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Motor Trend has been around since 1949, and during that time it has handed out a fair share of awards to various automakers and vehicle models. More recently, the print publication has gone online by way of its web site, Youtube page and various social media networks. One network in particular has stuck a chord with the buff book and it's choosing to leverage the power of Facebook to announce the winner of its 2011 Sport/Utility Vehicle of the Year award.

M/T has been steadily rolling out its top 15 contenders, with the announcement of the winner to be made on October 19th, 2010 at 12:01 a.m EST. Why Facebook?
"We want to foster a two-way dialogue with our audience," said Angus MacKenzie, Editor In-Chief of Motor Trend, "and Facebook was the next logical step to engage our community even further."
The currently revealed contenders are:
Past winners of this title include the Subaru Forester and the Mazda CX-9. Hop the jump to read M/T's press release.

[Source: Motor Trend]

Show full PR text

Social Networking Site Marks New Medium for Magazine to Reveal Coveted Award

El Segundo, Calif. (October 6, 2010) – Motor Trend, the world's automotive authority on cars, trucks and SUVs, announced today, that for the first time ever, the annual Sport/Utility of the Year Award® will be revealed exclusively via Facebook October 19. Publicizing the winner of Motor Trend's 2011 Sport/Utility of the Year Award via Facebook is the latest step in the storied brand's multi-media strategy and represents an innovative approach for an industry traditionally focused on mainstream media for breaking news.

Beginning October 6, and for two weeks leading up to the live unveiling at 12:01 a.m. (EST), October 19, Motor Trend will roll out the 15 contenders for this year's award on Facebook. Readers are encouraged to visit the Motor Trend Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/motortrendmag and "like" the page in order to access exclusive content, regular updates regarding the award and ultimately, the 2011 Sport/Utility of the Year winner.

"We are now using non-traditional methods to distribute our news because of the proven importance of social networking," said Angus MacKenzie Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "I don't just run a magazine anymore; with our interactive web presence, radio show and live events, I run an automotive media brand that reaches a large and diverse audience. Motor Trend is now also its own news distribution channel."

"We want to foster a two-way dialogue with our audience," said MacKenzie, "and Facebook was the next logical step to engage our community even further."

The print edition of Motor Trend reaches an audience of 8 million readers, while its website attracts 4 million unique visitors a month. Motor Trend's YouTube channel now has more than 40,000 subscribers, and those who want Motor Trend to go, are served with iPhone and iPod Touch apps.

Every year, the editorial staff of Motor Trend meets to determine the field of contenders for the Sport/Utility of the Year Award. The contenders are then evaluated against six criteria – advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and performance of intended function. Ultimately, the editors award the honor to the vehicle that performs best against these criteria.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Since MT's awards are really just an advertising gimmick for the winners, this gets a big yawn from me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No Dodge Durango? It seems like Motor Trend like to omit some of the vehicles all together. They did that to the Saturn Vue when it launched.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Grand Cherokee is the only real SUV on the list.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree with one exception.

        The QX56 is body on frame and based on a very capable truck.

        The others are tall wagons, and some of them are very good.

        Give it to the GC.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I forgot about the QX56. You are right.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Motor trend usually pics the lamest vehicle so I'm guessing crosstour?
      • 4 Years Ago
      yes the 2011 suv of the year is the kia borrego! oh wait ....
      • 4 Years Ago
      This will probably be the only time you see 'Crosstour' and 'contender' used together
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Crosstour is a contender with the Fiat Multipla for design fail.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Jeep deserves to win this one. Have you seen that truck? It's a work of beauty inside out. Reminds me of my WJ Jeep from when Chrysler was on top of its game with their dream team of designers/engineers.
      • 4 Years Ago
      YAWWWWNNN. Whoop-dee-doo, MT. We already know it's the JGC. Nice try on the hype, though (nah, not really)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Tuscon or Gr Cherokee. only two really making a splash for their redesigns
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think it will be the new Explorer. The Jeep is better, and deserves the win, but it isnt groundbreaking. MT has a history of picking winners that get the most press... and Ford's big departure from past Explorers is bigger news.

      Plus, I think the point is, the contenders they released so far are not the winners, I think it works like a countdown to the winner. But I could be wrong... I often am. LOL
      • 4 Years Ago
      Grand Cherekee is the best!
      • 4 Years Ago
      If that's the real SUV 'blurred', then could that any more obviously be the QX56?
        • 4 Years Ago

        el oh el
        • 4 Years Ago
        Geo is right, Jeep GC it will be.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The new GGC is SO awesome.

        I wish I had thirty some grand and 40 acres! =(
        • 4 Years Ago
        uh, that could easily be the santa fe.forgot it was redone as well.

        since MT likely wont pick between the siblings, I'll say Gr Cherokee unless as pointed out, that blurred image is the winner.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not arguing what it "should" be, I'm just saying that it looks awfully like the QX56, before it looks like the Santa Fe, IMO.
        • 4 Years Ago
        you are all so wrong.
        I shouldnt tell you that, but my friend works in mt and he told me that the winner is going to be the accord crosstour.
        I couldnt agree more.
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