CHICAGO, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Cars.com's expert automotive reviewers got behind the wheel in dozens of vehicles this year and have selected their favorites in a variety of lifestyle segments as part of the site's 2010 Lifestyle Awards. Winners include the Cars.com Eco-Friendly Car of the Year, 2010 Toyota Prius; Cars.com Family Car of the Year, 2010 Ford Flex; Cars.com Work Car of the Year, 2010 Ford F-150; and Cars.com Play Car of the Year, 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.
Developed to recognize the vehicles that are best suited for the lifestyle needs of today's car buyers, the Cars.com Lifestyle 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.
"Cars.com recognizes that buying a car is a huge investment and it's essential for consumers to make the right decision," said Patrick Olsen, editor in chief at Cars.com. "While some consumers know exactly what vehicle or type of vehicle they want, some just know they need a new car. Our Lifestyle Buying Guide lets shoppers search for cars across many different categories, allowing them to compare sedans to trucks to SUVs to minivans to find the car that best matches their intended driving experience."
About the 2010 Cars.com Lifestyle Award Winners:
- Cars.com Eco-Friendly Car of the Year, 2010 Toyota Prius: The third-generation Prius improves upon a model that effectively transformed the nameplate into an American mainstay. The new Prius packs more power and better gas mileage – 50 mpg in combined EPA estimates. Best of all, it now feels like a substantial car, ready for family outings or interstate road trips. While there are more fuel efficient options than ever before, there's no denying this: The Prius is still the most fuel-efficient, gas-powered, mass-produced car you can buy.
- Cars.com Family Car of the Year, 2010 Ford Flex: Ford's Flex crossover didn't start to sell like hotcakes after we named it Family Car of the Year last year, and we're still not sure why it isn't winning over more people. We can't count the number of times that car shoppers ask us to recommend a minivan or SUV alternative to haul the family, and the Flex is our choice for that perfect alternative. We've gone so far as loading up one of our own families on a cross-country roadtrip in the Flex, where the comfort lifted it to victory over its competition.
- Cars.com Work Car of the Year, 2010 Ford F-150: Not only does the F-150 have the kind of stout capability you demand from a pickup, but it brings to the segment useful technology features to make your life on the job easier. Ford redesigned the F-150 last year, giving it a stronger frame and more powerful V-8 engines. The changes mean this pickup has some serious towing capability. When your office is the cab of a pickup truck, it has to meet more than the needs of the everyday buyer, and the Ford F-150 does.
- Cars.com Play Car of the Year, 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Yep, if you went to a racetrack you'd find cars faster than the Miata. But you don't live on a racetrack, so don't you think it'd be better to have a car that's fun to drive to the grocery store? Meet your car. It's so low-slung that you'd be forgiven for thinking you're getting into a racecar. The gearshift is super-slick, and the steering is so quick you think your way through turns. Throw the top down, blip the throttle and head out anywhere. Before you know it, you'll be shifting up through the gears just so you can shift back down again. You'll find yourself going miles out of your way to find a curvy road. It really is that much fun. If you don't have a smile on your face after driving this car, seek professional help.
In addition to the overall award winners, Cars.com recognizes winners in a number of sub-categories. Vehicles with outstanding performance at a value price are also recognized with a Cars.com Best Deal award in each category. Winners include:
EcoFriendly Cars: Eco-Friendlycars considered include gas/electric hybrids, diesel cars and even a few fuel-sipping gas-only cars.
Cars.com Best Deal for Eco-Friendly Drivers, 2010 Toyota Yaris
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.
Cars.com Best Car for Small Families, 2010 Subaru Forester
Cars.com Best Deal for Small Families, 2010 Ford Fusion
Cars.com Best Car for Large Families, 2010 Ford Flex
Cars.com Best Deal for Large Families, 2010 Toyota Sienna
Cars.com Best Car for First-Time Drivers, 2010 Honda Fit
Cars.com Best Deal for First-Time Drivers, 2010 Toyota Yaris
Work Cars: For some drivers, a car just gets them to the job, and for others it does the job. Cars.com selected cars that can help everyone from commuters to haulers -- even the boss.
Cars.com Best Car for Commuters, 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Cars.com Best Deal for Commuters, 2010 Toyota Corolla
Cars.com Best Car for Hard Workers, 2010 Ford F-150
Cars.com Best Deal for Hard Workers, 2010 Toyota Tacoma
Cars.com Best Car for The Boss, 2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Cars.com Best Deal for The Boss, 2010 Hyundai Genesis
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.
Cars.com Best Car for Sun Lovers, 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Cars.com Best Deal for Sun Lovers, 2010 Jeep Wrangler
Cars.com Best Car for Off Roaders, 2010 Jeep Wrangler
Cars.com Best Deal for Off Roaders, 2010 Subaru Forester
Cars.com Best Car for Weekend Athletes, 2010 Honda Element
Cars.com Best Deal for Weekend Athletes, 2010 Subaru Impreza
Cars.com Best Fun to Drive Car, 2010 BMW M3
Cars.com Best Deal for Fun to Drive Cars, 2010 Mazda3
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, blogs.cars.com/kickingtires.
Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, 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 millions of car buyers 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).