AJAC Names Canadian Car of the Year Category Winners
Every year the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) announces its “Car of the Year Awards” to provide car drivers and students of automotive training in Toronto with sound, objective, comparative data that they can use to decide which new vehicles they would like to buy. Over 80 leading automotive writers from across Canada named finalists for the awards after five days of testing in October of 174 models, based on objective data and evaluation, and the twelve winners were announced on December 3rd. The country’s best-known automotive journalists recently gathered for “TestFest” in Niagara Falls, Ontario, driving vehicles in a category back to back on the same day and under the same “real world” conditions, on closed and public roads to ensure public relevance.
Mazda was a big winner this year, with three of its cars taking top honours, including the 2014 Mazda3 GS and Sport GT winning the Best Small Car Under and Over $21,000 respectively. The Mazda6 took down some tough competition, which included gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, in the Best New Family Car category. Each model uses SKYACTIV technologies to enhance powertrain efficiencies, reduce weight and improve aerodynamics.
Another carmaker winning multiple awards was Kia. The 2014 Kia Soul earned Best New Family Car under $30,000 and the Sorento walked away with Best New SUV ($35-60K). The all-new Cadenza was narrowly defeated by the Lexus IS 350 in the Best New Luxury Car under $50,000 category. Other luxury car winners were the Infiniti Q50 Hybrid and Mercedes-Benz’s completely redesigned S-Class.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has had quite a year already, living up to its immense hype by delivering 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and balancing its light body in perfect proportion. Adding to its accumulated accolades in a category popular among mechanic courses in Toronto, it beat out the all-new BMW 4 Series and the Porsche Cayman for Best Sports/Performance Car over $50,000.
Among the more rugged machines, the GMC Sierra picked up the Best Pickup award and the Acura MDX won Best New SUV over $60,000. After a 13 year hiatus, the Cherokee name returned to the Jeep SUV and did so in style, winning its respective category.
The voting system to determine AJAC’s winners is comprehensive, to say the least. Over 40,000 data fields are generated by the journalists, thoroughly analyzing and discussing details such as safety features and cargo capacity. The secret ballots are then counted by international accounting firm KPMG and kept confidential, even from AJAC, until the big public announcement. Surveys show that the AJAC awards are often used as a research resource by car buyers. After the Buick Enclave was voted Best New SUV in 2008, 74% of new Enclave buyers were aware that it was an AJAC winner, influencing their decision.
For those of you in automotive careers in Toronto keeping score, here are all the winners:
- Best New Small Car (under $21k) — Mazda3
- Best New Small Car (over $21k) — Mazda3 Sport
- Best New Family Car (under $30k) — Kia Soul
- Best New Family Car (over $30k) — Mazda6
- Best New Luxury Car (under $50k) — Lexus IS 350 RWD
- Best New Luxury Car (over $50k) — Infiniti Q50 Hybrid
- Best New Sports/Performance — Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
- Best New Prestige Car — Mercedes-Benz S Class
- Best New SUV/CUV (under $35k) — Jeep Cherokee
- Best New SUV/CUV ($35k to $60k) — Kia Sorento
- Best New SUV/CUV (over $60k) — Acura MDX
- Best Pickup — GMC Sierra
Here is a video recap!