December 15, 2005 08:00 AM US Eastern Timezone
Autobytel Announces 2006 Editors' Choice Awards
Greater LA Auto Show 2006North American International Auto Show 2006
IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 15, 2005--Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL):
-- Autobytel Analysts and Editors Pick Best New Models "for the Real World"; Honda Civic and Ridgeline Voted Top Car and Truck of the Year
-- Volkswagen Jetta 2.5 Named Best New Car for the Environment; Ford Explorer SUV of the Year
Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL), which provides millions of car shoppers with in-depth, expert vehicle information on its popular auto research and buying sites, today announced its third annual Editors' Choice Awards, a listing of the best new vehicles on the market according to Autobytel's veteran team of automotive editors and analysts. In considering their vehicle nominations for the Awards, the panel sought to balance the typical "auto enthusiast" obsession with power and performance with practical considerations like reliability, utility and value -- qualities that matter to real drivers in the real world.
"Practicality is definitely a focus," said Autobytel Automotive Editor Brian Chee. "Even our 'Dream Car,' the BMW M5, a four-door with a good-sized trunk, and our Best New Sports Car, the Corvette Z06, which gets fuel economy in the mid-20s on the highway, blend practicality with performance and desirability."
Autobytel Automotive Editor Chris Wardlaw added, "This year's Editors' Choice Awards show that American consumers don't have to give up practicality when searching for a great car in any category, regardless of budget or performance requirements."
In addition to naming Autobytel editors' top choices for specific vehicle categories, the Awards provide their top recommendations for buyers with specific vehicle priorities -- including fuel-efficiency, family driving, affordability, style and just plain fun. In keeping with the consumer-focused, "real world" spirit of the Awards, consideration was limited to vehicles with base prices lower than $75,000 except for the "Dream Car" category.
2006 Autobytel Editors' Choice Award Winner Highlights
The following Autobytel Editors' Choice Awards will be formally presented to winning automakers at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
2006 Car of the Year - Honda Civic - A fun-to-drive car combining safety (a Best Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), fuel economy (40 mpg/hwy standard, and much better for the hybrid version), performance (up to 197 horses in the Si model), space, refinement and reliability into a single, affordable package. Simply put -- the perfect car for our times.
2006 Truck of the Year - Honda Ridgeline - So versatile it's better described as a 'transformer' than a truck. Priced a bit higher than the competition, but what you get for it makes it a great value: a powerful-enough V6 engine, a 5,000 lb. tow rating, a roomy 5-passenger cabin and trademark Honda quality. You give up some off-road prowess, and commercial buyers are going to need something with a V8 and greater tow capacity, but the trade-off is a smooth drive and a refined interior.
SUV of the Year - Ford Explorer - With a fresh new look and an attractively revised interior mounted to an all-new frame and fresh engine choices, Ford's top-selling SUV effectively turns the page on the Firestone tire episode and moves confidently forward. With its attractive new styling, versatile interior, truck-like abilities and comfortable ride, the 2006 Ford Explorer reaffirms the benefits that an SUV can offer.
Best New Car for the Environment - Volkswagen Jetta 2.5 - The Jetta 2.5 ranks, on a nationally available basis, at least 9 out of 10 by the EPA for exhaust pollutants and at least 5 out of 10 for greenhouse gas emissions. And with prices starting at just $18,500 and EPA fuel ratings of 22 mpg/city and 30 mpg/hwy, environmental consciousness won't break the bank.
Most Improved New Car - Kia Rio - The 2006 Rio soars above the model it replaces, with a 110-horsepower engine that offers up to 38 mpg on the highway, a new stylish design (extremely stylish by econo-car standards), a comfortable and versatile interior and six standard airbags -- all starting at around $11,000 with Kia's famous 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Best Kept Secret of 2006 - Suzuki Grand Vitara - Every model year certain vehicles that deserve consideration end up going largely unnoticed by the car buying masses. This year, the best of these admirable showroom wallflowers is the 2006 Suzuki Vitara, a well priced, distinctive little SUV that's been totally redesigned. Offers a peppy 185-horsepower, 2.7-liter V6 that pushes power to either the rear wheels or all four. Winners in additional categoriesBest New Small Car - Honda CivicBest New Midsize Car - Volkswagen PassatBest New Large Car - Chevrolet ImpalaBest New Entry Luxury Car - Lexus ISBest New Luxury Car - Infiniti MBest New Convertible - Mazda MX-5 MiataBest New Sports Car - Chevrolet Corvette Z06Best New Small SUV - Toyota RAV4Best New Midsize SUV - Ford ExplorerBest New Pickup - Honda RidgelineBest New Dream Car - BMW M5Best Car for the Environment - Volkswagen Jetta 2.5Best Family Car - Honda OdysseyBest Car for Teen Drivers - Honda CR-VMost Fun New Car - Chevrolet Corvette Z06Most Stylish New Car - Mercedes Benz CLS-Class
The five Autobytel editors who cast votes for the Awards share over 50 years of automotive analysis experience and publish hundreds of vehicle reviews and automotive articles annually on Autobytel's network of automotive research/buying sites -- Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Autosite.com, Car.com, Carsmart.com and Autoahorros.com. Each Editors' Choice selection has been personally test-driven by at least one Autobytel analyst.
For in-depth analysis of Autobytel Editors' Choice Award-winning vehicles, log on to http://www.autobytel.com
. For more information or to speak with an Autobytel analyst, please contact Betsy Isroelit at RBI Communications: 323-960-1360, ext. 17, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Autobytel Inc.
Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL), a leading Internet automotive marketing services company, helps retailers sell cars and manufacturers build brands through marketing, advertising, data and CRM (customer relationship management) products and programs. The Company owns and operates the automotive websites Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Carsmart.com, Car.com, AutoSite.com, Autoahorros.com and CarTV.com, reaching millions of car shoppers as they make their vehicle buying decisions. Autobytel's AIC (Automotive Information Center) division has been a trusted industry source of automotive marketing data and technology for over 20 years. Autobytel is also a leader in dealership lead management and CRM solutions and owns and operates AVV, Inc., a top provider of dealership CRM and sales management products, and Retention Performance Marketing, Inc., (RPM(R)), which powers dealerships with cutting-edge customer loyalty and retention marketing programs. Autobytel Inc. is the only company to achieve top rankings for both its lead management and lead generation services among the nation's top-100 Internet dealers.
Melanie Webber, 949-862-3023
Betsy Smith Isroelit, 323-960-1360, ext. 17