The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s (AJAC) Canadian Car of the Year awards for top car and top utility vehicle have been narrowed down to three finalists in each category.
The Honda Civic, Volkswagen Golf R and VW Golf Sportwagon will be up for the title of 2016 Canadian Car of the Year, while the 2016 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year award will be bestowed upon the Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-3 or Volvo XC90.
The six finalists were shortlisted from the nine “Best New” category winners announced in fall 2015. The Civic was named Best New Small Car, the Golf R won Best New Sports/Performance Car (under $50,000) and the Golf Sportwagon topped the Best New Family Car Category.
Although pickup trucks were included under the Utility Vehicle banner, with the Chevrolet Silverado winning Best New Pickup, the three finalists were voted tops in the three SUV/CUV categories, with Sorento topping the $35,000 - $60,000 category, the Mazda CX-3 leading the under $35,000 class, and the XC90 best in class for over $60,000.
The other category winners were the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S in Best New Sports/Performance Car (over $50,000) and the Mercedes-AMG GT S Coupe in Best New Prestige/Performance Car. To qualify for the year’s categories, vehicles must be all new or significantly changed.
The category winners were chosen following four days of evaluations, widely known as TestFest, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Clarington, Ontario by 71 of Canada’s best known auto writers, representing many print, broadcast and online media outlets. The evaluation process involves back to back testing of category vehicles on public roads, as well as on track and off-road closed courses for certain categories
“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.”
“Our program is absolutely testing-based,” added Justin Pritchard, co-chair of the committee. “We have experienced vehicle testers driving dozens of vehicles, back to back, over the course of several days. This testing process generated 1,911 test drives, producing over 110,000 data points and 1701 category ballots.
“It’s important to note that every aspect of this testing data is shared online via (the ajac.ca) website, so shoppers can see how any given vehicle won its category, or how it stacked up to the category winner,” concluded Pritchard.