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Primedia’s AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE, not to be left behind in the automotive awards category by its Motor Trend stablemate (you remember, Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, SUV of the Year), has announced its winners of Automobile of the Year, Design of the Year, Technology of the Year and Man of the Year Awards. Automobile calls itself “America’s leading automotive lifestyle publicaion.” Sounds very similar to Motor Trend’s claim. Oh, well lets see who won what (note that these are “Editors’ Awards with no consumer input) and register the VehicleVoice reaction …

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2007 Automobile of the Year: Volkswagen GTI – seems like there would have been other more worthy selections. The GTi is a fine car; fun to drive, attractive, easy to live with. How about some other candidates? I’d definitely consider the Lincoln MKZ mid-size sedan or Lincoln MKX crossover SUV. I’d have the Ford Edge on the list. Hmmmmm. Maybe they really mean “automobile” and trucks, SUVs and crossover SUVs don’t count. So, lets limit it to cars. So, we’ll leave in the MKZ. Howabout the Infiniti G35 sedan? The all new Nissan Altima. Why didn’t they agree with Motor Trend on the Toyota Camry as Car of the Year? Well, the list can go on forever. GTi is nice, but certainly ain’t the only game in town.

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2007 Design of the Year: Aston Martin V8 Vantage – AUTOMOBILE is right on selecting the V8 Vantage. Absolutely drop dead gorgeous, the V8 Vantage takes Aston’s iconic shape to the next level and puts it in a more “affordable” package.

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Roger Penske (Left) with DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche (Right) and smart cars

2007 Man of the Year: Roger Penske – Can’t really argue with Penske’s selection, but we’d include in their rationale his intention to import the smart from Europe. Penske has accomplished a tremendous amount in his career – racer, race team owner, owner of truck rental agency, owner of Detroit Diesel, owner of tremendously successful chain of automobile dealerships, etc. The smart may be his next great accomplishment.
2007 Technology of the Year: Electronic Stability Control – Old news.
Automobile’s Press Release for these Awards can be found below the fold.

AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE Announces Automobile, Design, Technology and Man of the Year Awards

–Volkswagen GTI, Aston Martin V8 Vantage earn unanimous votes from editors–
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Dec. 27, 2006 AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE, America’s leading automotive lifestyle publication ( and part of PRIMEDIA’s Consumer Automotive Group, today announced the winners of its 2007 awards for Automobile of the Year, Design of the Year, Man of the Year, and Technology of the Year.
The editors’ selections is made after the cars Teoriprøven as they represent automotive achievements that combine outstanding innovation, forward thinking, and professional and personal achievement. The four winners will be featured in the pages of the February 2007 issue of AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE, available on newsstands beginning January 9, 2007.
The 2007 AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE winners are:
2007 Automobile of the Year: Volkswagen GTI – Editors judged that this sporting version of the fifth-generation Golf succeeds at fusing exciting performance and handling in an affordable and practical package. The GTI’s 200-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission propel the 2-door version to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds. All this, and the GTI will still return 30 miles to the gallon on the highway. With prices at the pump in constant flux, the GTI is the right car for the times.
“Our editorial team was unanimous in its decision that the Volkswagen GTI deserved this honor,” said Gavin Conway, editor-in-chief of AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE. “The latest GTI marks a return to form by Volkswagen, with a car that gives enthusiasts a great driving experience without sacrificing practicality, affordability and fuel efficiency. This is the performance car for a new generation of enthusiasts.”
Design of the Year: Aston Martin V8 Vantage – Also selected as an AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE All-Star for 2007, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage proves to the editors that, in an environment of ever-tightening safety regulations, it is still possible to craft an elegant and stimulating driving machine. Taking subtle cues from the design legacy of Aston Martin, the Vantage is respectful of the company’s history without being overly retro.
“Without question, the V8 Vantage is the best Aston Martin ever produced,” Conway said. “It is a hallmark of great design and arguably the best-looking car manufactured in the last couple of decades. Apart from its aesthetic appeal, the Vantage was selected for combining great looks with an outstanding driving experience.”
Man of the Year: Roger Penske – Roger Penske has been described as an icon and a fierce competitor, but the editors of AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE selected him for one reason: his tremendous list of personal and professional accomplishments. In 2006 alone, Penske Racing won its fourteenth Indy 500 and its first International Racing League championship. Penske’s United Auto Group currently ranks second among U.S. megadealers. Those accomplishments are in addition to his hero status in the city of Detroit, where he chaired the recent Super Bowl committee.
Conway said, “In selecting Roger Penske, we are not only celebrating his career accomplishments, but acknowledging that his impact will be felt within and outside of the automotive industry for years to come.”
Technology of the Year: Electronic Stability Control – Electronic Stability Control has finally come of age for enthusiast drivers. ESC works by monitoring a number of dynamic parameters and then intervenes electronically to help prevent a skid or loss of control.
“Earlier ESC systems seemed heavy-handed and took away from the driving experience,” said Conway. “But even the most demanding drivers on our staff agreed that this year’s Technology of the Year did not interfere with the dynamic rewards of spirited driving.”
Conway noted that enthusiast drivers often turn off the ESC in order to more fully explore the capabilities of a performance car. However, the editors at AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE put various systems through a challenging, rainy few days of performance driving and found that even under the worst driving conditions, the ESC never spoiled the driving experience.
The latest ESC systems mean that electronically controlled dynamic safety and driving pleasure are no longer mutually exclusive. Conway said that modern ESC systems, which will be standard on all cars by 2012, will force auto enthusiasts to think twice about shutting off ESC to get the best out of their car.

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