Automobile Magazine on Wednesday named the Volkswagen AG GTI as its 2007 car of the year, one of a series of year-end industry awards that automakers use to support their marketing efforts.
Gavin Conway, editor-in-chief of Automobile Magazine, said the sporty version of the VW Golf, now in its fifth generation, was the unanimous pick of the magazine's senior editors because of the way it combined performance and affordability.
Starting at under $23,000, the 2007 GTI has a 200-horsepower, four-cylinder engine that takes the 2-door version to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. The GTI also gets highway fuel economy of 30 miles to the gallon, Conway said.
"It's a great car to drive as well as being an easy car to live with," he said.
Conway said he expected that the selection would generate some controversy among the readership of the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based magazine, with some readers questioning why it had not opted for a far more expensive car.
But, he said, the magazine had wanted to highlight "a more responsible approach to performance driving," taking into account factors such as fuel economy.
The magazine, owned by Primedia Inc., named the Aston Martin V8 Vantage its design of the year.
Conway said Aston Martin, a unit of Ford Motor Co., deserved credit for building its $110,000 two-seater sports car in a way that harkened back to classic designs while incorporating more stringent safety regulations.
"Without question, the V8 Vantage is the best Aston Martin ever produced," Conway said in a statement, calling it "arguably the best-looking design car in the last couple of decades."
Automobile Magazine, which has a circulation of 550,000, is one of several industry publications that offer various car and truck of the year awards.
Automakers compete fiercely for the honors and tend to quickly work them into their own advertising in a bid to sway potential buyers.
Motor Trend, also owned by Primedia, last month named the Toyota Motor Corp. Camry its 2007 car of the year.