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ROAD & TRAVEL Auto News: Lifestyle-Friendly Cars Lifestyle Awards: Which Is Best for You?

Consumer... car... lifestyle... emotion. The connection between these things and ideas has grown stronger and stronger over the years. Take, for instance, ROAD & TRAVEL's very own ICOTY Awards, recently awarded to our 2007 winners in our 11th annual celebration, and based on the emotional connection that exists when one slips behind the wheel of a shiny, new vehicle. Whether you've purchased, leased, or rented that particular car for loading, lugging or lounging on the open road, there's a reason that it appeals to you.

Like ROAD & TRAVEL, is also celebrating the connections that make automobiles such an intricate and important aspect of our dialy lives.

For the first time, has tallied the votes and announced their own Lifestyle Awards, developed to recognize vehicles best suited for the needs of today's car buyers.

Based on editor's experiences in dozens of test drives and their evaluation of criteria most important to shoppers in each category, the Lifestyle Awards make it easy for shoppers to scan vehicle categories for comparison with their own lifestyle.

About the 2007 Lifestyle Awards Winners:

Family Car of the Year: 2007 Honda Odyssey
The Honda Odyssey has all the qualities that make a vehicle ideal for large families. There's room for up to eight people, plenty of luggage space, entertainment options for the kids, top crash-test ratings and the best gas mileage among large minivans when the 3.5-liter V-6 is equipped with available cylinder deactivation technology. Even though the Odyssey commands a bit of a price premium compared to its competitors, its refined performance and stand-out handling make it a winner on multiple fronts.  

Work Car of the Year: 2007 Dodge Ram
Choices are important when selecting a pickup truck that's going to be used for work, and there are plenty to make when choosing a Dodge Ram. The Ram is offered in three duty ratings and can have a selection of cabs, cargo boxes and drivetrains to suit your work requirements. What's more, the Ram's predicted reliability is above average, and it scored well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing. There are formidable challengers on the way in the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Toyota Tundra, but right now the Ram's the one to beat.  

Play Car of the Year: 2007 Volvo C70
Is there a better retractable hardtop on the market today? Definitely not for $39,000. Top up, the C70 acts like a quiet coupe. A push of a button later, the hardtop retracts into the trunk and you have wind in your hair. Leave it to Volvo to make something sexy and fun, like a convertible, practical. Besides the numerous safety features and solid ride, the trunk is easily accessible and holds quite a bit of cargo with the top down.  

Eco-Friendly Car of the Year: 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid
The Camry Hybrid's impressive real-world gas mileage and low pollutant and CO2 emissions are sure to win over environmentally conscious car buyers, and the well-integrated hybrid system will make you forget how much technology is at work each time you accelerate or brake. The spacious cabin has high-grade materials, comfortable front seats and an optional touch-screen navigation system that's easy to use. Side- impact and side curtain airbags are standard, and the Camry Hybrid received the highest overall rating — Good — in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests. For those wary of a hybrid's additional components, Toyota covers them with an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.  

In addition to the overall award winners, recognized winners in a number of sub-categories.

Family Cars:
— Best New Car for Small Families - 2007 Honda Accord
— Best Deal for Small Families - 2007 Hyundai Sonata  
— Best New Car for Big Families - 2007 Honda Odyssey
— Best Deal for Big Families - 2007 Kia Sedona  
— Best New Car for First-Time Drivers - 2007 Honda Civic
— Best Deal for First-Time Drivers - 2007 Honda Fit  
— Best New Car for Empty Nesters - 2007 Jaguar XK
— Best Deal for Empty Nesters - 2007 Mazda MX-5  

Work Cars:
— Best New Car for Commuters - 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid
— Best Deal for Commuters - 2007 Mazda3  
— Best New Car for Hard Workers - 2007 Dodge Ram
— Best Deal for Hard Workers - 2007 Dodge Caravan (Cargo)  

Play Cars:

— Best New Car for Sun Lovers - 2007 Volvo C70
— Best Deal for Sun Lovers - 2007 Ford Mustang  
— Best New Car for Off Roaders - 2007 Land Rover Range Rover
— Best Deal for Off Roaders - 2007 Nissan Xterra  
— Best New Car for The Towing Crowd - 2007 Chevrolet Suburban
— Best Deal for The Towing Crowd - 2007 Dodge Ram  
— Best New Car for Weekend Athletes - 2007 Subaru Outback
— Best Deal for Weekend Athletes - 2007 Hyundai Tucson