February 15, 2001
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Canadian Car of the Year!
Canadian Truck of the Year!
Toronto, Ontario – The annual Canadian Car/Truck of the Year Awards were handed out yesterday by the Automobile Journalists Association
of Canada (AJAC). The Chrysler PT Cruiser won “Canadian Car of the Year” while the Mazda Tribute was awarded “Canadian Truck of the Year”.
In addition, the Chrysler PT Cruiser was declared the “Best New Design” for 2001, and the Honda Insight Integrated Motor Assist system was named the “Best New Technology” for the year.
AJAC President, Tony Whitney, who presented the “Canadian Car of the Year”
award to DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc. Chairman, President and CEO, Ed Brust,
said “The winners were selected from an initial field of 70 new-for-2001
vehicles entered in AJAC’s Annual Car of the Year competition. To win either
the overall Car or Truck of the Year award, a vehicle must first be voted as
the best in its class.”
The PT Cruiser LE competed in the Best New Family Car (over $25,000) class – it defeated the Chrysler Sebring LXi, Hyundai XG300, Pontiac Aztek, VW Passat 4Motion, VW Jetta 1.8T, and Volvo S40 to win its class. The Mazda Tribute was victorious in the Compact SUV class, defeating its Ford Sibling, the Escape XLT, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Subaru Forester S Limited.
Gerry Malloy, President of the Car of the Year Awards organization, explained
that, “Unlike some other “car of the year” programs in which winners are
selected solely on the basis of subjective opinion, or in which commercial
interests play a role, the AJAC Car of the Year program determines its
category winners based on a rigorous and scientifically sophisticated process
wherein all contenders are put through an exhaustive four-day, back-to-back,
real world testing process. This process is unique in the world and ensures
an objective outcome that is respected world-wide”.
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Approximately 50 AJAC members from across Canada, (including CanadianDriver contributors Greg Wilson, Jim Kerr, Jeremy Cato, Bob McHugh, and Bill Vance) took part in a four-day back-to-back evaluation process at Shannonville
Motorsports Park, near Belleville, Ontario, last October to choose the
winners. Every member of a test team compared every vehicle in a class,
back-to-back, on the same surfaces, under the same conditions. The testing
program included driving not only on test tracks but in the “real world,” on
public roads – where consumers drive.
Every detail, from safety features to cargo capacity, was thoroughly
scrutinized, discussed, and individually rated by secret ballot. Those
ballots were then tabulated by the international accounting firm KPMG, which
kept the results confidential – even from AJAC – until the awards ceremony
Voting results, as well as comparative performance data produced during the
Test Fest, are available to consumers via AJAC’s web site – www.AJAC.org.
That data includes: acceleration, braking, vehicle dynamics, maneuverability,
and even off-road capability, where applicable.