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November 05, 2014

Road & Travel Announces Top 5 Finalists for 2015 ICOTY

Road & Travel Magazine Announces Top 5 Finalists for 2015 International Car of the Year

Road & Travel Magazine Announces Top 5 Finalists for
          2015 International Car of the Year

Los Angeles, CA – November 4, 2014 - Road & Travel  Magazine (RTM) is proud to announce its top 5 finalists for the 2015  International Car of the Year (ICOTY). Listed alphabetically, they are the BMW i3;  Hyundai Genesis; Kia K900; Kia Soul EV; and the Mazda Mazda6.

The mission of the ICOTY Award is to put emphasis on the  emotional connection between car and consumer in addition to how well  automakers achieve that goal through the marketing of their vehicles directly to  consumers through international and national campaigns. [Click here for full release]

April 16, 2014

Best Car Commercials - They Make Us Feel!

Have you noticed how car commercials have become more like mini-movies? And, how in recent years they've really tapped into the emotional connection we all have with our cars?

Since 1996, the International Car of the Year Awards, produced by Road & Travel Magazine, has shed light on the 'emotional connection' between car and consumer during its annual award's show. Our mission was to demonstrate that cars spark feelings and emotions, whether it's during the purchase process or ownership experience, or both.

Back then, most automakers were scratching their head asking, 'what emotional connection?' Some even laughed at the notion. But the fact is that we all have some sort of connection with our cars whether it be a status symbol, sex appeal, rough and tumble, an attitude of gratitude, or even just point a to point b. Our cars not only serve our need for transportation they are also an extension of our personality, who we are, and how we want to be seen. Or not! Can you say minivan?

That said, check out some of our favorite commercials over the years. It's pretty clear that automakers have caught up to our hearts and minds, and now get it, and clearly, get you, the consumer. [Click here for car commercial winners]

 

 

 

April 11, 2014

2014 Luxe & Large SUV Buyer's Guide

2014 Luxe & Large SUV Buyer's Guide by Bob Plunkett and Martha Hindes                                        

 by Bob Plunkett & Martha Hindes

Road & Travel Magazine's Top  Picks

Dodge Durango

Range Rover Sport

Ford Expedition

Toyota 4-Runner

SUVs have been a life saver for people who are active and haul lots and lots of stuff around. They've also been a blessing for families, especially women, who do not want to be seen in a minivan, deemed and doomed the mom-mobile. But even more so, SUVs have evolved into a status symbol of success for those who wish to be seen as purposeful, powerful and plentiful. SUVs serve our need for utility but they also serve our demand for individualism and identity.

Check out Road & Travel Magazine's top eight picks in its 2014 Luxe and Large SUV Buyer's Guide. Chock full of new amenities for cabin comfort and convenience. These go anywhere, do anything vehicles are not just for off-roaders anymore. They're built with cush for the tush in mind as well as all the interior bells and whistles that  make a vehicle glide in a ride on the inside.

From the outside looking in, they present a rock-star glow for whoever sits behind the wheel. Sitting above the rest, these luxe and large SUVs for 2014 offer a birds eye view for things to come, and go! [Full story]

March 10, 2014

2014 Dodge Durango Test Drive Review

2014 Dodge Durango Road Test Review by Bob Plunkett

2014 Dodge Durango Road Test Review

The unibody SUV gains new electronic controls

By Bob Plunkett

Big  chunky rocks, not water, fill the dry bed of a creek cut through the  cedar-studded hills of Texas as a brawny 2014 edition of Durango -- the big-rig  sport utility vehicle from Dodge packing massive firepower and applying  traction to all four wheels -- muscles its way in bump-bump-bump increments  across so many stones.

The  SUV doesn't waver from our mission to ford the dry wash, although its front  wheels, floating independently, articulate way-up and way-down to crawl over  the rocks.

Yet  from a driver's vantage in Durango's cushy cabin with a heated steering wheel  and leather hides covering the three tiers of seats, we never notice the wild  wheel gyrations because this formidable wagon feels surprisingly steady despite  the romp over rough terrain.

That  smooth but rock-solid ride quality begins with a monocoque platform that unites  chassis and body in a cohesive unit that's extremely rigid when set in motion. [Read]

February 17, 2014

Toyota Corolla Wins 2014 Most Earth Aware Car of the Year

2014 Toyota Corolla Eco Wins 2014 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year - Most Earth Aware

Toyota Corolla Eco Named

2014 Earth, Wind & Power "Most Earth Aware Car of the Year"

Earth, Wind & Power Awards - Most Earth Friendly Car of the Year
sponsored by

Bridgestone Tire Sponsors 2013 International Car of the Year Awards - Presented by Road & Travel Magazine

Review by Martha Hindes | Press Release

As we watched a profusion of college students jog, skate, bicycle and schmooze their way past our Minneapolis hotel, we realized we were in for an education on what is important to those on the cusp of an environmentally challenging world. They were the kind, in their early 20s to maybe mid-30s it seemed, in plaid sneakers, cutoffs in cold weather and eyes glued to a smart phone screen. Just the type, we thought, who would be woed and won by a point-in-life auto like the resoundingly revised 2014 Toyota Corolla.   We had come to the largest of Minnesota's Twin Cities to find out why Toyota considered its revised compact car so important as the automaker kicked off the 11th generation of this staple. After all, the Corolla has dominated the world of compact autos in all corners of the globe for decades. It virtually launched the small car industry in the U.S. when seeming block-long domestic gas guzzlers dominated American roads. And it has spawned a wealth of imitators seeking to dethrone it from its lofty perch ever since. 

It didn't take long to realize that not only was the Corolla a breath of fresh air visually, but in driving credentials as well. But it also pointed out how the auto is aiding in preserving the fresh air we breathe and protecting our planet by diminishing the factors that add pollutants to the atmosphere. And its achievement of reaching a lofty 40 miles per gallon mileage with an internal combustion engine heart rather than with a highly sophisticated and costly hybrid, clean diesel or more elaborate technology tells us there really still is life in yesterday's engine type when it's tamed and tweaked to accommodate tomorrow’s vehicles.   With those gold star elements plus pricing that has not gone ballistic, it didn't take long to determine the 2014 Corolla was an uncompromising champion to be recognized. And so, it was name Earth, Wind & Power’s Most Earth Aware Car of the Year for 2014. 

2014 Toyota Corolla Named 2014 Most Earth Aware Car of the Year by Road & Travel Magazine
Presenting the 2014 Most Earth Aware Car of the Year award to Bill Fay, Group VP & GM Toyota Division U.S., are Courtney Caldwell, editor, Road & Travel Magazine; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE Americas, and EWP award sponsor.

In accepting the award, Bill Fay, Group Vice President and General Manager - Toyota Division, cited the company's long-time commitment to good fuel economy. "For the past 47 years, Toyota has prioritized outstanding fuel economy for the Corolla.  It’s this attention to detail that has enabled our company to sell a record 40 million Corollas worldwide," he said.   “With the new, 11th generation Corolla, we’ve illustrated that 40 miles per gallon can be achieved through excellent design and engineering. We are truly humbled and appreciative that Corolla has been named the 2014 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year. This award validates the efforts of our team to make Corolla the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class.” [Full story]

February 10, 2014

2014 Audi Q5 Wins Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year

2014 Audi Q5 Diesel Named 6th Annual Earth, Wind & Power SUV of the Year - Most Earth Aware

2014 Audi Q5 Named

2014 Earth, Wind & Power's

~ Most Earth Aware - SUV of the Year ~

Earth, Wind & Power Awards - Most Earth Friendly Car of the Year

sponsored by

Bridgestone Tire Sponsors 2013 International Car of the Year Awards - Presented by Road & Travel Magazine

Review by Martha Hindes | Press Release

We were smitten at first sight of the sassy, sporty 2014 Audi turbo-diesel when it showed up at our doorstep. Our test model was Glacier White Metallic and sported a large "TDI" on each front door for a sophisticated, no-nonsense announcement of its capabilities. So much for not blowing one's own horn.

A flared front end with sultry headlamp "eyes," anchored by those famed four interlocking grille hoops sniffing down the road balances the trim tush in the rear and announces in no uncertain terms this is a coveted Audi.

For those who need to transport five in luxurious comfort, the Q5 could be an ideal choice. The priciest of the fuel conscious versions (which seems like a no-brainer) is the hybrid Q5 that uses a 2.0-liter 245-horsepower inline four engine paired with an electric motor for a combined 245-horsepower and 254-lb. ft. of torque. It clocks in with a $51,300 base price, earning EPA ratings of 24 city/30 highway miles.

Those high ticket items point out what every wannabe Audi owner certainly knows—that no matter how environmentally conscious one might be in choosing a vehicle, when you're paying premium prices you expect to get premium perks out of the deal.

So what can the Q5 offer in the way of amenities, both in driving manners and the way it strokes the owner on the upmarket side?

Once inside, besides keyless start, there's leather (luscious Milano leather when fitted with comfort seats), aluminum and all-natural walnut trim and a heated/cooled cup holder to ensure drinks are kept at optimal temperature. Driving at night is a kick even if the only reason is to see the glow of red from all those buttons and controls that jump to life when activated.

The hybrid version gets Audi's Bang & Olufsen 505-watt premium Sound System with 14 speakers as standard equipment. "Audi connect" can mate with as many as eight wireless devices at one time.


And the TDI gets something that's becoming a vanishing breed in many vehicles as precious interior space is diverted for heavy battery storage and a bit more cargo space. That's an actual compact space saver spare tire, designed for temporary use.

A Q5 biggie is "quattro" drive on all versions. That's Audi talk for its permanent all-wheel-drive system, and a clear indication this is a go almost anywhere vehicle when driving conditions get tough, such as during a Northern midwinter blizzard or blazing through pools of water on rain slicked roads. All Q5 power plants mate to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic for smooth, supple handling and a stingier need for fuel in the process.

We can attest to the punch the diesel fuel-drinking TDI can deliver when rubber meets the road. It rates at an even feistier 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds.

Mark Del Rosso, executive vice president and COO Audi America accepts Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year Award from Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE America and Courtney Caldwell, editor in chief, Road & Travel Magazine
Presenting the 2014 Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year award to Mark Del Rosso, EVP & COO, Audi America, are Courtney Caldwell, editor, Road & Travel Magazine; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE Americas, and EWP award sponsor.

Audi calls the Q5 "sporty and sophisticated, spacious and functional." We agree. Its green attributes and the strength of its Audi character were pointed out by Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “In addition to its excellent fuel economy, the Audi Q5 combines the sportiness of a sedan with a variable interior and many practical solutions for everyday and recreational use. With 2013 year to date sales up 40.8% compared to 2012, it’s clear that consumers are continuing to respond positively to the Audi Q5’s sportiness and sophistication, spaciousness and functionality.”

“We are honored to accept the Earth, Wind & Power Award for Most Earth Aware SUV of the year, which recognizes the environmental friendliness and fuel economy of the Audi Q5.” said Del Rosso.

[Full story]

August 12, 2013

Four of the Most Extreme Celebrity Car Collections

Celebrity Car Collections
Four of the Most Extreme Celebrity Car Collections

Few subjects attract the general public’s interest quite like famous people and their fabulous car collections. Luxury homes and exotic travel serve as visible baubles of wealth and success, but for many celebrities, nothing says “I’ve made it big” quite like owning a fleet of high-end performance cars. 
 
Car brands and models speak to the celebrities’ style and tastes, but sometimes the sheer number of cars a person owns says even more about them. Celebrity cars often tell a visual tale of a lifelong obsession. Here are a few of the most interesting stories of celebrity car collections.

  • Jerry SeinfeldThe comedian has had a thing for German-made cars since he was a kid growing up on Long Island. From his first car, a 1977 Volkswagen Beetle, to his current collection of nearly 50 Porches, look no further than Seinfeld’s garage to capture the essence of his success. Speaking of his garage, for years Seinfeld rented an airport hangar in California to shelter his car collection. Now that he’s married and living back in New York, most of his collection is housed in his 20-car garage in Manhattan.

  • Kobe Bryant – As the NBA’s highest-paid player (and third-highest in its history), the Los Angeles Lakers’ shooting guard has some nice wheels to go along with his five championship rings. He owns a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, a Rolls Royce Bentley and a Range Rover. [Full story]

May 06, 2013

Summer Safety Travel Tips

 Summer is near which means travel by air, road trips too. Check out Road & Travel Magazine's new summer travel safety issue for tips on how to keep yourself and family safe and sane during summer travel. [Click here for new issue]

January 27, 2013

Ford C-MAX Hybrid Wins 2013 International Truck of the Year

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

Range Rover Evoque Named 2012 International Truck of the Year - Road & Travel Magazine

Ford C-MAX Hybrid
Road Test Review by Martha Hindes

“Delightfully practical.” That was the initial reaction from a casual car browser at a Midwestern Ford dealership after getting up close and personal with Ford's new 2013 C-MAX hybrid-only, multi-utility vehicle. “I loved all the technology,” was the quick follow-up. It was a potential shopping trip on a whim after being inundated with glowing reports of the advantages of owning a hybrid vehicle from a foreign automaker that had been getting lots of attention. The browser, instead, was looking for something American, something to get excited about, something to spur the interest. He got it.

If two words can sum up a reaction to a new kid on the block with a unique perspective, we think “delightfully practical” nailed it. After all, creating something that can be all things for all people usually can seem like an exercise in frustration at best. When the idea is applied to a vehicle, it's even more demanding, since underneath the eye candy appeal outside and pampering comfort inside is the necessity that it will do the duty of a vehicle – transporting its precious cargo with enthusiasm, purpose, practicality, safety and fun without sullying its surroundings. And the front-drive C-MAX, despite its more diminutive scale than the standard sport utility or crossover utility vehicles that are predominant now on American roadways, is judged as a truck. You just don't realize all its talents at first test.

But peel back the layers, like you would an onion skin, and there's surprise after delightful surprise waiting for those who check it out– from its fuel-stingy hybrid underpinnings that can let it get an astounding 47 miles to a gallon of gas to its available high tech gadgets including the ability to park itself or pop open the trunk gate with the wave of a foot. That's before even considering the lush
sound capabilities from just about any favorite device one brings that can mate with the C-MAX for concert venue excitement. Those are among reasons the C-MAX dominated voting in the 2013 International Truck of the Year competition, and won the whole enchilada in the process. And which we, at Road & Travel Magazine, announce with unabridged pleasure. After all, we consider this truly a multi-activity vehicle or MAV (Ford's term). Maybe Maximum Utility Vehicle or MUV would work in acronym land as well. After all, Ford alluded to that in naming it C-MAX. Read full review...

January 14, 2013

Kia Optima Named 2013 International Car of the Year

  Kia-optima-awards-lead-photo
 Kia Optima Named 2013 International Car of the Year
by Road & Travel Magazine

Road & Travel Magazine announced today the winner of its 2013 International Car of the Year, the Kia Optima.

The trophy for the 2013 Kia Optima was presented to Michael Sprague, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Kia Motors. Presenters included Courtney Caldwell, Editor-in-Chief, Road & Travel Magazine and ICOTY founder; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone America OE.

“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.

"We would like to thank Bridgestone Tire for sponsoring the 2013 International Car of the Year Awards," said 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 automakers and their agencies market and advertise cars to consumers. [Read full press release]