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LIVE FROM TESTFEST: DAY 0 – The fleet has arrived

AJAC's annual Canadian Car of the Year TestFest is about to get underway

Published: October 20, 2012, 2:00 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 3:57 PM

2013 AJAC TestFest - Vehicles Arriving - 2

Niagara on the Lake, ON - This quaint Ontario wine-country town was invaded yesterday and today by truckloads of brand-new cars and utility vehicles – 180 in all –along with a phalanx of motorhomes, tonnes of supporting equipment and a vanguard of workers and event organizers.

They're all here in preparation for the annual AJAC (Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) TestFest – a week-long orgy of vehicle testing and evaluation that will determine the "Best New" vehicles in 11 different categories and, ultimately, the overall Canadian Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year.

Performance testing, to determine hard-number acceleration and braking data for all the competing vehicles, begins tomorrow – Sunday – (weather permitting).

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By day's end, the advance crew will be joined by approximately 80 voting journalists, all AJAC members who are professional road testers. They'll begin four days of intense vehicle evaluation and testing first thing Monday morning, culminating in the announcement of the category winners at a press conference in Niagara Falls on Thursday evening.

Then, on Friday, they'll go back to the test-site – the Niagara Regional Airport, which has been turned into a staging area for the event, complete with a handling-evaluation course on the airport runways – for one more day of testing.

At that time, they'll retest just the category winners and cast final ballots that will determine, from that group of winners, what will be the overall Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

Those overall winners, as well as the Best New Design and Best New Technology of the Year, will be announced at the media-day opening for the Canadian International Auto Show, in Toronto, on February 14, 2013.

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Throughout the process, Journalists vote individually on each vehicle, rating its characteristics and performance on up to 16 different parameters, ranging from styling, comfort and convenience to steering, ride and handling.

Those subjective ratings are combined with objective data for up to eight separate parameters, including acceleration and braking performance and fuel/energy consumption.

By program's end, well more than 40,000 individual data points will be interactively combined to determine the category and vehicle winners.

To be eligible for the awards, vehicles must be "substantially new" – not just mild reworks of existing models, and must be on sale in Canadian dealerships on or before December 1, 2012.

In total, 60 new vehicle models are entered in the 2013 Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) program. Manufacturers are required to provide three identical samples of each vehicle entered for testing.

Eligibe vehicles in the 11 categories include:

CITY CAR

1. Ford Focus EV

2. Mitsubishi i-MiEV

SMALL CAR UNDER $21K

1. Chevrolet Spark

2. Dodge Dart

3. Kia Rio LX

4.

Mazda3 Skyactiv (Sedan)

5. Nissan Sentra

6. Toyota Prius c

SMALL CAR OVER $21k

1. Chevrolet Sonic

2. Ford C-Max Hybrid

3. Hyundai Elantra GT

4. Mazda3 Sport Skyactiv

5. Volkswagen Beetle

FAMILY CAR under $30K

1. Chevrolet Malibu Eco

2. Ford Fusion

3. Honda Accord Sedan

4. Mitsubishi Lancer AWC

5. Nissan Altima

FAMILY CAR OVER $30K

1. Chevrolet Malibu

2. Ford Fusion Hybrid

3. Mercedes-Benz B-250

4. Toyota Prius PHV (Plug-in)

LUXURY CAR

1. Acura ILX

2. BMW 3-Series

3. Buick Verano

4. Cadillac ATS

5. Lexus ES 350

6. Lexus GS

SPORTS - PERFORMANCE under $50K

1. Chevrolet Sonic RS 5-door

2. Fiat Abarth

3. Ford Focus ST

4. Honda Accord Coupe

5. Hyundai Genesis Coupe

6. Hyundai Veloster Turbo

7. MINI Roadster

8. Scion FR-S

9. Subaru BRZ

10. Volkswagen Golf R

SPORTS PERFORMANCE over $50K

1. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2. Ford Shelby Mustang

3. Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG

4. Porsche Boxster

PRESTIGE PERFORMANCE - over $75K

1. BMW M5

2. Chevrolet Corvette 427

3. Porsche 911 Carrera S

4. Mercedes-Benz SL 550

SUV - CUV under $35K

1. Chevrolet Trax

2. Ford Escape 1.6 L EcoBoost

3. Honda CR-V

4. Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

5. Mazda CX-5

6. Subaru XV Crosstrek

SUV - CUV $35K - $60K

1. Acura RDX

2. Chevrolet Traverse

3. Ford Escape

4. GMC Terrain Denali

5. Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

6. Infiniti JX

7. Lexus RX350

8. Nissan Pathfinder

TOTAL 60 entries