Countless hours of road testing, technical evaluations, and crunching numbers by the pageful has culminated in one night of excitement, as the Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI) kept automakers on the edge of their seats before announcing the top car in the market for 2010-2011. On April 7, 2011, the opening night of the 7th Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), CAGI crowned the Chevrolet Cruze 1.8 LT as the Philippines' 2010-2011 Car of the Year (COTY). A total of 24 cars were also recognized for their distinct qualities and values.

The title of Car of the Year is not for the fastest, cheapest, or most popular car in the market. Rather, it is an award for the car that best caters to the consumers. "2010 was a banner year for the automotive industry with sales of over 170,000 new vehicles, the best ever yet in recent automotive history, and that's what the Car of the Year is about: presenting the best of what the automotive industry has to offer to the Filipino car buyer," said Ferman Lao, CAGI President.

Cruze to the Top Spot

After being tried, tested, and almost completely man-handled on the race track, the Chevrolet Cruze 1.8 LT finally emerged the victor. Known to offer luxury for less, the Cruze has proven itself to not only sport good looks, but also bear superb performance. To add to that, it offers great value for money.

Everyone was dressed for the occasion and in high spirits, but it was a night of festivities particularly for The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), the official distributor of Chevrolet in the Philippines, as the Cruze was hailed for beating out over 60 other contenders for the top spot. TCCCI with their regional head honcho Martin Apfel (President of GM SEA Operations, GM Thailand, and Chevrolet Thailand) was in full attendance that night , roaring the loudest as the Car of The Year winner was announced. Apfel came from Thailand where the Chevrolet Cruze was recently crowned Thailand Car of The Year.

Winners in their Own Rights

Not all cars are created equal. With the changing of the times, man's best automated friend changes along with it. Small cars, big cars, and long cars are designed to fill in different shoes for different needs. "In our quest, we hope to help the Filipino car buyer make better informed choices when the time comes for them to purchase their next vehicle by giving recognition to the many outstanding products available in the local automotive market," adds Lao.

Winners in their own rights, the following vehicles have proven themselves to be the best in their respective categories:

Sub Compact Car - Ford Fiesta 1.4 Trend Hatchback
Compact Car - Chevrolet Cruze 1.8 LT
Mid Size Car - Hyundai Sonata 2.4 GLS Premium
Premium Mid Size Car - Jaguar XF TDV6
Sports Car/Sedan - Subaru Impreza WRX Sti Sedan
Sub Compact Crossover - Kia Soul
Compact Cross Over 2WD - Mitsubishi ASX GLS CVT
Compact Cross Over 4WD - Hyundai Tucson GLS R-eVGT
Mid Size Cross Over - Hyundai Sta. Fe 2.2L R eVGT 2wd
Premium Cross Over - Nissan Murano Z51
Van & MPV - Foton MPX Van
Premium Van & MPV - Toyota Alphard 3.5L V6
Mid Size SUV - Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLX 4x2
Pickup - Foton Blizzard 4x4 Turbo

Special awards acknowledge innovations and features unique to few cars. Presented by CAGI members, the Special Awards are as follows:

The Bosch Technical Innovation Award - The Lexus RX450h Hybrid System is recognized for its innovative implementation of the hybrid drive technology and using it not only for better economy, but to enable all wheel drive capability as well as better performance.

AAP Road Safety Award - The Volvo S60 T6 Pedestrian Detection System features automatic braking when a pedestrian is detected with the car is running under 30kmh.

Caltex Techron Green Car Award - The Toyota Prius is recognized for its pursuit of lower emissions in motor vehicles.

SpeedLab Tuner's Choice - The Suzuki SX4 is an affordable fun car that presents good value and aftermarket tenability.

Red Rock Travel Award - The Nissan Teana 250XV CVT is recognized for its unsurpassed comfort and stylishness that rivals those of more expensive vehicles'.

Brother's Burger Designer's Award - The KIA Sorento's avante garde styling pushes the boundaries of automotive design.

Clark International Speedway Motor Sports Award - Ford Group Philippines and Tuason Racing School are recognized for their continued support, development, and promotion of motor sports through the Tuason Racing School motor sports program.

Congo Grille Best Value - The Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 A/T is awarded for offering superb value in an affordable package with a long standing history for reliability.

All Terra Cyclery All Activity Vehicle - The Nissan X-Trail CVT's features exemplify the outdoor multi-sport active lifestyle.

Winner Graphics Most Affordable Vehicle - The Dong Feng Mini Bus is awarded for giving the market option to their needs that is priced within their means.

Among the attendees of the night were two of the Philippine automotive industry's most influential figures, namely Ms. Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. and President of Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID); and Ms. Elizabeth Lee, President of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI), and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Motors Corp. (UMC).

CAGI is a non-stock, non-profit organization of more than 50 motoring journalists from various print, broadcast, and online media outlets aiming to bring awareness to the Filipino car consumers through COTY.

The 2010 - 2011 COTY awards is presented by the Manila International Auto Show and is supported by the Clark International Speedway, SpeedLab, Caltex Techron, BOSCH, Worldbex, Ortigas Home Depot, Automotive Association of the Philippines, Congo Grille, Brother's Burgers, MG Madrid & Co., All Terra Cyclery, Red Rock Travel, Life Line Ambulance Rescue, and Winner Graphics with media partners Sunshine TV, Auto Extreme, Auto Review, Stoplight TV, Motoring Today, Auto Focus, 99.5RT, Jam 88.3, Wave 89.1,,,,, MotorCycle Magazine, Gadgets Magazine, Speed Magazine, C! Magazine, Power Wheels, Top Gear Philippines, Business World, Business Mirror, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Manila Standard Today, World News, The Philippine STAR, Daily Tribune, and Malaya Business Insights.