February 11, 2016 – Toronto: In an early morning press conference at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the Mazda CX-3 claimed top honours when the utility vehicle was declared the 2016 Canadian Utility of the Year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).
The Mazda CX-3 also won in its category for “Best New SUV / CUV (under $35,000)”.
“We are absolutely delighted that AJAC members have voted for the Mazda CX-3 as the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year,” said Vincent Reboul, Director of Marketing, Mazda Canada. “Being chosen over the very worthy competition we faced is a strong endorsement of everything the CX-3 brings to the table: show-stopping KODO design, excellent real-world fuel efficiency thanks to SKYACTIV Technology, and all-weather capability with Mazda’s predictive i-ACTIV AWD system.”
Nine “Best New” category winners were eligible for the top honours of Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year after they were announced on November 24, 2015. Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz were double winners. Other category winners included Chevrolet, Honda, Kia, Mazda, and Volvo. The nine “Best New” categories cover the full new-model spectrum, including “Best New Small Car,” “Best New Family Car,” and “Best New SUV/CUV.” Most mainstream categories are further divided by price, such as over or under $35,000, to better provide fair and relevant comparison.
The category winners represent the voting results by the largest group of Canada’s best-known automotive journalists, who gathered this October in Clarington, Ontario for a four-day test-drive evaluation of brand-new or significantly changed models. The event, known as “TestFest,” was hosted by Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and Shell Canada was the official fuel supplier.
“TestFest is the most intensive new-vehicle evaluation process on the planet,” said Gary Grant, co-chair of the Canadian Car of the Year committee. “No other organization employs such stringent testing methods to determine its award winners.”
The rigorous testing program includes real-world driving on public roads, exactly where consumers drive, so the test data and vote results are directly relevant to potential car and utility vehicle buyers. The results are not based on the personal opinion of just one or two journalists. Instead, 71 automotive journalists each drove vehicles in their categories back-to-back on the same day, under the same conditions, to ensure fair and objective comparisons.
“Our program is absolutely testing-based,” said Justin Pritchard, co-chair of the Canadian Car of the Year committee. “We have experienced vehicle testers driving dozens of vehicles, back to back, over the course of several days. This testing process generated 1,911 test drives, producing over 110,000 data points and 1701 category ballots. It’s important to note that every aspect of this testing data is shared online via our website, so shoppers can see how any given vehicle won its category, or how it stacked up to the category winner.”
Data driven and Canadian expertise: That’s what makes an AJAC winner.
Photo credit: Michelle Siu for AJAC