Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Views & Videos
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory
Bookmark and Share
2006 ICOTY Vehicle Nominees
by Martha Hindes

Pickup of the Year - 2006 Honda Ridgeline
Perhaps some purists won't understand this, but there are people who really do want a pickup truck that handles with the finesse of a car. The unusual construction and design of Honda's Ridgeline, paired with creature comforts, means a ride as close to a car as a pickup's likely to have. That unique combination of identity Yin and Yang put the Ridgeline in the spotlight as winner of ICOTY's Class of 2006's Pickup Truck - Most Athletic category. In the face of more traditionally designed competitors, it was an award well earned.

Ridgeline's styling doesn't give it an average pickup profile. The side panel of the pickup bed flows forward and up, echoing a profile more akin to a sedan. That's not

a surprise since Honda has broken the mold on some vehicle shapes in the past. Crease lines indented around the wheel wells give a rounder, less trucky feel, despite its underlying tow-worthy strength. Most trucks, expecting some workhorse duty, ride on rigid, ladder-shaped frames. Not so the 247-HP, V-6 powered Ridgeline, built with auto-type unitized construction.

While others have had side panel or fender lock boxes, Ridgeline claims a first with its locking, under-truck bed trunk. No need to add an aftermarket bin. (Imagine driving with three golf bags secured beneath a load of weekend project paneling.) A tailgate drops or opens sideways depending on need. Maybe Ridgeline reinvented the pickup as a new, more flexible category.

Honorable Mentions:

Dodge Ram SRT10
For a ride on the wild side, try the Dodge Ram SRT10. This half-ton of fun wins honors for brute authority and enough raucous speed to blow the doors off any pickup competitor. Rear spoiler and hood scoop ride high above Viper's adapted monster 8.3-liter, 500-horsepower V-10 engine thundering under the hood. Dodge's trademark "semi" face glares down any lesser vehicle in front. With visions of drag strip launch lights flashing between convoys to tracks, we get it, we get it. Countdown anyone?

Mitsubishi Raider
Webster's calls "raider" something that makes an unexpected attack. We call "Raider" a sneaky way of grabbing one's attention when it comes in the form of Mitsubishi's new, mid-size pickup truck. This self-described most power-packed import brand claims a muscle-bound V-6 or V-8 presence with lots of near-lux stuff for a lesser price, and variations for a truck load of tastes. In stick, automatic, multi-door dimensions and long and short bodied versions, we call it a raider for all reasons.

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