Issue: Nov 2009


Motor Trend Names Ford Fusion 2010 Car of the Year



60th Anniversary of the Award

by John Larkin

MOTOR TREND has announced the Ford Fusion has been named MOTOR TREND\'s 2010 Car of the Year(R). This year marks the 60th anniversary for the MOTOR TREND award -- the longest standing editorial automotive award of its kind.

"There has never been a more turbulent backdrop to the MOTOR TREND Car of the Year in its 60-year history. We have experienced seismic shifts in the global automotive industry landscape with iconic corporations going bankrupt, new model programs being canceled and OEMs killing off entire brands," said Angus MacKenzie, MOTOR TREND Editor-in-Chief.

Despite the economic turmoil, the industry still delivered a large field of 23 new or significantly improved vehicles launched in the U.S., all of which were evaluated by MOTOR TREND editors. After tallying the judges\' feedback, the redesigned Ford Fusion came out on top.

The 2010 Ford Fusion range demonstrates impressive bandwidth, from a fun-to-drive entry-level model with a four cylinder engine and six speed manual transmission, to a high-tech, highly fuel efficient hybrid, to a sporty version with a 3.5-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive. According to editors, this year\'s Ford Fusion offers a "sweep across one of the market\'s more hotly contested segments."

The extensively revised and redesigned 2010 Fusion is a better, smarter, nicer, comfier and greener car than its predecessor. "It looked, felt and drove like an entirely new machine," noted one editor.

"Ford has proven its resilience in these tough times by delivering to market a car with broad appeal to a broad range of consumers. The Fusion range has matured into a competitive roster of midsize sedans, able to compete with the sales juggernauts such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It is no surprise the Fusion now ranks in the top ten best selling cars in America," said MacKenzie.

MacKenzie added, "The Fusion\'s combination of performance, comfort, fuel efficiency, and technology made it a clear winner among our panel of judges."

The Contenders

The Fusion took home the Calipers from a field of 23 diverse contenders that included a number of highly anticipated models loaded with luxury, plenty of new features and a great range in price, size, and style. In addition to the Fusion, contenders included:


-- BMW 7 Series
-- BMW Z4
-- Buick LaCrosse
-- Chevrolet Camaro
-- Ford Mustang
-- Ford Taurus / SHO
-- Honda Insight
-- Hyundai Genesis Coupe
-- Kia Forte Koup
-- Kia Soul
-- Lexus HS 250h
-- Mazda3
-- Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
-- Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan
-- Nissan 370Z
-- Nissan Cube
-- Porsche Panamera
-- Subaru Legacy
-- Suzuki Kizashi
-- Toyota Prius
-- Volkswagen Golf / GTI
-- Volkswagen Routan

To judge contenders for the award, MOTOR TREND\'s editorial staff conducts an exhaustive evaluation process. Phase one of the process includes a tech check and weigh-in, then full track testing to establish baseline data for acceleration, braking, and handling. 

Each judge also drives each contender on special vehicle proving ground roads. Phase two involves the judges driving the contenders on 28 miles of real-world road surfaces and traffic conditions to evaluate ride and handling, engine and transmission smoothness and responsiveness, wind/road noise, and ergonomics. Throughout the process the judges discuss, debate, and evaluate how each contender performs against the six criteria. At the end of the week-long process each judge votes in a secret ballot to determine the winner.

Newly Expanded Testing and Evaluation Process

Until recently, the editorial staff of MOTOR TREND has evaluated eligible vehicles based on three key criteria: Superiority, Significance, and Value. This year, the editors updated and expanded the judging criteria to six new
categories:


-- Design Advancement - well-executed exterior and interior styling;
innovative vehicle packaging; good selection and use of materials.
-- Engineering Excellence - total vehicle concept and execution; clever
solutions to packaging, manufacturing and dynamics issues; cost-effective
tech that benefits the consumer.
-- Intended Function - how well the vehicle does the job its planners,
designers, and engineers intended it to do.
-- Efficiency - low fuel consumption and carbon footprint, relative to
the vehicle\'s competitive set.
-- Safety - a vehicle\'s ability to help the driver avoid a crash, as well
as the secondary safety measures that protect its occupants from harm
during a crash.
-- Value - competitive price and equipment levels, measured against those
of vehicles in the same market segment.



Car of the Year is not a comparison test and is only open to all-new or substantially upgraded vehicles that have gone on sale in the 12 months from November 1 of the previous year. MOTOR TREND looks for the pick of each year\'s crop of new cars, and does not revisit vehicles that have been on sale for the past few years.

The complete report on the MOTOR TREND 2010 Car of the Year testing and selection is available online now at www.motortrend.com, and will be published in the January issue of MOTOR TREND, available on newsstands December 1, 2009.

About MOTOR TREND and Source Interlink Companies, Inc.

MOTOR TREND, part of Source Interlink Media, LLC., was founded in 1949 and has a circulation of 1.1 million and a total readership of 7.1 million. Internationally recognized as one of the leading brands in automotive publishing, MOTOR TREND comprises MOTOR TREND Magazine; the award-winning Web site motortrend.com; MOTOR TREND Radio; Truck Trend; MOTOR TREND International Auto Shows; MOTOR TREND en Espanol; and the renowned MOTOR TREND Car, Sport/Utility and Truck of the Year award programs. Source Interlink Media LLC. is a subsidiary of Source Interlink Companies, Inc., a recognized provider of targeted media and marketing services, a leading U.S. distributor of home entertainment products and services and one of the largest publishers of magazines and online content for enthusiast audiences.

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