The Honda Civic, which in its latest incarnation offers drivers a more sleek and upscale take on the popular compact car, has claimed the honor of 2006 Car of the Year from Motor Trend magazine.

All four new Civic models — a sedan, a coupe, a high-performance model called the Si and a gasoline-electric hybrid — were given the award.

"Honda deserves a standing ovation for not playing it safe again," Motor Trend's editor in chief, Angus MacKenzie, said in a statement Tuesday. "The engineering passion that Honda ... was founded on radiates from these new Civics."

Motor Trend editors put the Civics through two weeks of track testing, performance drives and walk-around appraisals. The magazine chooses its top car based in part on value, standing in its class and significant developments.

"With their bold, contemporary styling and innovative technology, the new Civics are primed for success in one of the most competitive market segments in the country," Motor Trend said in its announcement.

Motor Trend picked its Car of the Year from a field of 28 new models, including the Audi A3, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac DTS, Chevrolet HHR, Dodge Charger, Ford Fusion, Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Pontiac Solstice, Toyota Avalon and the Volkswagen Jetta and Passat.

Last year's winner was the Chrysler 300, the uniquely styled sedan that attracted buyers from rappers to grandmothers. Last month, the publication named Nissan's Xterra its sport utility vehicle of the year.

Motor Trend plans to announce its truck of the year in December.