With the last icy blast of winter running through the Northeast right now, what better time for this year's Winter Vehicle Awards?
Each year the New England Motor Press Association gathers at its unofficial headquarters in January to drive candidate vehicles, eat, share camaraderie, and eat. Choices of these well-feed experts are particularly noteworthy given the changeable weather conditions the region is noted for as the temperature dances around the freezing point.
Here's a sample of the 2006 winners (with reviewers' comments):
Official Winter Vehicle of New England: Audi A3 S line quattro, "A sizzler on the road, but stable and powerful enough to push through a foot of snow."
Best People Mover: Toyota Sienna, "Optional all-wheel drive (AWD) and all the toys to keep the kids happy."
Luxury SUV: Lexus RX400h (hybrid), "An SUV the birds-and-bunnies types can love."
All-Weather Sedan, $30-50k: Volvo S60, "Solid and sure-footed, a Volvo through and through."
All-Weather Sedan, under $30k: Ford Five Hundred, "All-wheel drive, the best rear seat room, and a ride a road warrior can love."
Best Crossover Vehicle: Subaru B9 Tribeca, "Good ride/handling and one of the best all-wheel drive systems."
Yankee Value Award: Suzuki Aerio, "If you listed its features [AWD, power everything] you would have guessed double the price [$16,900]."