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Chicago—February 14, 2008—Dozens of cars have been driven, votes have been tallied and the winners of the 2008 Cars.com Lifestyle Awards have been determined: Family Car of the Year - 2008 Mazda CX-9; Work Car of the Year - 2008 Honda Accord; Play Car of the Year - 2008 BMW 335i Convertible; Eco-Friendly Car of the Year - 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Developed to recognize the vehicles that are best suited for the lifestyle needs of today's car buyers, the awards highlight the top choices from Cars.com's Lifestyle Buying Guide. This site feature helps shoppers identify the right car for them based on their personal lifestyle needs, whether they're looking to purchase a new car for a growing family, a ride for weekend fun or a set of wheels that can withstand the rigors of a long commute. The guide features expert picks from Cars.com's editors based on their unbiased experiences in dozens of test drives and their evaluation of criteria most important to shoppers in each lifestyle category. Using the guide's search tool, shoppers can also retrieve a complete list of all available new cars that meet their needs, based on their customized lifestyle criteria.
"The Lifestyle Buying Guide and the Cars.com Lifestyle Awards recognize that different consumers need different things from their cars," said Cars.com managing editor Patrick Olsen. "Our Lifestyle Buying Guide lets shoppers search for cars across categories, comparing everything from trucks and SUVs to minivans and sedans. With so many choices on today's market, and more features and options to consider, many consumers don't know whether they want an SUV, a crossover or a sedan. Cars.com is providing them with the tools they need to cross-shop the SUV against the minivan against the crossover."
About the 2008 Cars.com Lifestyle Awards Winners:
- Family Car of the Year - 2008 Mazda CX-9: Large crossovers are pushing aside minivans as the vehicle of choice for families, and Mazda's CX-9 is currently the best of the pack. Why do we like it so much? On the inside, there's an upscale cabin that continues the sporty theme started outside by the crossover's sleek shape. Meanwhile, the drivetrain features a powerful 3.7-liter V-6 and a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic that give the CX-9 a feeling of swiftness some of its brethren lack. Crossovers aren't all about looking good and going fast, though, and the CX-9 succeeds as a passenger- and cargo-carrying workhorse, too. The front bucket seats are comfortable, and the second-row bench is roomy enough for adults. A two-person third-row seat is standard, and when you have a lot of stuff to move you can fold down the second and third rows to make 100.7 cubic feet of space. If you need to move a family (and all their stuff) in style, the CX-9 is your car.
- Work Car of the Year - 2008 Honda Accord: The Work Car of the Year proves that not all work is done in pickups. The Accord came through the Commuter category as the best at handling the mind-numbing route to work, whether it's at a worksite or at a downtown office. The redesigned 2008 Accord adds a lot more interior room and a number of conveniences compared to the outgoing model, and that makes it carpool-friendly, too. There's no question commutes are getting longer and gas is getting more expensive, and the Accord delivers a comfortable ride with a 31 mpg highway rating when equipped with the standard four-cylinder engine. V-6 fans will be happy to know that moving up to the bigger engine knocks just 2 mpg off that figure, to 29 mpg highway.
- Play Car of the Year - 2008 BMW 335i Convertible: We know there are many definitions of fun, but when it comes to driving, a performance-oriented retractable-hardtop convertible is high on our list.
BMW's 335i convertible entertains our senses in all the right ways. Under the hood is an energetic, twin-turbo six-cylinder engine that belts out 300 horsepower; with its strong, low-end power, it'll make you change the way you think about turbocharged engines. The convertible's chassis is tuned for the discriminating enthusiast, with confidence-inspiring handling and compliant ride quality. In addition, the convertible's retractable metal roof adds year-round practicality and comfort and helps keep wind noise to a minimum. Plus, with the roof lowered, you're able to fully enjoy the inline-six's sweet exhaust note. The price for this kind of fun is on the high side, for sure, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. In this case, it's money well spent.
- Eco-Friendly Car of the Year - 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid: With mileage ratings of 33 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg on the highway, the Camry Hybrid is no less than a crossroads where efficiency, clean emissions, versatility, comfort and refinement meet. You can get a larger hybrid, but large is antithetical to the environmental ideal. You can get a smaller hybrid, but compact cars are too small to appeal to many drivers. The venerable Prius is midsize, and even more efficient than the Camry Hybrid, but it lacks the refinement to succeed as a truly mass-market car. Smack in the middle of competing wants, needs, prices and priorities is the hybrid version of the family car Toyota has sold in the U.S. for 25 years and built here for 19. The Camry Hybrid isn't bargain-priced, but neither is the regular Camry, which is the best-selling car in America. The Camry Hybrid is the perfect compromise.
In addition to the overall award winners, Cars.com recognizes winners in a number of sub-categories. A Best Deal award in each category is also awarded to recognize vehicles with outstanding performance at a value price. Winners include:
Family Cars: Families come in all shapes and sizes. With that in mind, Cars.com recognized the top new cars for a variety of family needs.
Best New Car for Small Families - 2008 Saturn Vue
Best Deal for Small Families - 2008 Ford Fusion
Best New Car for Large Families - 2008 Mazda CX-9
Best Deal for Large Families - 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan
Best New Car for First-Time Drivers - 2008 Honda Civic
Best Deal for First-Time Drivers - 2008 Honda Fit
Work Cars: Depending on the line of work, it takes lots of different cars to get the job done. Cars,com selects cars that can help everyone from commuters to haulers -- even the boss.
Best New Car for Commuters - 2008 Honda Accord
Best Deal for Commuters - 2008 Hyundai Elantra
Best New Car for Hard Workers - 2008 Chevrolet Silverado
Best Deal for Hard Workers - 2008 Toyota Tacoma
Best New Car for The Boss - 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Best Deal for The Boss - 2008 Volvo S80
Play Cars: Whether you're driving into the sunset, hauling a boat to the bay or lugging a mountain bike to a race, there's a car built for every adventure in life. Cars.com's top picks include:
Best New Car for Sun Lovers - 2008 BMW 335i
Best Deal for Sun Lovers - 2008 Mazda Miata MX-5
Best New Car for Off Roaders - 2008 Hummer H2
Best Deal for Off Roaders - 2008 Jeep Wrangler
Best New Car for The Towing Crowd - 2007 Toyota Tundra
Best Deal for The Towing Crowd - 2008 Nissan Frontier
Best New Car for Weekend Athletes - 2008 Subaru Outback
Best Deal for Weekend Athletes - 2008 Honda Fit
Best Deal for Green Drivers - 2008 Honda Fit
About the Cars.com Lifestyle Awards:
Launched to recognize new vehicles that best suit the lifestyles of today's car shoppers, the Cars.com Lifestyle Awards acknowledge the best cars across a number of categories that car shoppers can identify with based on their personal vehicle needs.
Award winners were selected by Cars.com's expert reviewers and unbiased editorial staff from the field of editors' picks in the Cars.com Lifestyle Buying Guide. All vehicles in this guide first had to be selected as Cars.com Best Bets, meaning they were among the model year's best offerings in their vehicle segment. From there, the team tapped into knowledge drawn from their time with the cars to decide which vehicle best met the criteria and intent of the lifestyle category at hand. For Small Families, for example, safety was a paramount concern, along with seating. In choosing the Best Deal for each lifestyle category, the reviewers looked at which cars offered the best bang for the buck. To view comprehensive awards criteria, visit Cars.com. Additionally, behind-the-scenes insight into the award selection process and inside debate can be found on Cars.com's blog, KickingTires.
Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible and easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new and used car inventory, Cars.com puts more than 9 million unique visitors who log on to the site each month in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).