NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – What does one do with 1,200 tonnes of crushed rock? That’s 60 dump truck loads!

The answer: create an off-road test course for 80 journalists from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada(AJAC) who are here this week to conduct back-to-back comparative testing of brand new 2014 SUVs, CUVs, and Pickups in order to choose the “Best New SUV/CUV” for 2014 and the “Best New Pickup”.  The event is hosted by the Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara Falls, Ontario

The course was designed and built by the Tellico Group, specifically, Bob Boland, Trish Groom and Wayne Groomwho have been responsible for the construction and operation of AJAC’s off-road courses since 1994 when the event took place in Shannonville, Ontario.

“The track in Niagara Falls was designed and built in a two day span with movement of 1,200 tonnes of crushed rock. With the tremendous help of Montgomery Brothers Construction, Tellico Group was very excited about the new facility for AJAC’s off road testing”, said Trish Groom.

“TestFest” is an automotive and media event staged annually by AJAC.  Top automotive journalists from all acrossCanada gather for a five-day test-drive evaluation of brand new vehicle models.

The point of the journalists’ evaluation is to select the best new vehicles in various categories such as “Best New SUV/CUV under $35,000” or over $60,000.  The comparative data generated by the journalists is then passed on to consumers for their use as a resource buying guide.

Our journalists drive every vehicle back-to-back on the same day, under the same conditions (yes – even rain).  They use public roads so that the information passed on to the consumer is relevant to everyday life.

Every detail, from safety features to cargo capacity, is thoroughly scrutinized, discussed, and individually rated by secret ballot.   Over 40,000 data fields are generated by the journalists.

Shell Canada is the event’s official fuel supplier. “TestFest draws a passionate crowd of auto experts who are focused on providing consumers with information they need to help make decisions on one of their biggest investments – their vehicle,” says Arjun Prakash, Shell Fuels Scientist. “Shell is proud to be the official fuels sponsor of TestFest, because it is our mission to provide drivers with optimum vehicle performance through advanced technology.  We work closely with the auto industry to develop fuels based on evolving engine technologies to ensure that no other premium gasoline keeps critical engine parts cleaner than Shell V-Power.”

Need to compare a Buick Encore to a Jeep Cherokee?  Or a BMW X5 to a Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC or a Porsche Cayenne?   How about a Chevrolet Silverado to a Ram 1500? The vote results and comparative data from this year’s event will be announced December 3rd.

However, you don’t need to wait until then to learn more about AJAC’s posted vehicle comparisons.   Comparative data for 2013 are currently listed under New Vehicle Data – Criteria Driven – Canadian Expertise on our web site: 

“Live From TestFest” updates with photos and video are posted to our web site:

Of course, you can also follow us on Twitter @AJACanada or #testfest and on Facebook.

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