On Tuesday, December 3, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) announced the Car of the Year title winners for the numerous categories. For this year, Mazda is the big winner, walking away with trophies in three highly competitive categories: Best New Small Car (Under $21,000) – Mazda3; Best New Small Car (Over $21,000) – Mazda3 Sport; and Best New Family Car (Over $30,000) – Mazda6.
Success in these three segments is critical to Mazda’s business, and the Mazda3 has remained a very competitive entry in this segment, spanning over three generations since 2004. The current generation has been widely praised for its new design and driveability.
With two wins in the Best New Small Car categories (under $21K and over $21K), the Mazda3 in various forms has earned nine trophies in its 10 year history, winning Best New Small Car in 2010 (both categories) and 2012, Best New Sports/Performance Car in 2007, and when the vehicle was first introduced in 2004, Best New Economy Car and Best New Sport Coupe, going on to win overall Canadian Car of the Year.
The Mazda6 is also a repeat winner, having taken the title of Best New Family Car ($22k-$30k) in 2009, Best New Family Car and Best New Station Wagon in 2005, and also winning Best New Family Vehicle in its introductory year in 2004.
“Our goal for the all-new Mazda3 and Mazda6 is to continue to offer consumers nothing less than the best in quality, performance, fuel economy, safety, reliability, and value,” said Kory Koreeda, President, Mazda Canada. “Going into such a tough competition and coming out with awards in all three segments entered is proof that the cars in our showrooms tick all the boxes that consumers are looking for today.”
Several other winners, such as the Lexus IS350, the Infiniti Q50, and Chevrolet Corvette Stingray have also received major redesign changes this year.
“The new, 2014 Lexus IS was carefully crafted to deliver one promise: Complete driving enjoyment. With a model line-up that includes 10 F Sport configurations, we’ve made the 2014 Lexus IS a serious contender for performance-minded Canadians,” said Cyril Dimitris, Director of Lexus Canada. “The Lexus IS series is one of our two most popular vehicles in Canada and competes in the very important Low Luxury segment, so we’re grateful to the members of AJAC for this important recognition.”
The Infiniti Q50 features Nissan’s ambitious Direct Adaptive Steering technology. Under normal operation, the steering wheel and the wheels are mechanically decoupled, with multiple Electronic Control Units (ECU) translating driver input into electronic control signals for the Steering Angle Actuator. In case of power or ECU failure, a backup clutch connects the steering to the wheels mechanically. This system has generated much divided opinions with the first iteration. It remains interesting to see how Nissan can refine this technology.
For the Corvette, there was much interest among North American car enthusiasts ramping up to the launch of this C7 generation, to see how GM would improve this American automotive icon. Winning the New Sport/Performance Car category is a vote of confidence in this new Vette.
2014 AJAC Car of the Year Winners:
Best New Small Car (under $21,000) Mazda3
Best New Small Car (over $21,000) Mazda3 Sport
Best New Family Car (under $30,000) Kia Soul
Best New Family Car (over $30,000) Mazda6
Best New Luxury Car (under $50,000) Lexus IS 350 RWD
Best New Luxury Car (over $50,000) Infiniti Q50 Hybrid
Best New Prestige Car Mercedes-Benz S Class
Best New Sports/Performance Car (over $50,000) Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Best New SUV/CUV (under $35,000) Jeep Cherokee
Best New SUV/CUV ($35,000 – $60,000) Kia Sorento
Best New SUV/CUV (over $60,000) Acura MDX
Best New Pickup GMC Sierra