Editors at Popular Mechanics today announced the winners of the magazine’s 2010 Automotive Excellence Awards, and Ford Motor Company set a precedent, winning more categories in a single year than any other automaker in the history of the awards.

The Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Awards recognize the best in automotive design, execution and technology for 2010 model year vehicles in 10 categories. Ford’s Mustang Shelby GT500 won the award in the Performance category, Transit Connect took top honors in the Workhorse category and F-150 SVT Raptor earned the award in the Off-Road Ability category.

“Ford’s sweep of three categories in this year’s awards speaks to the onslaught of great products coming from Dearborn,” said Ben Stewart, automotive editor, Popular Mechanics.

Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company, accepted the awards on behalf of the Ford team.

“This important recognition reflects the strength and diversity of the Ford product lineup,” said Kuzak. “From a performance car to a workhorse vehicle to an off-road pickup, Ford is building quality products that people really want.”

To determine award winners, Stewart says editors of Popular Mechanics travel the globe and spend thousands of miles behind the wheel of every new car and truck introduced by the world’s automakers. After months of hands-on testing and research, the team nominates a list of vehicles in each category, then votes on the winners.

2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 – Performance Category Winner

The editors of Popular Mechanics describe the Mustang Shelby GT500 as a new superpower to contend with in the 21st-century muscle car wars.

“The Mustang Shelby GT500 – with its incredibly potent 5.4-liter V-8 engine – certainly impressed us,” said Stewart. “But it was Ford Special Vehicle Team’s (SVT) refinement of the chassis that made our staff declare the GT500 the best Mustang in the model’s long 45-year history.”

2010 Ford Transit Connect – Workhorse Category Winner

Popular Mechanics editors praise the Ford Transit Connect as a fresh alternative to a full-size van that is packaged to address the pressures of the economy, urban congestion and fluctuating gas prices.

“It was the brilliant combination of the Transit Connect’s efficient use of space – and fuel – that won over our team,” said Stewart. “This vehicle proves that small vehicles can handle big jobs, and it comes at an ideal time when contractors and other business owners are looking to downsize and save on fuel.”

2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor – Off-Road Ability Category Winner

“The most extreme high-speed 4×4 pickup ever produced,” is the way editors of Popular Mechanics describe Ford’s F-150 SVT Raptor.

“We spent time riding along with Ford SVT engineers at near race speeds and had a chance to climb behind the wheel of the truck ourselves,” said Stewart. “For the avid off-roader, the Raptor is the truck we’ve all been waiting for.”

Stewart says he was particularly impressed with the tuning of Raptor’s long-travel suspension.

“It soaks up high-speed desert terrain better than any production pickup truck we’ve driven,” he said.


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