More than 100 elite athletes will gather Oct. 18-19 to serve as automotive judges for the 10th annual Carspondent.com Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards at Local Motors in Chandler, Arizona. In this unique competition, athletes from around the nation – who participate regularly in such sports as running, bicycling, soccer, baseball, kayaking and triathlon – are teamed up with automotive journalists to evaluate new cars, trucks and SUVs, and decide which ones best fit their special Active Lifestyle Vehicle needs. The goal is to choose the vehicles in several classes that best exemplify what active people want from their own vehicles, such as toting bicycles, kayaks, or any other gear they need to pursue their sporting interests. Ergonomics are critically important to these athletes, who push their bodies to the limit.
Each vehicle to be evaluated was chosen by an ALV jury panel as a finalist because of its appeal for people with active lifestyles. The winners receive the official brand of Active Lifestyle Vehicle, an honor that the auto manufacturers can then use in their showrooms. “For the past 10 years, athletes and journalists have come together to create a forum for automobile manufacturers to learn how to create Active Lifestyle Vehicles,” said Nina Russin, longtime automotive journalist, distance runner and co-founder of the Carspondent.com Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the YearÒ awards. “These are real athletes who decide what an Active Lifestyle Vehicle is. It’s honest feedback from the people who would use the product.” The other co-founders of the ALV awards are Bob Babbitt, a member of the Ironman Hall of Fame, and Jim Woodman, longtime journalist, triathlete and founder of Active.com.
The test drives and awards presentations happen at Local Motors, a boutique manufacturer of high-end off-road vehicles designed for top performance. Some of the trucks and SUVs in the ALV competition will be tested on the company’s complex off-road course. Local Motors is contributing a special feature for the 10th anniversary competition. The company, which uses open sourcing for much of its highly original work, is hosting a vehicle-design challenge for its global community of designers and engineers, who are tasked with creating the ultimate Active Lifestyle Vehicle. The athletes in the ALV event help choose the winner.
Another highlight is the participation of a number of retired professional players from the Arizona Legends of retired National Football League players in Arizona. They are: Frank Sanders and Bernard Wilson, Arizona Cardinals; Tony Bouie, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Steve Honden, Cleveland Browns; and Mark Walczak, San Diego Chargers.
Members of the media are invited to attend a special preview of the Carspondent.com Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards from 3-5 pm on Oct.18, which include test drives and opportunities to speak with the manufacturers’ representatives. The preview is sponsored by the Phoenix Automotive Press Association.