AJAC's "Best New" Vehicles for 2016

Winners in nine categories now eligible for Canadian Car and Utility/Truck of the Year

Published: November 24, 2015, 9:35 AM
Updated: November 28, 2015, 1:03 PM

2016 AJAC award trophies

The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) today announced its choices for "Best New" 2016 vehicles in nine different categories at a press conference held in Toronto. Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen each had a pair of winners, while others taking home hardware included General Motors, Honda, Kia, Mazda and Volvo.

The category winners were:

Best New Small Car: Honda Civic Sedan - 709 points.

Top scores in styling, appearance, ride comfort and handling. Runners-up: Volkswagen Jetta 1.4TSi (686) and Toyota Yaris Sedan (668).

Best New Family Car: Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon 1.8TSI - 693 points.

Top scores in steering, handling & braking. Runners-up: Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (676) and Chevrolet Volt (668).

Best New Sports/Performance (under $50,000): Volkswagen Golf R - 701 points.

Best in engine smoothness and refinement, acceleration and braking. Runners up: Mazda MX‐5 (676) and Mini John Cooper Works 3-door (676).

Best New Sports/Performance (over $50,000k): Mercedes‐AMG C 63 S - 654 points.

Top scores in interior refinement, styling, quality and engine smoothness and refinement. Runners up: Ford Shelby GT350 (640) and Cadillac ATS‐V (639).

Best New Prestige/Performance: Mercedes‐AMG GT S - 645 points.

Tops in interior styling, quality and acceleration.  Runners Up: Cadillac CTS‐V (644) and Porsche Cayman GT4 (635).

Best New SUV/CUV (under $35,000k): Mazda CX-3 - 667 points.

Tops in exterior styling, throttle response and engine smoothness and refinement . Runners up: Honda HR‐V (662) and Jeep Renegade (646).

Best New SUV/CUV ($35,000‐$60,000): Kia Sorento - 667 points. Tops in value.

Runners up: Honda Pilot (666) and Hyundai Tucson (664)

Best New SUV/CUV (over $60,000): Volvo XC90 - 664 points.

Tops in quality, ride comfort and safety features. Runners up: Lincoln MKX (640) Mercedes‐Benz GLE 350d 4Matic Coupe (632).

Best New Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado - 638 points.

Tops in interior styling, engine smoothness and refinement, styling and ride comfort. Runners up: GMC Canyon ‐ Diesel (630), Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Double Cab (629).

There were some really close battles, in some cases with just a single point separating the winner from second place.  

In Prestige/Performance the Mercedes AMG GT S beat the Cadillac CTS-V by a single point and in SUV-CUV $35,000-$60,000 the Kia Sorento beat the Honda Pilot by one point.

How the winners were determined

The voting journalists gathered in October at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Ontario for four days of intensive testing. They drove all category entries on a series of drive routes, including public roads, a performance course, a handling course, and an off‐road course, covering a range of conditions.

Their ballots included scoring dozens of factors, from noise levels and cargo space, to fuel economy and acceleration. Vehicles are placed in categories by type and price, and all entries in each category are driven back‐to‐back, on the same day and in the same conditions.

This year, 1,911 individual test drives took place at TestFest, generating more than 110,000 objective and subjective data points throughout the week. The ballots were completed by more than 70 members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). The results were tabulated by KPMG.

“The benefits are twofold,” says Justin Pritchard, CCOTY co‐chair. “First, back‐to‐back testing brings out even subtle differences between competitors, which are reflected in the scoring results. And second, all of our results are quantified. When a vehicle wins or loses in the program, the public can see precisely why, since all of our testing and voting data is published online at This isn’t a popularity contest. When we declare a winner, we’ve got hundreds of thousands of data points, collected during thousands of man‐hours of controlled test‐drives, to back it up.”

These overall category winners now are eligible for the top honour of 2016 Canadian Car and Truck or Utility Vehicle of the Year to be announced at the Canadian International Auto Show in February.