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I guess Motor Week‘s getting a reputation for edgy choices when it comes to it’s Drivers’ Choice Awards.
Last year, the weekly auto program’s top choice was the Honda Fit, a zippy little hatchback from the design family evocatively known as “pregnant roller skates.” Edgy choices for 2008 included again holding their press conference in the last slot of the day (4:30 p.m.) — about three inches into the finest snowstorm I’ve seen in years — and draping the Best of the Year mantle on the awkward, boxy frame of the Scion xB.


The Motor Week guys went out of their way to laud the xB’s handling and power, but when it comes right down to it, it takes some guts to hand top honors to a brand that’s totally cool with advertisements featuring creepy animated gremlin things puking all over the product. Get down with your bad selves, Motor Week.
The Drivers’ Choice press materials make much of the xB’s potential as an all-purpose family wagon, but I’m just not feeling it. Although the xB was redesigned for 2008 and now offers a silhouette that doesn’t look quite as much like a kindergarten art project, Scion’s still marketing the brand toward too-cool-for-school customization fans. Too-cool-for-school soccer moms who nevertheless have to drive to school twice a day are tooling around in midsize crossovers and pretending they’re not station wagons, not embracing the so-square-it’s-sleek xB.
Motor Week didn’t cover much beside the xB at its half-snowed-in press conference. There wasn’t time – most of the show’s allotted 30 minutes were devoted to sponsor shout-outs and prize drawings for the hardy journos who managed to hang around and scarf free Dove bars. Ordinarily, this kind of sponsor wankery would get me angry, but these guys are on PBS, and they have to beg, borrow and steal every penny that comes their way, so I’m willing to sit still and eat their ice cream while they tell me about the wonders of Valvoline.
Anyway, there were other Drivers’ Choice winners. Check them out:
Best Small Car ….. Scion xB
Best Family Sedan ….. Honda Accord
Best Minivan ….. Dodge Grand Caravan; Chrysler Town & Country
Best Convertible ….. Chrysler Sebring Convertible
Best Luxury Sedan ….. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Best Sport Sedan ….. Cadillac CTS
Best Sport Coupe ….. Infiniti G37
Best Performance Car ….. Volkswagen R32
Best Small Utility ….. Nissan Rogue
Best Large Utility ….. Chevrolet Tahoe; GMC Yukon
Best Crossover Utility ….. Buick Enclave; GMC Acadia; Saturn Outlook
Best Pickup Truck ….. Ford F-Series Super Duty
Best Eco-Friendly ….. Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid; GMC Yukon Hybrid
Best Dream Machine ….. Audi R8; Bentley Continental GT Speed; Lexus LS 600h L
Notice anything? There’re 14 categories in that list, and 21 prize-winning cars. I’m like anyone else who’s ever been to the all-you-can-eat sundae bar; I know it’s hard to make choices and keep the dish from overflowing. But there comes a time when you’ve got to stop piling stuff on and be happy with what you’ve come up with.
To drop the tortured ice cream metaphor (I’ve got to stop writing when I’m hungry), part of the thrill of an award show or honors list is finding out what the experts feel to be the unalloyed best. A list with multiple three-way ties threatens to become a jumble of “Stuff We Liked This Year.”
Maybe next year, Motor Week will make another edgy choice and narrow things down to a simpler list. I’m not holding my breath, though.

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