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

Truck of the Year - 2005 HUMMER H2 SUT
For years, ROAD & TRAVEL Magazine's top award has been for best car of the year. But vehicle buyers have convinced manufacturers -- and us -- that autos are only half of the picture. For the first time in 2005, we are adding an entirely new award category to reflect the continuing expansion of vehicle choices.

The truck we chose as best of the best had to excel in many ways. It had to be solid and invincible, and capable of true truck duty that meant sloughing down in the mud with the rest. It had to be worthy as a car substitute, with a luxurious, feature-laden interior one could enjoy while forgetting the workhorse base of its home. And above all, it had to be just plain fun, for no other reason than pure enjoyment and passion is such a primary part of getting behind the wheel.

Our first-ever truck winner, the Hummer H2 SUT (for Sport Utility Truck) has loads of all those credentials. While it's not quite as big as its H2 brother, it is loaded with fun surprises, like the short but usable, lockable truck bed with retractable midgate divider and overhanging spare tire in back. Inside are flipdown rear seats and handsome leather trim, plus high tech features including a touch screen nav system. While it towers over the world, especially with roof rails attached, getting inside is easy with bright metal running boards. The looks of awe it gets from those nearby is virtually priceless.

On the road, it handles with surprising agility, its large steering wheel easy to turn and maneuver, the monster Vortec 6.0 liter V-8 obeying so effortlessly, you could forget you're driving a truck. But the 325 HP and 365 lb.ft. of torque is there when you need it. Should you think such a capable vehicle would be overly serious, just take a look at its powerful face. The round headlamps and vertical bar grille almost give the appearance of a self-satisfied grin.

Honorable Mentions:

Land Rover LR3
The prowess of Land Rover's new LR3 promises to deliver international fame as it functions in nearly impossible situations around the world. In a redesign to replace the Discovery, it hasn't lost its robust foundation, just added the creature comforts and performance boost to keep its capability tops in every way. As winner of our most resourceful SUV, it brings a survivor's tenacity to the spotlight in its place as a contender for Truck of the Year.

Nissan Pathfinder
There are serious changes in the redesign of the Pathfinder. While a longtime staple of Nissan's truck portfolio, only now is it getting the necessary attention to return it a prime spot in American driveways with design cues and amenities from the larger, newer Armada. Bigger and bolder, it has power to excel from Nissan's top-line 4.0 liter, 270 horsepower, 291 lb.-ft of torque V6. And its true truck foundation means there's no need to expect restrictions on where it can travel. We see lots of adventure ahead.

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