Article by Justin Pritchard
For decades, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, or AJAC, has been presenting the annual ‘Canadian Car of the Year’ (CCOTY) awards – which recognize the best all-new or significantly updated models in the Canadian marketplace.
The CCOTY voting panel, which is comprised of dozens of Canada’s top auto review experts, evaluates each competing model in back-to-back drives on the same roads, in the same day, and for the Perfomrance Car category on a handling evaluation course. The back-to-back process sees journalist vote scores combined with data relating to factors like fuel efficiency, price, safety, performance figures and more.
Journalist votes are combined with quantitative data relating to fuel economy, emissions, acceleration, braking and cargo capacity to form raw scores for each vehicle. Those raw scores are manipulated through weighting to reflect the unique consumer characteristics in each vehicle category. For instance, cargo capacity contributes more to a minivan’s overall score than it does to a convertible’s overall score. Fuel economy counts less in a performance car than it does in a compact. Price factor, further, adjusts the overall score of all vehicles based on their price – effectively leveling the playing field even further and reducing the scoring gap across a broad range of prices.
The underlying goal? Generation of an overall score for each vehicle in each category, with winning vehicles counted amongst the “Best New” models in Canada. Those “Best New” winners are then re-evaluated with a separate set of criteria, and the highest scoring model is called the overall “Canadian Car of the Year”.
After the secret-ballot scores from this year’s program were tallied by accounting firm KPMG, the all-new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was revealed as the “Best New Sports/Performance Car” in Canada this year, with an eight-point victory over its nearest competition, the undeniably spectacular Porsche Cayman.
The Corvette’s scores demonstrate a performance lead over competing models – which included an array of new-for-2014 models including the Cayman, BMW 4-Series Coupe, Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG Sedan, Jaguar F-Type and Mercedes-Benz E 350 Coupe.
|2014 AJAC CCOTY Performance Cars. Click image to enlarge|
The all-new Corvette Stingray’s throttle response score, for instance, demonstrated a landslide lead over competing models, while transmission and drivetrain refinement scores were tied for tops elsewhere in the group. Corvette also boasted the highest scores for steering, handling and braking ‘feel’, as voted upon by the testers after driving the car on public roads, and on a handling course back-to-back against all other competitors in the category.
Instrumented performance data is also gathered as part of the CCOTY process. This year, the performance testing showed the Corvette boasting the quickest passing maneuver time, accelerating from 80 to 120 km/h in just 3.2 seconds. The 0-100 km/h test turned in a time of 4.7 seconds in real-world conditions, bested only by the AWD-equipped Mercedes E 63, which completed the exercise 0.6 seconds quicker.
Stingray’s light weight and massive performance braking system also worked towards the highest braking score in the category (corroborating the judges votes of best braking feel), thanks to consistent stops from 100 km/h in 34.4 meters. That stopping distance beat the next-best competitor by two full metres. Points for performance figures like these are weighted for consumer importance relative to the vehicle’s category, and factored into the vehicle’s overall score.
Buried in the voting and testing results is another huge scoring advantage for the Corvette: Subjective Value. Voting journalists assign a score to this ‘bang for the buck’ measure – and the Corvette’s score of 8.9 out of 10 left the competition in the dust. To thank? The leading performance figures, as well as an as-tested price of $72,775 – which demonstrates exceptional value in part by offering considerably superior performance to other competitors priced well into six-figure territory. Corvette is standard with 460 horsepower and carries a starting price of under $60,000 — though the units provided for CCOTY testing were fitted with extra features and hardware.
In terms of performance and styling bang-for-the-buck, dozens of Canadian auto experts agree that the new Corvette Stingray is the most compelling choice among this year’s most important new sports models. Full CCOTY vote scoring and performance figures are available at www.ajac.ca, as are tools for consumers to compare the Stingray’s scores with other models from this and previous years.
The Stingray also qualifies for the overall Canadian Car of the Year award, which will be announced on February 13th.