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2013 Kia Optima Named 2013 International Car of the Year and 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Wins 2013 International Truck of the Year

Road & Travel Magazine Names

2013 International Car and Truck of the Year Winners

Road & Travel Magazine announced the winners of its 17th annual International Car of the Year Awards during private ceremonies held in Detroit on January 14, 2013.

The 2013 Kia Optima was named International Car of the Year.

2013 Kia Optima Named 2013 International Car of the Year by Road & Travel Magazine
Presenting the 2013 International Car of the Year Award to Kia EVP Michael Sprague, are Courtney Caldwell, ICOTY founder and Michael Martini, president Bridgestone Americas OE, and ICOTY sponsor (r).

The winning trophy for the Kia Optima was presented to Michael Sprague, Kia’s Executive Vice President, Marketing and Communications. Presenters included Courtney Caldwell, Editor-in-Chief of Road & Travel Magazine and founder of the ICOTY Awards; and Bridgestone sponsor and OE president, Mike Martini.

“With its sleek design and fun-to-drive performance, the Optima continues to be a sales leader for the brand, “said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing & communications, Kia Motors America (KMA). “Receiving this prestigious award will help carry the Optima’s momentum forward into 2013 and further cement its position at the top of its class.”

"ICOTY celebrates its 17th year in 2013, however it will be the first year that eligibility for vehicle consideration evolved from 'must be brand new models to 'new or existing models with significant changes in design and/or technology, as well as standing out as the most emotionally compelling vehicle among consumers," said Courtney Caldwell, ICOTY founder and producer.

"The ICOTY Awards are not about power and performance, but rather about personality, passion and personal lifestyle."

In 1996, the ICOTY Awards pioneered the 'emotional connection' (theme) as it related to cars and consumers to help raise awareness that people have strong feelings about their vehicles throughout the purchasing process and ownership. It's not, nor has ever been, just about camshafts and chrome. It's about how cars reflect our personalities and status in life. Therefore, public passion and opinion are strong influence factors in the final decision.

"By far, the 2013 KIA Optima received more 'vigorous vocal reactions' from the public than any other 2013 vehicle we tested," Caldwell adds. "So much so, the Optima was 'the' deciding vehicle that inspired us to re-consider ICOTY's contender criteria going forward. Previous year models can often morph into something spectacular with new design, technology and creature comforts. To not include these vehicles as contenders was an injustice."

Just take a look at the Honda Accord. For a record 26th time, the Honda Accord was named to Car and Driver's esteemed 10Best list.

“The Kia Optima rose to the top of the list as the most emotionally compelling vehicle above all others. Its functional yet sleek design as well as advanced features intertwine effortlessly with consumer lifestyles on many levels, qualities we look for when considering contenders for the ICOTY awards. In the final analysis, the ICOTY Awards are about what ignites consumer passion," said Caldwell.

The Ford C-MAX Hybrid Named
2013 International Truck of the Year

Read Review | Read Press Release

2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Named 2013 International Truck of the Year by Road & Travel Magazine

The 17th annual International Truck of the Year trophy was presented to Ford Group Marketing Director of Electrification, C.J. O’Donnell. Presenters included Courtney Caldwell, Editor-in-Chief and founder of Road & Travel Magazine; and Bridgestone sponsor and OE president, Mike Martini.

2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Wins 2013 International Truck of the Year presented by Road & Travel Magazine
Accepting the 2013 International Truck of the Year for the Ford C-MAX Hybrid is (l-r) is John Davis, C-MAX Chief Nameplate Engineer and C.J. O'Donnell, Group Marketing Director, Ford Motor Company. Presenting the trophy are ICOTY Founder Courtney Caldwell and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone Americas OE, and ICOTY sponsor.

“Ford is honored to receive the 2013 International Trunk of the Year Award from Road & Travel Magazine. We’ve seen a phenomenal response to C-MAX Hybrid. Our customers are excited to have a fresh hybrid option that gives them the fuel efficiency they want, without sacrificing the fun-to-drive capability that they desire,” said C.J. O’Donnell, Group Marketing Manager, Electrification, Ford Motor Company.

RTM's favorite things about the C-MAX: We love the way the rear seats fold flat over this hybrid's streamlined lithium-ion rear battery pack for a nicely level expanded storage area that won't turn objects into projectiles. We dote on the little vine that sprouts and grows leaves in increasingly large sizes as we cautiously tread on the accelerator pedal for sensible ecological impact rather than blasting it into tomorrow with no concern for the transport needs of future generations.

We like the understated interior layout (with eight-inch, touch/voice-activated navigation screen in our preview model) that works simply while providing a virtual Pandora's Box of undiscovered electronic goodies. That, of course, includes the ability to access Pandora system music along with Bluetooth, CD input, USB connection for our electronics, and the other features of Ford's SYNC and MyFord Touch communications/entertainment system. Among its talents: Importing phone content for hands-free calling.

And we love the availability of such high-tech goodies and amenities as cross traffic alert, heated side view mirrors, and especially that self-opening and self-closing tailgate, one of our favorite features, that merely takes a slight kick under the rear fascia to activate by one with two arms fully loaded with grocery bags or cackling kids. We appreciate the two small, in-floor storage bins secreted behind the front seats for safely stowing our iPad out of sight.

All of these goodies pale in comparison to the foundation of the
C-MAX. It's a gasoline-electric hybrid system designed to get the most out of a small gasoline engine that charges up an electric motor driving system. The vehicle can run on electricity alone at speeds as high as 47 miles per hour as long as batteries remain charged, or with augmented power generated by the gas engine and by the regenerative force of braking that pumps additional electricity into the driving motor batteries. The more driving done on pure electricity, the less need to burn gasoline on the road. The system can churn out the equivalent of 188 horsepower so during those fun deficit times when one can't resist flooring it to rejuvenate the spirit, the C-MAX actually lives up to the need for muscle and speed.

Bridgestone, longtime lead sponsor and supporter of the ICOTY Awards, recognizes the consumer-product relationship as critical to vehicle success.

“Bridgestone is proud to support the ICOTY awards, and applauds the Bridgestone Tire Sponsors 2011 International Car and Truck of the Year Awards - Presented by Road & Travel Magazineefforts of these automakers that like our company demonstrate a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized today, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.”

"We would like to thank Bridgestone Tire for sponsoring the 2013 International Car of the Year Awards," said founder Courtney Caldwell. Their continued annual support has allowed us to honor automakers for vehicles that not only relate to consumer lifestyles and connect on an emotional level, it has provided RTM with the opportunity to elevate awareness on how people feel about their cars, and thus help revolutionize, the way agencies now market and advertise cars to consumers on an international level. 

U-Haul : Renting a truck for your moveWe would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to U-Haul International for their continued support of not just Road & Travel Magazine and the International Car of the Year Awards, but also for their ubiquitous support during tragedies such as Hurricane Sandy and for Wounded Warriors. We, at RTM, are so proud of and inspired by the work that U-Haul does. They are not just about helping people move. They move people on many levels!

2013 International Car of the Year

2013 KIA Optima - Read Review | Read Press Release


2013 International Truck of the Year

2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid - Read Review | Read Press Release

About the ICOTY Awards: The ICOTY Awards were founded in 1996 by Courtney Caldwell, editor-in-chief of Road & Travel Magazine. Its unique and pioneering theme was created to recognize automakers that successfully designed their vehicles to consumer lifestyles eliciting an emotional connection to, and passion for, the cars they purchase and drive, which translates into consumer loyalty. Today, many automakers use the ‘emotional connection’ theme in their national marketing and advertising campaigns to connect with consumers.


2013 Earth, Wind & Power Awards

2013 Earth, Wind & Power Award Winners

2013 Dodge Dart - Read Review | Press Release

Most Earth Friendly Car of the Year


2013 MAZDA CX-5 - Read Review | Press Release

Most Earth Friendly Truck of the Year

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