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Feb 09, 2005

Autobytel Announces 2005 Editors’ Choice Awards

Autobytel Announces 2005 Editors’ Choice Awards

Chicago, Ill - February 9, 2005 – Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTLE), the most visited automotive property on the Internet , today announced its 2nd annual Editors’ Choice Awards, presented to makers of the 2005 models that offer the best combination of value, quality, design, and performance on the market, according to the editors and automotive analysts of Autobytel’s websites, autobytel.com, autoweb.com, car.com, carsmart.com, autosite.com and autoahorros.com.

“With over 50 years of combined automotive analysis experience, our awards panel lives and breathes cars – providing our shoppers with in-depth specification information, hands-on test drives and reviews of every new model that hits the market,” said Autobytel Inc. President and CEO Jeffrey Schwartz. “The Autobytel Editors' Choice Awards offer consumers a listing of the vehicles that these veteran automotive experts most strongly recommend for real world car buyers – the models they’d personally recommend for their family and friends.”

Autobytel analysts selected their 2005 vehicle nominations primarily on practical car-buying considerations like value, safety, design, quality and, performance. Award categories are designed to provide a top pick for car buyers with a range of buying priorities – from fuel-efficiency and family driving, to affordability, style, or just plain fun. In most categories, vehicle contestants were limited to 2004 and 2005 models that initially went on sale after Feb. 1, 2004 and before Feb. 1, 2005.

2005 Autobytel Editors’ Choice Award Winner Highlights

2005 Car of the Year – Chrysler 300 – Value is a product of two factors: 1) what you pay, and 2) what you get. According to this formula, the Chrysler 300, starting at $22,000, offers the best overall value of any new car on the market, delivering luxury-class styling, engineering, and performance at a mid-level sticker price. The “X-factor,” however, is a more intangible, emotional quality – a solidity and sophistication that makes it a car you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Despite its generous sedan styling, it also gets surprisingly respectable gas mileage, delivering 21/28 mpg with the base level 2.7 liter V6 and 19/21 for the 3.5-liter, 250-horse, 250-lb.-ft. V6 motor. Stepping into the Chrysler 300 C, with its 350 horsepower Hemi engine, or the new SRT-8 with 450 Hemi-horses may add to the price tag, but they will satisfy any desire for extraordinary power.

2005 Truck of the Year – Toyota Tacoma – The totally redesigned 2005 Tacoma simply packs the most truck into the smallest sticker price with a variety of body/engine/drivetrain configurations, a smooth, comfortable ride, good gas mileage, Toyota-grade reliability, and brass-tack truck features like tiedown rails, dent-proof lining, and excellent towing capabilities (up to 6500 lbs.) – all starting at just about $14,000.

2005 Hybrid of the Year – Ford Escape Hybrid – Sure, there are other hybrids on the road, some which run faster and get better gas mileage and cost less. But there are no other hybrids that offer family-driving convenience with significant fuel savings and clear skies technology. Simply put, this SUV makes the hybrid fit into our lifestyles – not the other way around.

For complete Editors’ Choice reviews, log onto http://www.autobytel.com/content/shared/articles/templates/index.cfm/article_id_int/314 or contact Joe Foster at 323.960.1360 #24, ext. 13 or joe@rbicom.com.

Winners in additional categories
SUV of the Year – Land Rover LR3
Best New Small Car – Scion tC
Best New Midsize Car – Subaru Legacy
Best New Large Car – Chrysler 300
Best New Luxury Car Under $75,000 – Acura RL
Best New Convertible Under $75,000 – Porsche Boxster
Best New Sports Car Under $75,000 – Chevrolet Corvette
Best New Minivan – Honda Odyssey
Best New Small SUV – Jeep Grand Cherokee
Best New Midsize SUV – Nissan Pathfinder
Best New Small Pickup – Toyota Tacoma
Best New Large Pickup – Dodge Ram Power Wagon
Best New Dream Car Over $75,000 – Aston Martin DB9
Best Car for the Environment – Ford Escape Hybrid
Best Family Car – Dodge Grand Caravan
Best Car for Teen Drivers – Scion tC
Most Improved New Car for 2005 – Ford Mustang
Most Fun New Car for 2005 – Chevrolet Corvette
Most Stylish New Car for 2005 – Chrysler Crossfire

The Autobytel Editors’ Choice Awards are one of two annual industry citations presented by the company. Autobytel’s Consumer Choice Awards are presented to the automakers that build the vehicles which are requested most by Autobytel’s millions of annual web visitors, based on Purchase Request data generated throughout the year.

About Autobytel Inc.
Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTLE), a leading Internet automotive marketing services company, helps retailers sell cars and manufacturers build brands through marketing, advertising, data and CRM (customer relationship management) products and programs. The Company owns and operates the automotive websites Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Car.com, Carsmart.com and AutoSite.com, as well as AIC (Automotive Information Center), a trusted industry source of automotive marketing data and technology for over 20 years. Autobytel is also a leader in dealership lead management and CRM solutions and owns and operates AVV, Inc., a top provider of dealership CRM and sales management products, and Retention Performance Marketing, Inc. (RPMâ), which powers dealerships with cutting-edge customer loyalty and retention marketing programs. As the Internet's largest new car buying service, Autobytel generates over a billion dollars a month in car sales for dealers through its services and was the most visited new car buying and research destination in 2004, reaching millions of car shoppers as they made their vehicle buying decisions. Autobytel's car-selling sites and lead management products are used by more of the nation's top-100 e-dealers than any other program.

Contact:
Autobytel Inc. Media Relations

Melanie Webber, Autobytel Inc., 949.862.3023 (melaniew@autobytel.com)
Betsy Smith Isroelit, RBI Communications, 323.960.1360, ext. 17 (betsy@rbicom.com)
Joe Foster, RBI Communications, 323.960.1360, ext. 13 (joe@rbicom.com)