October 15, 2009 07:00 ET

MOTOR TREND Names Subaru Outback 2010 Sport/Utility of the Year®

Subaru Claims Title Two Years in a Row; Evolving Automotive Landscape Demands Change in Testing Criteria

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - October 15, 2009) - MOTOR TREND today announced the Subaru Outback has been named MOTOR TREND's 2010 Sport/Utility of the Year®.

For the first time ever, an automaker has won the coveted sport/utility award two years in a row. Subaru's new fourth generation Outback, up against a number of heralded contenders, scored a decisive 10-1 victory in editors' final voting with convincing on-road and off-road handling as well as innovations in utility that MOTOR TREND believes will raise the bar for the category.

"Subaru is reshaping the definition of a sport/utility vehicle by melding the driving refinement, great gas mileage and easy access of a car-based wagon with the multi-mission prowess of conventional SUVs," said Angus MacKenzie, MOTOR TREND Editor-in-Chief. "While many modern truck-based SUVs now strive to be as car-like as possible, the Outback starts with many of the car-like attributes customers want and overlays them with all-weather, all-road ability that equals or betters many of its rivals."

MacKenzie added, "A number of this year's contenders offered bold designs or eco-friendly powertrains, but the Outback's unique combination of comfort, efficiency, versatility and value made it a clear winner among our panel of judges. Careful attention to detail in the design and engineering of the Outback has delivered tangible customer benefits. This is a roomy, capable, functional vehicle that is easy to drive and economical to run."

The Contenders

The Outback took home the Calipers from a field of 11 diverse contenders that included a number of highly anticipated models loaded with luxury, plenty of new features and a great range in price, size, and style. In addition to the Outback, contenders included:

-- Acura ZDX

-- Audi Q5

-- Cadillac SRX

-- Chevy Equinox

-- GMC Terrain

-- Lexus RX

-- Lincoln MKT

-- Mercedes Benz GLK350

-- Toyota 4Runner

-- Volvo XC60

In evaluating this year's sport/utility field, MOTOR TREND editors noted the continued evolution of the SUV, with a majority of this year's entrants designed with the suburban jungle in mind, and how the crossover vehicle is gaining a stronger foothold.

To judge contenders for the award, MOTOR TREND's editorial staff conducts an exhaustive three-phase testing process. Phase one of the process includes a full tech check and weigh-in, then full track testing to establish baseline data for acceleration, braking, and handling. Phase two involves three days of road loops offering a range of road surfaces and traffic conditions to evaluate ride and handling, engine and transmission smoothness and responsiveness, wind and road noise, and ergonomics. A dirt-track section tests traction, stability, and braking control systems. In phase three the judges debate and deliberate until "the white smoke goes up" and they have a winner.

Newly Expanded Testing and Evaluation Process

Each year since 1949, the editorial staff of MOTOR TREND has evaluated eligible vehicles based on three key criteria: Superiority, Significance, and Value. This year, the editors updated and expanded the judging criteria to six new categories:

--  Design Advancement -- well-executed exterior and interior styling;
    innovative vehicle packaging; good selection and use of materials.
--  Engineering Excellence -- total vehicle concept and execution; clever
    solutions to packaging, manufacturing and dynamics issues; cost-effective
    tech that benefits the consumer.
--  Intended Function -- how well the vehicle does the job its planners,
    designers, and engineers intended it to do.
--  Efficiency -- low fuel consumption and carbon footprint, relative to
    the vehicle's competitive set.
--  Safety -- a vehicle's ability to help the driver avoid a crash, as
    well as the secondary safety measures that protect its occupants from harm
    during a crash.
--  Value -- competitive price and equipment levels, measured against
    those of vehicles in the same market segment.

Sport/Utility of the Year is not a comparison test and is only open to all-new or substantially upgraded vehicles that have gone on sale in the 12 months from November 1 of the previous year. MOTOR TREND looks for the pick of each year's crop of new SUVs, and does not revisit vehicles that have been on sale for the past few years.

The complete report on the MOTOR TREND 2010 Sport/Utility of the Year testing and selection is available online now at, and will be published in the December issue of MOTOR TREND, available on newsstands November 3, 2009.

About MOTOR TREND and Source Interlink Companies, Inc.

MOTOR TREND, part of Source Interlink Media, LLC., was founded in 1949 and has a circulation of 1.1 million and a total readership of 7.1 million. Internationally recognized as one of the leading brands in automotive publishing, MOTOR TREND comprises Motor Trend Magazine; the award-winning website; Motor Trend Radio; Truck Trend; Motor Trend International Auto Shows; Motor Trend en Espanol; and the renowned Motor Trend Car, Sport/Utility and Truck of the Year Awards program. Source Interlink Media LLC is a subsidiary of Source Interlink Companies, Inc., a recognized provider of targeted media and marketing services, a leading U.S. distributor of home entertainment products and services and one of the largest publishers of magazines and online content for enthusiast audiences.

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