VANCOUVER – The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) has named the Chevrolet Volt as the 2016 Canadian Green Car of the Year, while the Mazda CX-3 has been selected as the 2016 Canadian Green Utility Vehicle of the Year.
The two award winners were announced at a media conference during opening ceremonies for the Vancouver International Auto Show.
The 2016 Volt is all‐new from the ground up, the second generation of the award-winning sedan introduced in Canada in 2012. Its propulsion system, like the previous Volt, delivers full performance and acceleration capability using electric power provided by a high-voltage, lithium‐ion battery that can be re‐charged by plugging into the electric grid. However, if the battery is discharged while on the road, a 1.5-litre powered generator kicks in to extend the Volt’s driving range until it can be plugged in to recharge the battery. Improvements in the 2016 Volt include a battery that’s more efficient and delivers increased capacity while using a third less cells, as well as a new twin-motor electric drive unit that’s 12 percent more efficient and 45 kilograms lighter.
“Chevrolet is honoured to receive AJAC’s Green Car of the Year award, as it reinforces our commitment to being a leader in electrification,” said Laura Pacey, brand director, Chevrolet in Canada. “The second-generation Volt is a no-compromise electric car, delivering up to 80 kilometres of EV range, greater efficiency and stronger acceleration, making it the most innovative plug-in vehicle in the industry.”
The CX‐3 is powered exclusively by a 2.0-litre SKYACTIV‐G engine that produces 146 horsepower and 146 lb.‐ft. of torque. This lightweight four-cylinder, which bucks the current trend toward downsized and turbocharged engines, is fitted with a number of innovative features that help make it more efficient while maximizing power, including a 13.0:1 compression ratio – a level typically only seen in high‐performance racing engines – and a 4‐2‐1 exhaust manifold that allows for excellent real‐world fuel economy in all driving conditions. It generates more low and mid‐range torque for excellent low-rpm engine response, while delivering reduced CO2 emissions.
A number of measures help improve the CX-3’s aerodynamic efficiency. The airflow has been smoothed over frontal surfaces by optimizing the shape of the rear edge of each corner of the front bumper, the fog light bezels, the headlamp protrusions and giving the A‐pillars a smooth
cross‐sectional shape. At the rear, the flow of air off the roof and sides has been enhanced by shaping the rear edge of the roof like a spoiler, adopting rear side spoilers and optimizing the shape of the D‐pillar garnishes. Turbulence in the airflow over the sides and floor has been reduced by optimizing the shape of the rear combination lamps and the shape of the bottom of the rear bumper, while the flow of air over the rear wheels has been smoothed by giving each side sill a protruding garnish.
“We are very proud to accept this award for the CX-3, which is an important part of our lineup right now as more and more Canadians are shifting their preferences to compact SUVs,” said Vincent Reboul, Mazda Canada’s director of marketing. “AJAC has already validated the quality and value proposition that the CX-3 brings to the table with the 2016 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year award, and adding Canadian Green Utility Vehicle of the Year to its growing list of accolades only solidifies our position as one of the leaders in the popular new subcompact crossover segment.”
The winners were selected after evaluations by more than 70 AJAC members during four days of testing at AJAC’s annual Testfest, held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The journalists drove the entries back to back, on the same day and in the same conditions before submitting their ballots for the Green awards. Last month at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the three finalists in both categories were announced. In the Green Car category, the finalists were the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Volt and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, while the Green Utility Vehicle final three were the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Tuscon Fuel Cell Electric.
AJAC Canadian Green Car/Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards chairperson Kevin Corrigan explained a “green vehicle” isn’t always just an electric car, or the smallest car. “A fuel-efficient gasoline four-cylinder, or a six-cylinder luxury hybrid, can also be considered a green vehicle in its segment of the market,” Corrigan said. “Canadian consumers require environmentally-friendly transportation that meets their needs, whether it’s a small city runabout or a large, but fuel-efficient, luxury product. Our intention with the Canadian Green Car of the Year program is to not just make consumers aware of environmental vehicles, but to know that we’ve tested them extensively and have chosen what we feel is the year’s best.”