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2012 Toyota Camry Named International Sedan of the Year
- Most Dependable -
by Road & Travel Magazine
2012 Toyota Camry Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
Solid and safe. Smooth and dependable. For years, Toyota's Camry has stroked those family sedan needs with loyal, uncompromising predictability. So what's changed? For starters, like the few-days-old year of 2012, a 2012 Toyota Camry has been born as a new, seventh generation model. And like some previously highly-acclaimed versions, it again has won the hearts and minds of reviewers. For 2012, it won top honors as the 2012 International Sedan of the Year (ICOTY) for Most Dependable. Not bad for a re-born, right?
The 2012 Toyota Camry is indeed most dependable. And we love the safety and reliability it exudes, which is the reason it won in its category. According to ICOTY founder Courtney Caldwell (and publisher of Road & Travel Magazine), winning 2012 Toyota Camry Wins International Sedan of the Year - Road & Travel Magazine the honor of most dependable vehicle of the year is one of the most important as it lets consumers know in a word that this is a vehicle they can trust and rely upon to get their loved ones to their destinations safety. After all, the purpose of the ICOTY awards is to honor the qualities of new vehicles that best reflect our emotional needs at a specific time in our lives and lifestyles. Full Story
2012 Audi A7 Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
Automotive prestige sometimes comes in surprising packages. A slim, coupe line that hides the reality this is really a sedan. The ability to change one's underlying driving experience with chameleon-like ease. A glaring set of unmistakably identifiable headlamp eyes that announce, in one's rear view mirror day or night, it's best to pull aside and let a "real" car go by. Put those together in the new Audi A7 along with a wealth of its other talents, and the result should be predictable. How could any other vehicle have earned top honors as International Car of the Year for 2012? It couldn't. And didn't.
The ICOTY honors, awarded each year to the most appealing auto on the planet, are sought out for their ability to identify that soul factor in vehicles that goes beyond the stuff of mechanicals and into the realm of desire. We're sure you know the synonyms: Being smitten, love at first sight, the kind of passion one would eagerly do penance for -- all those adjectives that make us glom onto something we idolize while remaining oblivious to what else is around.
Courtney Caldwell, who founded the International Car of the Year Awards (ICOTY) that honor the passion, presence and emotional punch that new vehicles can bring couldn't agree more. As the awards' executive producer and Road & Travel Magazine Publisher, she knows how such an emotional connection can win an unmatched sense of loyalty from consumers that few products can claim.
"The ICOTY Awards are not about power and performance, but rather about personality, passion and personal lifestyle," said Caldwell. "People develop a real emotional connection to their car for any number of reasons some of whom even consider it a member of their family," she muses.
Bridgestone, longtime lead sponsor and supporter of the ICOTY Awards, recognizes the consumer-product relationship as critical to vehicle success.
“Bridgestone is proud to support the ICOTY awards, and applauds the efforts of Audi that like our company demonstrates a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized in the 2012 International Car of the Year Awards, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.” Full story
Range Rover Evoque Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
Dwayne Duff said it best when he first got up close and personal with the 2012 Range Rover Evoque a few weeks ago. "Wow!" pretty much said it all. After examining the sweeping lines, the aggressive face, the black and red leather interior and handsome gauges, the Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan resident was well on the way to a decision. When he turns in his leased Cadillac SRX crossover next year, he'll be ready for Land Rover's dramatic new baby sport utility vehicle.
Duff's response to a first look at the Evoque in person, after scouring the internet for photos, wasn't unusual. As Road & Travel Magazine testers drove it around, we found it brought thumbs up gestures of approval, wide grins, women abandoning their shopping carts to get a closer look and even hoots of excitement. The Evoque isn't just another of those cookie cutter crossover vehicles. It's just smack down galvanizing.
If fact the impact of this feisty newcomer is such an undeniable "gotcha" that a dozen ICOTY jurors found it so irresistible they named it Road & Travel Magazine's "International Truck of the Year" for 2012. And Kim McCullough, who is Brand Vice President of Land Rover, understands why people can't resist this all new small SUV that launches from Land Rover's traditional enthusiast base. "The breakthrough design and confident handling are undeniable and have led to a new generation of modern-day Land Rover enthusiasts," said McCullough, adding the coveted award is "a great way for the Land Rover brand to start off the New Year."
Courtney Caldwell, who founded the International Car of the Year Awards (ICOTY) that honor the passion, presence and emotional punch that new vehicles can bring couldn't agree more. As the awards' executive producer and Road & Travel Magazine Publisher, she knows how such an emotional connection can win an unmatched sense of loyalty from consumers that few products can claim. Full Story
Ford Motor Company Receives
5th Annual EARTH ANGEL AWARD
as Most Earth Friendy Automaker
by Martha Hindes
Going green has become a way of life at Ford Motor Company. From company President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally to those who tend to company property and grounds, protecting the environment is a primary responsibility on a daily basis.
Those familiar with buildings near company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan can see some of that commitment first hand, where fields of air purifying flowers bloom during summer months and a nearby production facility wears a "green" roof of plants to help purify and recycle runoff water used there.
Ford was one of the earliest companies to recognize the need for an environmentally sustainable way of doing business and to begin that transformation to achieve it. That commitment has become reflected in every Ford facility, in the materials used in production and in the atmosphere it encourages throughout the company.
In the 12th annual Ford Sustainability Report Ford put out last June, it cited progress in improving fuel economy and safety and a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and water use among its sustainable operations.
"Since 2000, our manufacturing facilities worldwide have reduced overall energy use by 40 percent, decreased CO2 emissions by 49 percent and cut water use by 62 percent," said Mulally in presenting the report. Full story.
by Martha Hindes
With hybrid and electric autos taking the share of attention in America these days, is there room for a rebel with a cause? What about a family-sized sedan that takes a different direction from the crowd and plants its reputation solidly on the least popular auto technology, but one of the most promising to come down the interstate in a long time? What if it offered more interior room for five, at less or comparable cost, with higher mileage than its competitors down the block. That might sound like the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI turbo diesel.
After a year on the sidelines, the front-drive Passat is making reappearance on the national scene for 2012 with a number of changes. A noticeable transition is its switch from more limited near-luxury level status to a mainstream, competitive cost, made-in-the U.S. participant. This isn't your mother's Passat of yesterday with a hint of snob appeal and exclusivity. This newest offering is meant more for the masses. And if Volkswagen got it right, not only will it put more Passats on the road but will help to bring diesel autos to the forefront.
Diesel technology has been more rare in America than in other countries for a number of reasons. A major one is the thankfully faded memory of earlier diesel auto tailpipes that belched thick smoke while their engines grunted with the effort of climbing almost any hill. About five years ago industry regulators got serious and began phasing in mandated Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel with more stringent emissions standards that included scrubbing away those annoying bits of grit diesels used to leave behind. Companies like VW, mostly the European brands, responded by bringing in engines that run clean and lean, while generally gaining higher mileage than their gas-fueled counterparts.
While that might seem like a pretty strong claim, let’s compare some results. The often heavily tax incentivized hybrid cars that mate gasoline engines with battery-powered electric motors have reached the 40 mpg mark and in a few cases more, after years of costly development and continuing market hype. Electric only autos coming on scene require a place to plug in. But the TDI (for turbo diesel injected) version of Passat rips off a cool 31/43 miles to the gallon of diesel fuel with manual transmission, or a no-slouch 30/40 with automatic, all riding on a 2.0-liter, 140-horsepower inline four. The Selective Catalytic Reduction System ensures this earth friendly clean diesel vehicle meets the emissions requirements of all 50 states.
Those are some of the reasons the Earth, Wind & Power award's jurors chose the Volkswagen Passat TDI as the 2012 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year for Most Earth Friendly.
According to Courtney Caldwell, founder and director of the awards and publisher of Earth, Wind & Power Magazine, the award determined by a field of longtime, well-known auto journalists goes to the production vehicle that contributes most to eliminating pollution and protecting the environment while providing the most exciting, pleasurable and useful driving experience around.
“The 2012 VW Passat TDI beat out its competition by a landslide,” said Caldwell. "The vehicle not only is fuel efficient and eco-friendly, but its styling, performance, power and pricing leaves one feeling like they’re driving a high performance vehicle with no tell tale signs of lag or noise that other diesel engine vehicles tend to still leave behind." [Full story]