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2008 ICOTY Winners' Buyer's Guide

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International Car of the Year
Honda Accord Sedan

International Truck of the Year
Chrysler Town & Country

Most Sex Appeal/Sports Car
Audi R8

Most Dependable/Sedan
Honda Accord

Most Spirited/Entry-Level
Volvo C30

Most Compatible/Minivan
Chrysler Town & Country

Most Versatile/Crossover
Buick Enclave

Most Respected/Luxury Car
Mercedes Benz CL63 AMG

Most Athletic/Pickup Truck
GMC Sierra Denali

Most Resourceful/SUV
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

2008 International Car of the Year
Honda Accord Sedan

by Martha Hindes

Winning has a special distinction. It means you have gone the distance, endured all challenges and come out at the very top. Winning such a nod for excellence as the International Car of the Year Award (ICOTY) combines all the elements it takes to triumph at the premiere level. All things automotive work together to achieve this goal including design, engineering, ingenuity, perception and a passion for being the very best. It's the understanding that nothing can surpass you and that it doesn't get any better than this.

When the ICOTY jury sought the ultimate car for 2008, they had a major challenge with so many suitable vehicles to choose from. However, time and trial prevailed and the Honda Accord Sedan was finally chosen as the 2008 ICOTY Car of the Year.

Honda Accord Sedan

2008 Honda Accord SedanFor years, the Honda Accord has served as an anchor for the midsize sedan category, acting as the touchstone for others to emulate, a servant for owners to adore and a solidly dependable vehicle that rarely seems to fail. If ever there was doubt that Honda could surpass itself once again, the proof is in the driving. You couldn't call the new 2008 Accord Sedan supersized. However, the move up from its middle kingdom sedan reign to an almost larger, more expansive category, is a key factor in its winning status as ICOTY's Car of the Year.

Reasons for its win include the sedan's depth of sophistication in indulgent touches, both inside and out. Additionally, now available are more expanded, well-supported seats for those forays into performance driving when the unforgiving country cops aren't around. Yet another reason? The wonderful balancing act between the increased power enthusiasts have yearned for â€” up to 268 horsepower from the 3.5-liter V-6 â€” and conservation that achieves stringent low emissions and fuel efficiency of 19 city/26 highway mpg in a sedan with an automatic transmission.

Ecologists know it for its stringent PZEV and ULEV-3 ratings. We know it for its healthy quota of fun. The Honda Accord Sedan knows its territory IS the road. It grips with a vengeance, stays level in corners and passes with glee. With much more sophistication and even more Accord to love, perhaps it should be nicknamed "the joy of driving sensibly."

Honorable Mentions

2008 Chevy MalibuChevy Malibu
Call it break-out Malibu. Strong, powerful and purely artistic are three diverse terms that wrap up into one accomplished vehicle. The revamped Malibu edition from Chevrolet moves the midsize sedan bar up several notches. A smoothly tailored, expressive surface matching a supple, elegantly trimmed interior are set off with true performance characteristics under the hood. A winning combination of new six-speed automatic for both 3.6-liter V-6 (17/26 mpg) or 2.4-liter four (22/30 mpg) in a well-anchored stance add fun to driving sophistication. Another great, not-so-well-kept secret — there's a fuel stingy hybrid version as well.

2008 Cadillac CTSCadillac CTS
If Cadillac's CTS could be described in three words, it could be sights, sounds and sophistication. The sight is a luxurious, yet more athletic, design with sculptured fenders, coupe-like profile and smoothness of line inside and out from its precision craftsmanship. The sound is the mute placed on annoying winds and outside noises, which allows the wonderful Bose audio to thrive. The Malibu's sophistication lies in its entire package, anchored with a solid, earth friendlier performance-oriented 304-horsepower V-6 earning 17 or 18/26 mpg. The counterpart? Goodies available include a double sunroof for a sky-high view and an interior dappled with luxury touches. Those are a few of the reasons we choose the CTS, starting at $32,990, as a runner up for ICOTY 2008 Car of the Year. Call it luxurious play.

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