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

Car of the Year - 2006 Dodge Charger
In its quest for the perfect auto, ROAD & TRAVEL Magazine has set the highest measure, giving honors every year to those that surpass ordinary and excell with a sense of passion, of thrilling performance, of stunning good looks. Most have borne familiar nameplates, adding yet another jewel to a superior and recognizable heritage. But while there are many automotive legends, there are fewer such legends that are reborn. At times when we honor the timelessness, the rarity, the remembered thrill of power and performance, we trust that at some time the same sense of automotive wonder that has vanished will surface again.

Such a reborn legend is our 10th annual International Car of the Year winner, the thundering dominator Dodge Charger. Charger once roared through American streets with a brazen authority, one of the few, true muscle cars that captured imaginations nearly half a century ago. With its return as the 2006 ICOTY winner, it's a clear-eyed predator with powerful rear-drive haunches prepared to pounce into action at the touch of a throttle. This is attitude with a capital "A."

Make no mistake. This isn't your '60s Charger in new digs. It's a totally redesigned masterpiece with amazing technology, blazing performance, an unexpected amount of people room inside, and a surprisingly functional character with four doors disguised as a coupe. One engine option is a 250-horsepower, high-output V-6. But what would a true legend be without the most outrageous thunder pumping its treads. That would be the knockout 340-horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine. And, of course Charger's got a HEMI!

Honorable Mentions:

Pontiac Solstice
Honors attach themselves with magnetic attraction to Pontiac's sexy Solstice sports car that cruises with road ruling mobility
and flexes with precise agility. Its sleek shape, sultry lines and
precisely poised name exude confidence, driven by 2.4-liter Ecotec power under short-throw, five-speed command. Its life blood is carving around hairpin curves and down long-loping stretches of roadway, under soft top or windblown freedom. Regal manners and an untamed heart are its driving force, a mobile sculpture its soul.

BMW 3 Series sport sedan
BMW's 3 Series speeds into its fifth lifetime as a newly-refined,
Bavarian sports sedan with a core of driver's precision. We could honor this vehicle simply for its power-packed performance and daunting amount of digitized goodies that have boosted its road-mastering overrides, like intelligent cruise or active steering that cure road ailments without driver interference. But we can't ignore the rest of the package that blends bold looks, more welcome breathing room inside, and a bounty of well-earned bragging right tweaks.

Most Sex Appeal/Sports Car
Pontiac Solstice

Most Spirited/Entry-Level
Audi A3

Most Compatible/Minivan
Honda Odyssey

Most Versatile/Crossover
Dodge Magnum SRT 8
Most Respected/Luxury Car
Mercedes-Benz CLS500

Most Resourceful/SUV
Ford Explorer / Range Rover Sport

2006 ICOTY Awards Links