AJAC Car, Utility of the Year down to 3

Civic, Golfs up for Car award; Kia, Mazda, Volvo vie for SUV award

Published: January 14, 2016, 3:45 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 1:15 PM

AJAC TestFest 2016 - AJAC TestFest 2016

Best New Small Car: Honda Civic Sedan - The Honda Civic Sedan won Best New Small Car with a score of 709 point.  It earned top scores in styling, appearance, ride comfort and handling.

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.

Best New Sports / Performance (under $50,000): Volkswagen Golf R - The Volkswagen Golf R won Best New Sports / Performance (under $50,000) with a score of 701 points. It earned top scores in engine smoothness and refinement, acceleration and braking. 

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.

Best New Family Car: Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen - The Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen won Best New Family Car with a score of 693 points. It earned top scores in steering, handling & braking.

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.

2016 Kia Sorento

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

Best New SUV/CUV (under $35,000): Mazda CX-3 - The Mazda CX-3 won Best New SUV/CUV (under $35,000) with a score of 667 points. It earned top scores in exterior styling, throttle response and engine smoothness and refinement.  

“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.”

Volvo XC90 Excellence

“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 website, so shoppers can see how any given vehicle won its category, or how it stacked up to the category winner,” concluded Pritchard.