CHICAGO, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- After driving, debating and tallying the votes, Cars.com's editors have named the Ford Fusion Hybrid the Best of 2010 in the sites annual Platinum Awards, which recognize the best cars of the new model year. Other Platinum Award winners include Best New SUV, Chevrolet Equinox; Best New Compact, Mazda3; Best New Hatchback, Kia Soul; Best New Hybrid Hatchback, Toyota Prius; Best New Hybrid Sedan, Ford Fusion Hybrid; and Best New Wagon, Subaru Outback.
To choose the 2010 Platinum Awards, Cars.com's expert reviewers drove and tested all of the newly introduced and redesigned models for 2010. From that pool of about 70 cars, they chose their favorites based on features, driving quality, mileage and overall value.
"The Cars.com Platinum Awards represent the best work by automakers for the 2010 model year. These vehicles excel on all levels," said Patrick Olsen, editor in chief at Cars.com. "The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid outshined all 2010s, earning it the title Best of 2010, Cars.com's most prestigious award. We've seen hybrids come into their own over the past few years, but none have been so free of compromise as the Fusion Hybrid. We recommend that shoppers – green or otherwise – take a serious look at this car."
About the 2010 Platinum Award Winners:
- Best of 2010, Ford Fusion Hybrid: The Ford Fusion Hybrid surpassed all others to earn Cars.com's best overall title for 2010. According to Cars.com editors, the Ford Fusion Hybrid distinguishes itself from other hybrids with a more refined ride, smooth brakes, confident acceleration, a comfortable interior and helpful features. Overall, what the Fusion Hybrid does best is not act like a hybrid at all, while returning mileage of 41/36 mpg city/highway.
- Best New SUV, 2010 Chevrolet Equinox: The Chevy Equinox vaults into the top tier of small crossovers thanks to its impressive redesign. If you're a little concerned that a small crossover like the Equinox might not be big enough for your kids, don't be. It offers one of the largest, most comfortable backseats in its class, and the seat itself can recline and slide rearward for additional legroom. The small crossover segment is crowded with competitive entries like the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester and Nissan Rogue, but the new Equinox matches them in many ways and exceeds them in others. It all adds up to one of the most promising new cars of 2010.
- Best New Compact, 2010 Mazda3: While there are many small cars out there, the Mazda3 is one of the few that's really fun to drive. There's good power from either available four-cylinder engine, and in a segment where many cars can't handle a parking lot, the Mazda3 scoots through corners with gusto. It's got the right standard features as well as a good mix of options that should let you pick and choose among them to get the best price for your budget – so it's strong in the "value" category.
- Best New Hatchback, 2010 Kia Soul: Kia's foray into the fickle compact-hatch segment had us scratching our heads at first. But the little runabout proved itself. Agile moves and decent cabin quality emerged as strengths early on. By summer, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety had crash-tested the Soul, and it emerged a Top Safety Pick on par with the well-established Scion xB. The Soul is also dirt-cheap. Consider this: Well under $14,000 gets you power windows and locks, air conditioning, an iPod-compatible stereo and the sort of safety features for which you'd pay extra in a lot of midsize family sedans just a few years ago. Plus, it has a 10-year powertrain warranty and a cargo area that can handle whatever your teenager chucks in it. Color us convinced. Kia is one of a few brands whose sales are up this year, and cars like the Soul make it easy to see why.
- Best New Hybrid Hatchback, 2010 Toyota Prius: The Toyota Prius closed out its second generation with a 2009 model that was America's most efficient car and most affordable hybrid. Truth be told, if it had continued for a seventh model year, its 48/45 mpg city/highway still would have beaten all comers. Instead, the all-new 2010 improves on the previous generation in every way – starting with a markedly higher EPA-estimated 51/48 mpg. Higher mileage usually doesn't come in larger, faster packages, but the 2010 Prius is both, able to do zero to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. The base Prius' improvements over last year's model would be impressive even if its starting price weren't lower – yes, lower – by $1,000. Like we said, it's better in every way.
- Best New Hybrid Sedan, 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: There's one reason the Fusion Hybrid made this year's list: It's a terrific car. It just happens to also be a hybrid with better gas mileage – 39 mpg combined – than the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which gets 34 mpg combined. It doesn't reach the Toyota Prius' levels of efficiency – that iconic car gets 50 mpg combined – but the Fusion Hybrid doesn't make the sacrifices that the Prius does. The Fusion Hybrid is capable, quiet on the road and sports plenty of creature comforts. Even though the driving experience is more seamless than almost any past hybrids we've tested, Ford doesn't try to hide its green factor. The Fusion's innovative and completely customizable gauge cluster is the best we've seen from any automaker in terms of looks and displaying useful information.
- Best New Wagon, 2010 Subaru Outback: Redesigned for 2010, Subaru's popular wagon is now more like a crossover than a car, and it's grown up a bit in terms of interior room. That's not a bad thing as its interior quality has improved, the rear legroom is now spacious – before it was nearly nonexistent – and there are nifty features like self-storing crossbars. The ride is more comfortable, and the driver has a higher seating position than before; the Outback remains a car that's easy to get the family into and out of. While the Outback can tackle off-road chores, on-road it's quieter than ever with less wind and road noise, which makes it an infinitely better daily driver. Add up the value equation of the car's starting price, past reliability and standard all-wheel drive and it's easy to see why the Outback made our short list.
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