The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) announced the overall winners in the Canadian Car of the Year Awards program in a press conference at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, this morning.
The Honda Accord sedan was voted the 2013 Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY), beating out the Hyundai Elantra GT and Porsche Boxster for the coveted title.
The Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T won the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year award, edging out the Ford Escape 1.6 EcoBoost.
The results of secret balloting for the awards were compiled by the international accounting firm, KPMG, and maintained in confidence, even from AJAC, until the envlopes were opened on stage at the press conference today.
To be eligible for these overall honours, the vehicles first had to be judged the best in one of 11 different categories taking part in AJAC's annual 'TestFest' evaluation process.
The category winners were announced last October, at the conclusion of the four-day TestFest, then tested further and voted on again to determine the overall winners. Finalists were revealed at the Montreal auto show in January.
The Honda Accord Sedan was the winner of the "Best New Family Car (under $30,000)" title.
"It is an honour to have our all-new Accord recognized by so many of Canada’s most-respected journalists," said Takashi Sekiguchi, president and CEO of Honda Canada, in accepting today's award. He added that it was designed to "raise the bar' in the family car class.
To win Canadian Utility of the Year is vindication for all the effort Hyundai designers and engineers invested into the (Santa Fe)," said Steve Kelleher, president and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada. "WeWe couldn't be more proud of the award AJAC has honoured us with today."
Unlike some award programs, the AJAC awards are much more than just a popularity contest.
At TestFest, 80 Canadian automotive journalists spent four intensive days in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, conducting back-to-back comparative testing of 180 "all new" or "significantly new" 2013 vehicles on both public roads and a closed handling-evaluation course.
Their vote results were determined from more than 40,000 individual data points established in the testing program. Over those four days, they completed almost 2,000 individual road-tests, comparing vehicles back-to-back on the same roads under the same conditions – a key component of the AJAC program.
AJAC says this testing program – detailed results of which are available to consumers on the AJAC website – is intended to serve consumers by providing them with factual, objective information on today's new vehicles.
Two other AJAC award winners were also announced at today's press conference. The Porsche 911 Carrera S was named "Best New Design" and General Motors Front Centre Airbag took the "Best New Technology" award.