What's Wrong With This Competition?: Canadian Car Of The Year Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

It’s safe to say that most of the seemingly infinite number of “car of the year” competitions are so utterly bunk that they’re not even worth the effort of exposing. But the reality is that you still see advertisements for cars proudly proclaiming them the favored choice of some local, national, or media outlet’s car of the year competition. So, to show just how non-representative and unscientific these awards can be, we thought we’d share the categories from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada (AJAC)’s “Test Fest,” which will determine the “Canadian Car Of The Year” as well as the favored cars in several categories. Our Canadian tipster writes:

They do all kinds of crap that skew the results. For example, they use the cars “as tested” price to determine what category it falls under, rather than MSRP. So what category the car falls under is completely at the whim of whatever car the manufacturer drops off and what category THEY want the car tested in. You could have an Elantra fall into the “Over $21,000” category or “Under $21,000” category depending on content. Same car, 2 different categories. But it gets better. Some of the categories I call “lump” categories because they just throw everything in one category. My favorite is Sports Car Under $50K. They actually have the Veloster competing against an Charger SRT8 and a C Class Merc. No, I’m not making this us. I’ve included the list for you, so that you may try and decipher WTF these boobs are doing.

Hit the jump to check out the categories for yourself. But first, it should be noted that despite previous questions about the AJAC award’s ethics, the competition now has a page on its website dedicated specifically to enumerating the ethical obligations of participating journalists and the award’s organizers. Unfortunately that page is limited to the following content:

Code of Ethics

AJAC Ethical Guidelines

Under review.


Small Car

Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

Fiat 500

Honda Civic Sedan

Hyundai Accent

Kia Rio S

Nissan Versa Sedan

Scion iQ

Small Car > $21K

Ford Focus

Hyundai Elantra

Subaru Impreza

Volkswagen Beetle


Chevrolet Orlando

Chrysler 200

Kia Optima LX

Mazda 5

Toyota Camry

Volkswagen Passat TDI

Family > $30K

Chevrolet Volt

Dodge Charger

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Kia Optima Hybrid

MINI Countryman

Toyota Prius V

Luxury Car

Acura TL

Buick LaCrosse eAssist

Chrysler 300S

Infiniti M35h

Lexus CT200h

Mercedes C-Class C350 4MATIC


Buick Regal GS

Dodge Charger SRT8

Honda Civic SI Coupe

Hyundai Veloster

Kia Optima SX

Mercedes C-Class Coupe

Sports/Performance > $50K

BMW 1 Series M Coupe

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

Chrysler 300 SRT8

Hyundai Genesis R-Spec

Mercedes CLS C-Class

Porsche Cayman R

Prestige > $75K

BMW 6 Series Cabriolet

Jaguar XKR-S

Mercedes S-Class S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC


Dodge Journey

Jeep Compass

Jeep Wrangler

SUV-CUV $35-$60K


Dodge Durango

Ford Explorer

Range Rover Evoque

Volkswagen Touraeg TDI

SUV-CUV > $60K


Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

Mercedes M-Class

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Giltibo Giltibo on Oct 30, 2011

    AJAC awards are A J O K E . Always have been, always will be!!!

  • V65magnafan1 V65magnafan1 on Oct 31, 2011

    I'll reserve judgement until I see the Korean vehicles after ten Canadian urban winters. Salt and freeze-thaws are not kind to cars.

    • Don1967 Don1967 on Nov 01, 2011

      You obviously don't get up to Ottawa very often. Ten-year old Sonatas, Elantras and Accents are running around all over the place up here. Many of them look pretty damn good; like "one of the newer models" until you realize their age. And they did this at the hands of the typical 2001 Hyundai owner. Think about that.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.