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Thule Announces Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI and Ford Explorer Limited 2011 Road Trip Vehicles of the Year

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SEYMOUR, CT--May 26, 2011 -- Thule announces this year's winners of the 2011 Thule Road Trip Vehicle of the Year. Both the cars provide the perfect combination of fun, utility, safety and conveniences when heading out on a road trip. Both vehicles also score high in the criteria that is on everybody's mind -- gas consumption.

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is the unofficial start of summer vacation travel for many families and friends. This year, more people will be getting into their vehicles and heading out on summer vacations and road trips. Having a safe, comfortable and fun vehicle is essential to truly enjoying the journey.

To honor the great American road trip, Thule, world leader in products that make it easy for people to transport their equipment securely, safely and in style, is proud to announce their awards for their 2011 Thule Road Trip Vehicles of the Year. This distinction is reserved for automobiles in two categories - above and below $30,000 -- that provide the perfect combination of fun, utility, gas mileage, safety and conveniences for a family or group of four taking an epic road trip.

"Gas prices are on everyone's minds this year. Both the vehicles we have chosen not only scored highly on all our criteria, but are also on the lower-end on gas consumption," commented Karl Wiedemann, Thule's Channel Marketing Manager.

Thule bases the decision on 11 unique criteria including styling, storage, gas mileage, size, comfort, cost, number of cup holders, number of speakers, warranty, entertainment features and safety.

Under $30,000 2011 Thule Road Trip Vehicle of the Year -- Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI

Starting at just under $25,000 the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI is a great combination of value, style and utility. This small wagon comes with raised roof rails which makes adding a rack for bikes, skis, cargo, surfboards or kayaks a breeze. This is the second win for this vehicle in the last three years.

"For around $25,000 you can get a fun-to-drive wagon that gets 42mpg on the highway. The peppy engine makes for a spirited drive while the interior cabin space is comfortable and intuitive. The raised rail on the roof provided many roof rack positions to maximize the amount of gear we were able to transport," remarked Tripp Wyckoff, Thule's VP of Sales, Marketing and Service.

Over $30,000 2011 Thule Road Trip Vehicle of the Year -- Ford Explorer Limited

Ford completely reworked the Explorer for 2011. With seating for up to seven, EPA highway mileage of 23mpg and the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds, the Ford Explorer Limited was a clear winner. When not towing, the receiver hitch can be used to transport up to five bicycles with the addition of a Thule hitch rack.

"The Explorer was an amazingly capable vehicle weekend road trip to Vermont this past winter. Our road conditions varied from snow to ice to muddy dirt road to dry pavement and the Explorer felt confident in all these conditions. With a price tag just above $40,000, the Explorer has a luxurious feel and all four occupants had plenty of space for ski gear and snacks," said Wiedemann.

About Thule

The Thule brand was established in Sweden in 1942. Thule is now a premium brand that is used around the world. Under the motto Bring your life, Thule offers a wide assortment of accessories to simplify the transportation of your gear and equipment in a secure, safe and stylish way. Roof racks, bike and water sport carriers, roof boxes, accessories for recreational vehicles, trailers for the active life (horses, boats etc), snow chains as well as luggage bags and boxes are just some examples of what Thule currently offers.

Thule is the largest brand in the Thule Group