The Canadian Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year are...

Honda Civic and Mazda CX-3 claim top honours from AJAC journalists

Published: February 11, 2016, 3:00 AM
Updated: November 23, 2021, 2:50 PM

Mazda CX-3 and Honda Civic - AJAC Canadian Utility Vehicle and Car of the Year

TORONTO, ON – Concluding a process that began with four days of back-to-back testing last October, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) announced today that the Honda Civic has been chosen as the 2016 Canadian Car of the Year, while the Mazda CX-3 was voted the 2016 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

The two overall award winners were revealed at a media conference Thursday morning, kicking off the Canadian International Auto Show.

The winners were selected based on ballots submitted by more than 70 AJAC members following four days of evaluations last October at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.  It’s the 31st year AJAC has conducted its Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) awards, a process that’s unique in the automotive industry.

The journalists compare compeing entries back-to-back on the same day, under the same conditions. This year, the testing process generated 1,911 test drives, producing more than 110,000 data points and 1,701 category ballots.

All the testing data is available on the AJAC website (, so consumers can see the data accumulated for any given vehicle in this year’s testing, as well as results from previous CCOTY events.

Nine category winners were announced previously, with the field trimmed to three finalists for each overall title last month.

In the chase for the Canadian Car of the Year honour, the Honda Civic outscored two Volkswagen entries, the Golf R and the Golf Sportwagon. In the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year category, the Mazda CX-3 earned the title ahead of the Kia Sorento and Volvo XC90.

Honda Civic

According to Honda Canada’s senior vice-president of operations, Dave Gardner, the all-new, 10th-generation Civic represents “one of the most comprehensive and ambitious new-model developments ever undertaken by Honda.” He said the process required an unprecedented commitment of research and development resources combined with Honda’s engineering prowess.

The 2016 Civic, which is built in Alliston, Ont., features a new vehicle architecture, a sporty, spacious new interior with high-quality materials, and fresh exterior styling. Under the hood, there is a choice of two advanced new engines, including the first application of Honda turbo engine technology in a Civic. There is also a host of new available premium features and technologies, including the first application of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in a compact car, plus the addition of Honda Sensing safety and driver-assistive technologies.

Mazda CX-3

In the Utility Vehicle category, the judges were impressed with the new Mazda CX-3’s fun-to-drive factor. In fact, after comparing it with the other entries in its category, they named it as the best new SUV/CUV in the very competitive under-$35,000 category. The CX-3’s solid drivetrain is comprised of Mazda’s innovative 2.0-litre SKYACTIV four-cylinder coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. It generates 146 horsepower, enough to give the compact CX-3 peppy performance, while still delivering impressive fuel efficiency – 8.8 litres/100 km in city driving; 7.3 on the highway. It’s all wrapped up in an attractive exterior package.