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CHICAGO — In an effort to pinpoint specific vehicles that best match typical consumer behaviors and tastes, Cars.com recently made choices for its 2010 Lifestyle Awards.

The vehicle the site picked as its Family Car of the Year is the 2010 Ford Flex, while its Work Car of the Year was another vehicle from Ford, the 2010 F-150. Cars.com went with the 2010 Toyota Prius as the Eco-Friendly Car of the Year, and the honor for Play Car of the Year was given to the 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Besides those overall highlights, site editors also praised other vehicles that fell into those categories such as best for work or for a family.

When considering what the site declared among best Eco-Friendly Cars, editors mentioned that they reviewed gas/electric hybrids, diesel vehicles and a few fuel-sipping, gas-only units.

— Cars.com Best Deal for Eco-Friendly Drivers: 2010 Toyota Yaris.

As the topic switched back to family rides, Cars.com reiterated that needs and sizes of families can vary greatly.

— Cars.com Best Car for Small Families: 2010 Subaru Forester.

— Cars.com Best Deal for Small Families: 2010 Ford Fusion.

— Cars.com Best Car for Large Families: 2010 Ford Flex.

— Cars.com Best Deal for Large Families: 2010 Toyota Sienna.

— Cars.com Best Car for First-Time Drivers: 2010 Honda Fit.

— Cars.com Best Deal for First-Time Drivers: 2010 Toyota Yaris.

When choosing top work vehicles, site editors contended that units in this category also could include a wide spectrum. It could range from commuter units, vehicles to haul people and more as well as a selection for the company's top executive.

— Cars.com Best Car for Commuters: 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

— Cars.com Best Deal for Commuters: 2010 Toyota Corolla.

— Cars.com Best Car for Hard Workers: 2010 Ford F-150.

— Cars.com Best Deal for Hard Workers: 2010 Toyota Tacoma.

— Cars.com Best Car for The Boss: 2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

— Cars.com Best Deal for The Boss, 2010 Hyundai Genesis.

Furthermore, when it's time to go on vacation or enjoy the weekend, Cars.com found vehicles that can meet a variety of demands for leisure or excitement.

— Cars.com Best Car for Sun Lovers: 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

— Cars.com Best Deal for Sun Lovers: 2010 Jeep Wrangler.

— Cars.com Best Car for Off Roaders: 2010 Jeep Wrangler.

— Cars.com Best Deal for Off Roaders: 2010 Subaru Forester.

— Cars.com Best Car for Weekend Athletes: 2010 Honda Element.

— Cars.com Best Deal for Weekend Athletes: 2010 Subaru Impreza.

— Cars.com Best Fun to Drive Car: 2010 BMW M3.

— Cars.com Best Deal for Fun to Drive Cars: 2010 Mazda3.

Patrick Olsen, editor in chief at Cars.com, explained that the site created this listing to guide consumers to the best vehicle that fulfills the requirements they deem most important.

"Cars.com recognizes that buying a car is a huge investment and it's essential for consumers to make the right decision," Olsen pointed out.

"While some consumers know exactly what vehicle or type of vehicle they want, some just know they need a new car," he continued.

"Our Lifestyle Buying Guide lets shoppers search for cars across many different categories, allowing them to compare sedans to trucks to SUVs to minivans to find the car that best matches their intended driving experience," Olsen added.

While recounting the site's top choices, Cars.com also shared more commentary about each of the four vehicles that headlined its lifestyle picks.

Cars.com Eco-Friendly Car of the Year 2010 Toyota Prius

"The third-generation Prius improves upon a model that effectively transformed the nameplate into an American mainstay. The new Prius packs more power and better gas mileage — 50 mpg in combined EPA estimates. Best of all, it now feels like a substantial car, ready for family outings or interstate road trips. While there are more fuel efficient options than ever before, there's no denying this: The Prius is still the most fuel-efficient, gas-powered, mass-produced car you can buy."

Cars.com Family Car of the Year: 2010 Ford Flex

"Ford's Flex crossover didn't start to sell like hotcakes after we named it Family Car of the Year last year, and we're still not sure why it isn't winning over more people. We can't count the number of times that car shoppers ask us to recommend a minivan or SUV alternative to haul the family, and the Flex is our choice for that perfect alternative. We've gone so far as loading up one of our own families on a cross-country roadtrip in the Flex, where the comfort lifted it to victory over its competition."

Cars.com Work Car of the Year: 2010 Ford F-150

"Not only does the F-150 have the kind of stout capability you demand from a pickup, but it brings to the segment useful technology features to make your life on the job easier. Ford redesigned the F-150 last year, giving it a stronger frame and more powerful V-8 engines. The changes mean this pickup has some serious towing capability. When your office is the cab of a pickup truck, it has to meet more than the needs of the everyday, and the Ford F-150 does."

 Cars.com Play Car of the Year: 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata

"Yep, if you went to a racetrack you'd find cars faster than the Miata. But you don't on a racetrack, so don't you think it'd be better to have a car that's fun to drive to the grocery store? Meet your car. It's so low-slung that you'd be forgiven for thinking you're getting into a racecar. The gearshift is super-slick, and the steering is so quick you think your way through turns. Throw the top down, blip the throttle and head out anywhere. Before you know it, you'll be shifting up through the gears just so you can shift back down again. You'll find yourself going miles out of your way to find a curvy road. It really is that much fun. If you don't have a smile on your face after driving this car, seek professional help."