Motor Trend today announced the selection of the Volkswagen Touareg as Motor Trend's 2004 Sport/Utility of the Year.

"We are delighted to recognize the quality, performance, and value of the Volkswagen Touareg with our Sport/Utility of the Year award," said Kevin Smith, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend. "We're proud of the significance the Motor Trend awards have in the automotive community and we value the faith our readers and the general public place in our judgment. This year, that judgment reveals the Touareg to be the leader in the highly diverse field of sport/utilities."

Motor Trend's editorial staff selected this year's winner from a field of 13 vehicles, after comprehensive testing and evaluation. Eligible vehicles were new or substantially redesigned sport/utilities scheduled to be on sale by January 1, 2004. Contenders included: BMW X3, Buick Rainier, Cadillac SRX, Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Durango, GMC Envoy XUV, Infiniti FX35/45, Lexus RX 330, Mitsubishi Endeavor, Nissan Murano, Nissan Pathfinder Armada, Porsche Cayenne and the Volkswagen Touareg.

"The Volkswagen Touareg impressed our editorial staff with its combination of refinement and sheer capability," said Smith. "It effectively addresses the needs and desires of a large segment of consumers looking for high-flexibility family transportation. We at Motor Trend feel the Touareg substantially raises the standard in this market segment this year."

"We are thrilled that Volkswagen's first sport utility effort has risen to the occasion and endured the rigorous testing of the Motor Trend editors," said Frank Maguire, vice president in charge of sales and marketing, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "We are honored to receive one of the most prestigious and revered awards in the automotive industry."

About the Testing and Evaluation Process
Each year, the editorial staff of Motor Trend evaluates eligible vehicles based on three key categories: Significance, Superiority, and Value. Significance refers to impact on the market and looks for mastery and innovation in engineering, technology, design, safety and packaging, as well as envisioned sales forecasts for that model line. Superiority levels the playing field and looks for class-leading levels of performance, style, and value within its specific competitive set -- not among all new vehicles. Finally, the all-important Value question asks, "What does this vehicle deliver in relation to what the consumer has to pay to purchase and own it?"

"Our readers place great trust in the Motor Trend brand, in our evaluation and assessment of new vehicles and in our editorial standards," said Smith. "As a result, Motor Trend's seal of approval weighs heavily with consumers and we're very proud of that."

The complete report on the Motor Trend 2004 Sport/Utility of the Year testing and selection will be published in the December issue of Motor Trend (on newsstands November 4, 2003). Multimedia coverage of the testing and selection process will appear on Motor Trend Television, hosted by feature editor John Matthius. Motor Trend Online will post a behind the scenes photo gallery and wallpaper in November.