AAA Insurance Selects 13 Vehicles As Auto Guide Winners; Crossfire Named Cool Car

Orlando, Fla. – 2/23/2004

AAA Insurance has selected 13 vehicles as best in their class, naming them the 2004 AAA Auto Guide winners. The sporty new Chrysler Crossfire has been named AAA’s “Cool Car” of the year.

Twelve categories are based on vehicle cost and type, while one, the Cool Car category, is based on unique characteristics and styling. AAA’s team of evaluators chose the Chrysler Crossfire as the Cool Car for 2004 because it combines “striking design with exceptionally satisfying performance that is sure to make any driving enthusiast smile.”

Other winning 2004 models are:
Mercedes-Benz S-Class (over $50,000)
Lexus LS 430 ($40,000-$50,000)
BMW 5 Series ($35,000-$40,000)
Audi A6 ($30,000-$35,000)
Infiniti G35 ($25,000-$30,000)
Toyota Avalon ($20,000-$25,000)
Honda Accord ($15,000-$20,000)
Mazda3 (under $15,000)
Lexus GX 470 (SUV over $30,000)
Nissan Murano (SUV under $30,000)
Honda Odyssey (Minivan)
Ford F-150 (Truck)
While the overall testing is objective, there are two components of the judging process that are intrinsically subjective: value and what AAA calls the “Wow Factor.” The “Wow Factor” reflects a vehicle’s head-turning, excitement-generating potential.

“When you buy a car there’s an emotional component,” said Jim MacPherson, reviewer and project editor for AAA Auto Guide: 2004 New Cars and Trucks. “Do you feel the car is a logical extension of you? ‘Wow’ is the car’s emotional appeal.”

Value is determined by how much the car has delivered for the price paid. Quality of construction, component quality, workmanship, vehicle performance, and design are all weighed against price.

Several of the models have won best in class before. For the past three years, Honda Odyssey has been judged the best minivan and the BMW 5- Series has been the best car in its price range. For the past six years the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has won its category.

“This reoccurrence shows how much consideration designers are giving consumers,” said MacPherson. “When a car continues to redevelop and grow with trends and consumers’ tastes, it becomes more exceptional than the rest.”

For each of the 200 vehicles rated this year, 2004 New Cars and Trucks features a written review, an overall score, photos, specifications, options and pricing information. Some vehicles also receive a “second opinion” review.

“This book is designed to be a helpful resource in the search for a new vehicle,” said MacPherson. “It provides valuable information and allows consumers to narrow the list of vehicles they want to test drive.”

AAA Auto Guide: 2004 New Cars and Trucks is available at AAA offices and at bookstores. It retails for $14.95 US/$23.95 CDN.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 46 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

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