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Audi & Jeep Win Big in Active Lifestyle Vehicle Awards

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author photo by Nick Palermo October 2011

Selected from a field of 32 finalists, vehicles in seven categories were chosen winners of the eighth annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle (ALV) of the Year Awards, which recognize cars, trucks, and SUVs well-suited to outdoor activities and sports. A panel of automotive journalists and elite and local athletes selected winners based on overall design, engine power, fuel efficiency and cargo capability.

Subaru, Volkswagen and Mazda picked up an award each. But the big winners were Audi and Jeep, who collectively dominated in over half the categories, claiming two awards each.

The sporty, five-door Audi A7 combines sedan and wagon styling and was chosen the best Luxury On-Road vehicle. Its unique design adds functionality suitable to hauling outdoor gear and unmatched in most sedans, yet the A7 has a sleek look absent in the average wagon. With a 310-horsepower V6 and 28mpg highway rating, the A7 has the credentials to overcome finalists like the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon or the Range Rover Evoque.

Audi also won in the Family category with the Q7, the brand's luxury SUV. The diesel-powered TDI version collects Audi's second award, likely owing to its 25-mpg highway rating, capable diesel motor and abundant space for gear or up to seven passengers. The feature-packed Q7 triumphed over two minivans and the GMC Acadia Denali, a crossover SUV.

Jeep won two awards competing on its home turf - off-road. Grand Cherokee picked up the ALV award for the Luxury Off-Road category, while Wrangler was named Best Value Off-Road.

While some automakers have softened their vehicles' off-road capabilities to make them more highway-friendly, Jeep continues to offer vehicles with unparalleled trail proficiency. Yet even the once-Spartan Wrangler is now a civilized vehicle suitable to both rock crawling or everyday driving. The Grand Cherokee features Jeep's Selec-Terrain, allowing the driver to choose the best 4x4 configuration for the situation. The Wrangler's competition included the Nissan Xterra and Toyota Tacoma. The Grand Cherokee beat out a Land Rover and Lexus' big LX 570, among others.

The versatile, class-of-its-own Mazda5 won in the Urban category. The Best Value On-Road award went to Subaru for the Impreza. Rounding out the competition, the 42mpg highway-rated Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI picked up the Green category award.

According to the Outdoor Industry Foundation, a non-profit that encourages outdoor sports, over 137 million Americans participated in outdoor activities last year. Sometimes this involves simply walking out the door, but more often, getting out means loading up the gear and driving to that ideal location. These seven vehicles will take you to the trailhead with the best of them, and a few will easily take you beyond.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Audi & Jeep Win Big in Active Lifestyle Vehicle Awards - Autotrader