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AJAC announces “best new” winners for Canadian car of the year

The eight categories cover the full new-model spectrum


December 6, 2016
Purchasing B2B

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TORONTO—Eight “Best New” category winners were announced December 6 by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). The results were tabulated by KPMG, the accounting firm that works with the association and its Canadian Car of the Year awards.

The eight “Best New” categories cover the full new-model spectrum, including Best New Small Car, Best New Sports/Performance Car, and Best New Utility Vehicle. Most of these core categories are then further broken down into Small, Large and Premium to cover a wide range of types of vehicles.

The vehicles named will now compete for the overall Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year honours, which will be announced at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto next February. AJAC will also announce the winners of its Canadian Green Car of the Year awards at the Vancouver International Auto Show in March.

The category winners represent the voting results by the largest group of Canada’s best-known automotive journalists, who gathered this October in Clarington, Ontario for a four-day test-drive evaluation of brand-new or significantly changed models. The event, known as “TestFest,” was hosted by Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and welcomed Michelin, BF Goodrich, Canadian Black Book and the Steel Market Development Institute as partners, for this year’s program.

“TestFest is the most intensive new-vehicle evaluation process on the planet,” said Gary Grant, co-chair of the Canadian Car of the Year committee. “No other organization employs such stringent testing methods to determine its award winners.”

The testing program includes real-world driving on public roads so the test data and vote results are relevant to potential car and utility vehicle buyers. Over 60 automotive journalists each drove vehicles in their categories back-to-back on the same day, under the same conditions, to ensure fair and objective comparisons.

“Our program is absolutely testing-based,” said Justin Pritchard, co-chair of the Canadian Car of the Year committee. “We have dozens of experienced vehicle testers driving dozens of vehicles, back to back, over the course of several days. This testing process generated 1,384 test drives, producing over 100,000 data points and 1058 category ballots. It’s important to note that every aspect of this testing data is shared online via our website, so shoppers can see how any given vehicle won its category, or how it stacked up to the category winner.”

The winners are:

BEST NEW SMALL CAR
Hyundai Elantra, with 682 points, and scoring highest in Value.
2nd place Chevrolet Cruze with 680 points.
3rd place Subaru Impreza with 679 points.

BEST NEW LARGE CAR
Volkswagen Golf (Alltrack), with 680 points, and scoring highest in Exterior Styling, Throttle and Engine & Transmission Performance.
2nd place Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid with 674 points.
3rd place Kia Optima HEV with 672 points.

BEST NEW LARGE PREMIUM CAR
Buick LaCrosse, with 656 points, and scoring highest in Fuel Efficiency.
2nd place Volvo S90 with 655 points.
3rd place Mercedes-Benz E-Class (E 300 4MATIC) with 653 points.

BEST NEW SPORTS/PERFORMANCE CAR
Hyundai Elantra (Sport), with 682 points, and scoring highest in Occupant Environment and Ride Dynamics.
2nd place Ford Focus RS with 670 points.
3rd place Fiat 124 Spider with 637 points.

BEST NEW PREMIUM SPORTS/PERFORMANCE CAR
BMW M2, with 658 points, and scoring highest in Value.
2nd place Porsche 911 (Carrera 4S) with 656 points.
3rd place Mercedes-AMG C-Class Coupe (AMG C 63 S) with 648 points.

BEST NEW SMALL UTILITY
Subaru Forester, with 678 points, and scoring highest in Value, Off-Road Capability and Occupant Environnent.
2nd place Ford Escape with 670 points.
3rd place Kia Sportage with 664 points.

BEST NEW LARGE UTILITY
Chrysler Pacifica, with 664 points, and scoring highest in Interior Styling, Occupant Environnent and Ride Dynamics.
2nd place Mazda CX-9 with 663 points.
3rd place GMC Acadia with 634 points.

BEST NEW PREMIUM UTILITY VEHICLE
Mercedes-Benz GLC (GLC 300 4MATIC), with 658 points, and scoring highest in Value, Noise, Vibration and Harshness (N/V/H).
2nd place Buick Envision with 654 points.
3rd place Cadillac XT-5 with 650 points.