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USA: UT San Diego Best of Show awards

This is the seventh or eighth annual group of winners for the Maynard’s Garage Tour of the San Diego International Auto Show. Readers enter an online contest for a chance to get into the show an hour early on opening day. (J. Daniel Jones photo)

The UT San Diego kicked off a new feature at the recent San Diego International Auto show, Dec. 29 to 31. In addition to our display of fine automotive artwork (more than 30 pieces, including a full-size car sculpture made of eucalyptus branches), we held People’s Choice voting.

There were six categories for which participants could weigh in and be entered to win $500 in gasoline cars. And congrats to Mary Granger, who was selected by the computer to win the gas cards.

The award categories and winners are:

Best Pickup: Ford F-150

Best Off-Roader: Jeep Wrangler

Best Ride and Drive Experience: Toyota

Best Green Vehicle: Toyota Prius V

Best Sports Car: BMW M-Series

Best Family Vehicle: Honda CR-V

We also had four “juried” awards that were selected by me, KUSI-TV car expert Dave Stall and some from my seventh annual Maynard’s Garage Tour, another UT San Diego perk that is held opening day before the show opens to the masses.

The juried awards are:

Best Green Vehicle: CODA Automotive. This upstart and start-up EV company based in Santa Monica is promoting a five-passenger electric sedan that has about a 150-mile real-world driving range. The company made news by announcing its first U.S. retail outlet is Marvin K. Brown in Mission Valley. The CODA display was large, there was active participant engagement and there was a ride and drive. (The close second was Ford for its Focus electric and the factory option for a home solar-charging system.)

Best Innovation: Mazda Skyactiv Technology. This is an engine, driveline and body-structure engineering feat that will reshape the company going forward. The new engine design features extremely high compression and 40 mpg highway on 87 octane fuel.

Best of Show: Street Legal Bumper Cars. The world’s only motorcycle-engine-powered vintage bumper cars are created by a San Diego County collector, which meant this show had an exclusive feature. He also brought a complete display of vintage bumper-car memorabilia. (It was the owner’s wish to leave the car’s open, but they received so much love and attention that he had to have them roped off.)

Best Manufacturer Display: Ford. There were more than five 2013 models on view and the show space was expansive. (Its show of force is always next to Toyota, which was the close second for an active and interactive display.)


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