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By February of each year, we are always right in the middle of awards season, and no, we're not talking about the Golden Globes, Grammys or Oscars. We are, of course, referring to Car and Truck of the Year awards, Ten Best lists and the like. A brace of trophies had already been handed out at the Detroit Auto Show and here at the Chicago Auto Show, a few more champions were crowned. As you might imagine, Toyota is usually an oft-mentioned brand during this time of year, but we figured this year might be a little different.

Coming on the heels of several high profile recall announcements by Toyota, one might expect the once-bulletproof Japanese carmaker to at least get more careful consideration when handing out the hardware. Well, even if they have gone through closer scrutiny, that hasn't stopped multiple outlets from still rewarding them for their products. Television show MotorWeek just announced their Drivers' Choice Award winners, and the Toyota Prius is their choice for best Eco-Friendly vehicle. It also claimed the title of Best of the Year overall, making it their top pick of the 2010 models.

Other category winners are listed below and there's a long press release after the jump that includes a statement by MotorWeek host and producer John Davis. While it was probably difficult to change their minds so late in the game, the statement by Davis explaining their rationale in choosing the Prius seems to have been written some time before Toyota started making so many headlines: "If you can only buy one car for your family, the 2010 Prius is the one," said Davis. "The Prius is a no-compromise vehicle that offers impressive efficiency, cutting edge technology, smart packaging and truly iconic styling."

While all of that might still apply, it's bad timing if nothing else to be handing out a top award to the Prius. In that spirit, Davis added an additional statement to clarify and defend the show's selection. In it he explained that while MotorWeek had two different Prius hybrids in their care for several months, nothing ever went wrong with them and that the show is confident that the problems will be satisfactorily addressed by Toyota.

MotorWeek was certainly not alone on that front however, as Toyota has recently been lauded by several other organizations as well. In Japan, for instance, Toyota was honored with a government energy efficiency award. Interestingly, the company chose to decline that award, though, saying that "the honor is not appropriate for a car hit by massive recalls," according to MSNBC.

Without further ado, here are the MotorWeek Drivers' Choice Award winners:
* Best Small Car: Mazda3
* Best Family Sedan: Ford Taurus
* Best Luxury Sedan: Buick LaCrosse
* Best Small Utility: Chevrolet Equinox
* Best Large Utility: Honda Pilot
* Best Pickup Truck: Ram 1500/2500/3500
* Best Eco-Friendly: Toyota Prius
* Best Sport Sedan: BMW 3-Series
* Best Sport Coupe: Chevrolet Camaro
* Best Performance Car: Audi S4
* Best Convertible: Nissan 370Z Roadster
* Best Dream Machine: Audi R8 5.2 FSI/Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG​
 
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