As in previous years, the Motor Trend editors drove, inspected, poked, prodded, spanked, and debated over a diverse group for the the 2001 Of the Year competitions. With the dawn of the new millennium, we are offering deeper looks into how the important decision is made, with an exhaustive article on the testing to compliment the winners story, MT TV coverage, and extensive MT Radio interviews. Online, we've put together behind-the-scenes videos and photo galleries to show the team in action.
Below are a handful of images from our dirt-flinging Sport/Utility of the Year testing. For more behind the scenes coverage, visit the Car and Truck of the Year galleries.
| With full tanks and bellies full of waffles, it's time to begin our TOY drive.
| We were impressed by the Hyundai Sante Fe, which inspired several discussions.
| SUVs are thirsty machines.
| Scott Mead chimed every 30 minutes for vehicle swap stops. No small task to find pull offs large enough to accommodate our caravan.
| While stopped, the staff scrawls notes, compares observations, and grabs road munchies.
| The SUVs are queued up to scale a hill for a combination test and television shot.
| Chris Walton keeps an eye out for the EMS crew expected to spatula David Newhardt's ear off the sticky asphalt.
| The mighty Mitsubishi Montero proves its off-road prowess for the cameras.
| The goal is to park near the next vehicle in rotation so you aren't running through 100 yards of molten desert sand to hop in your next ride.
| Go off road enough, and you will get a flat. John "Survivor" Kiewicz demonstrates his Car Craft-honed technical skills by changing the Pontiac Aztek tire.
| MT Television hosts C. Van Tune and Wendy Walsh do program standups during the competition, before the winner is even known. When aired, the show pulls the viewer through the competition as it unfolds.
| The fine-crafted Golden Caliper award is protected from evil doers by our pocket-sized, sugar-addled guard.
| After a can of spinach, Strongman Chuck Schifsky uses compact SUVs like barbells.
| Matt Stone collects quotes from Michelle Taylor and Chris Walton.
| Van Tune and John Kiewicz arrange the vehicles for a carefully orchestrated lead shot.
| As always, not all vehicles were in production at time of the testing. We had a couple hand-built, pre-production models on hand and their fit-and-finish was superb.
| The all-important final decision is hammered out in the field.