November 21, 2003

Motor Trend names 2004 Toyota Prius “Car of the Year”

New York, New York – Motor Trend magazine has selected the new Toyota Prius as its 2004 Car of the Year.

2004 Toyota Prius
Photo: Grant Yoxon. Click image to enlarge

“We realize the selection of a hybrid vehicle is going to stir controversy, but we believe the performance, engineering advancements, and overall significance of the Toyota Prius merits the distinction of Motor Trend’s Car of the Year,” said Kevin Smith, editor-in-chief. “The Prius is a capable, comfortable, fun-to-drive car that just happens to get spectacular fuel economy. It also provides a promising look at a future where extreme fuel-efficiency, ultra-low emissions, and exceptional performance will happily coexist. That makes it meaningful to a wide range of car buyers.”

After weeks of testing, Motor Trend’s editors found the Toyota Prius to be a user-friendly gas/electric hybrid capable of delivering an impressive (U.S.)60 miles per gallon in city driving. It is the first of such vehicles to move into the automotive mainstream, with performance, style and quality, said the editors. “Spacious enough to be classified as a midsize sedan, the Prius’ futuristic bodywork, innovative Hybrid Synergy Drive, pleasing interior and five-door hatchback design, clearly placed it above the competition,” declared Motor Trend’s editors.

“We’re thrilled Motor Trend magazine has chosen the Toyota Prius as the 2004 Car of the Year,” said Don Esmond, senior vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. “This may be the first hybrid vehicle to win the award, but it won’t be the last. The Hybrid Synergy Drive in the Prius is cutting-edge technology and we applaud the editors of Motor Trend for recognizing its significance in the evolution of the automobile.”

This year, the editorial staff of Motor Trend conducted testing on 26 new vehicles, from sports cars to minivans, searching for the automobile that best represented exceptional value, superiority in its class, and the most significant development on the new-car scene for 2004. All truly new or substantially revised cars were considered with the condition that they be available for public sale by January 1, 2004.

For the 2004 Car of the Year competition, the following models were included: Acura TL, Acura TSX, Audi A8 L, BMW 5 Series, BMW Z4, Cadillac XLR, Chevrolet Malibu and Maxx, Chevrolet Aveo, Chrysler Crossfire, Ford Freestar, Jaguar XJ8/XJR, Mazda RX-8, Mitsubishi Galant, Mitsubishi Lancer/Ralliart/Evolution, Nissan Maxima, Nissan Quest, Pontiac Grand Prix, Pontiac GTO, Scion xA, Scion xB, Subaru Impreza/WRX/STi, Suzuki Verona, Toyota Camry Solara, Toyota Prius, Toyota Sienna, and the Volkswagen Phaeton.

The complete report on the 2004 Car of the Year can be found in the January, 2004 issue of Motor Trend, on newsstands December 2, 2003. Additional coverage, with high-resolution images, will be posted on Motor Trend’s Web site. Multimedia coverage of the testing and selection process will appear on Motor Trend television, hosted by feature editor John Matthius.

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