safely to square one. A tad longer than previous generations, it adds to its road-hugging, all-wheel-drive authority with a stiffer, high strength unitized body structure, more aluminum for less weight, and advanced assembly techniques that blend it into a whole.

A revised 2.5 liter 4-banger, pours out 168 horsepower, in familiar sidewise "boxer" configuration (think of sparring partners jabbing their fists at each other). Its sporty, low-forward appearance, sitting solidly on 17-inch alloy wheels -- go-anywhere attitude clearly evident -- gives new meaning to the term wedgy. Make that wedgy with an edge.

Honorable Mentions:

Chrysler 300 C
There's not a hint of modesty in Chrysler's "Great American car" designation for its new 300C sedan. Actually, we can't blame them. With buyers practically standing in line as these new, classically-inspired autos come down off the delivery trucks, it's obvious there's a lot of rear-drive performance heritage behind the interest as well. And Chrysler delivers. A powerful-looking, trendy appearance is the heart of this neo classic. A reborn and perfected legendary Hemi engine of a half-century ago, is the soul.

Honda Accord Hybrid
"Hybrid" might sound like the aftermath of celestial alien abductions. But in automotive terms, it's the mating of out-of-this-world technology advancements that delivers a dual-personality vehicle with electric motor drive and gasoline engine power. With the best of both systems, Honda's hybrid-powered Accord sedan delivers the stingy 30/37 mileage of a four-cylinder Civic compact with the performance of a gutsy 240-hp V-6. A key to its success? Electric motor assist when more power is needed, cylinder deactivation when it can lope along at speed.

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