The Kia Sorento, the top-selling and much-heralded midsize SUV of Kia Motors, emerged as the overwhelming public choice for "2010-11 Automobile of the Year" as officially proclaimed at the awards ceremonies of the BDO 2010-11 Auto Focus People's Choice Awards last Thursday, October 14 at the Valle Verde Country Club, Pasig City. The Kia Sorento also was voted as the "Midsize SUV of the Year" in the race for 12 "2010-11 Model of the Year" category awards.

Voting for this year's polls were done either through ballots that appeared every Wednesday on the motoring section of the Philippine Star, which registered the equivalent of 3 votes each, or via those that were printed in the July, August and September issues of Top Gear magazine that were counted as 5 votes each. On-line votes were also cast through the Auto Focus website and these were limited to only one vote per duly registered e-mail address during the 3-month nationwide public poll period.

In the other eleven 2010-11 Model of the Year categories, the winners were as follows:

The Kia Rio won the "Subcompact Sedan of the Year" award with the Toyota Vios as Runner-up. The newly-launched Chevy Cruze was the "Compact Sedan of the Year" with the Audi A4 as Runner-up. "Midsize Sedan of the Year" went to the recently introduced Hyundai Sonata with the Audi A6 in 2nd place. The Porsche Panamera Turbo became a back-to-back " Large Sedan of the Year" titlist with the BMW 7 Series in the next spot.

A tight contest for "Sports Car of the Year" honors saw last year's winner, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe retain the title via a slim margin of only 266 votes over the Runner-up, the Audi R8. The R8 was ahead in the Phil Star votes but was upended in the Top Gear and on-line voting.

And in another photo finish that was determined by a hairline margin of only 9 votes, the Isuzu Crosswind kept its' hold on the "AUV of the Year" for the 3rd consecutive year over the Toyota Innova, which last year was also voted as Runner-up.

The Kia Carens was again voted as "Minivan of the Year" over the runner-up Toyota Previa. And last year's Automobile of the Year, the Hyundai Starex earned the public's nod for "Full-size Van of the Year" with fellow Korean model the Kia Carnival as Runner-up, a similar one-two placing as last year.

For "Pickup of the Year" the Nissan Navara was the top pick with last year' s winner, the Mitsubishi Strada coming in as 2010-11 Runner-up.

The top-selling Hyundai Tucson won overwhelmingly over the soon-to-be-replaced Kia Sportage in the "Compact SUV of the Year" derby. The Tucson also garnered the second highest number of votes for the Automobile of the Year award. The same models similarly placed last year. The Mitsubishi Montero, 2009 winner of the "Midsize SUV of the Year" crown came out second to this year's awardee, the Kia Sorento. And finally, the Porsche Cayenne again topped the "Large SUV of the Year" category over the next-placed Chevrolet Suburban.

This year marks the 6th staging of the Auto Focus Automobile of the Year - People's Choice Awards which was presented by BDO. This annual exercise that empowers the car-owning public to express its choices and preferences among current-model automobiles available in the country was conceptualized and is organized by Sunshine Television (STV) through the initiative of its Chairman and CEO, Ray Butch Gamboa.

As Mr. Gamboa explained: "From 2005, the aim of the yearly public poll is not only to give the motoring public, including automobile buyers a chance to be heard but also for the manufacturers and importers of vehicles to have a general idea of what models appeal more to the local market."

Aside from the Auto Focus People's Choice awardees, special Media's Choice awards were also given out to automobile models that a select panel of motoring journalists voted on for their special unique features, performance and amenities.

The "2010-11 Auto Focus Special Media's Choice" awards were won by:

Isuzu Alterra - Best On-Board Entertainment Set-up
Honda Jazz - Most Functional Passenger Cabin
Lexus LS460 - Most Comfortable Ride
Volvo XC60 - Best Safety Features
Honda Jazz, Toyota Vios (co-winners) - Most Fuel-efficient (Gasoline)
Ford Focus TDCi - Most Fuel-efficient (Diesel)
Mitsubishi Montero Sport - Best Value for Money
Subaru Impreza WRX STI - Best Engine Performance
Subaru Legacy - Best Handling
Hyundai Genesis Coupe - Best Design

All the winners of the BDO 2010-2011 Auto Focus Automobile of the Year - People's Choice Awards shall be displayed in the up and coming Auto Focus Motor Show & Auto Expo, slated at the concert grounds of the SM Mall of Asia from November 4 to 7.