See also:
Part 2: Economy (under $18,000), Sports Coupe/Sedan (under & over $30,000)

Part 3: Family Cars (under $25,000), Luxury Coupe & Sedan, Minivans

Part 4: Wagons, Intermediate & Luxury SUVs
Part 5: Compact SUVs, Pickups & “Green” vehicles

In this, the first instalment of a five-week series of articles on vehicles
entered for a Canadian Car of the Year (CCOY) 2001 award, we look at three
interesting categories. First up are the Family Cars over $25,000, then
Prestige Cars, where the sky is the limit when it comes to cost, and finally
Sports and Performance cars where dreams sometimes clash with reality.

Organised by the Automobile Journalists of Canada (AJAC), the CCOY evaluation
event called TestFest is an opportunity for every member of AJAC to drive
all the vehicles entered for an award back-to-back, on the same day and
under the same conditions. The voting is weighted to reflect differences in
price and performance depending on the entry category and we’ll reveal the
winners in December.

For the second year in a row, Toyota Canada is the only major manufacturer
not to enter vehicles in CCOY. The logic behind this decision is baffling
however rumour has it that Toyota will be back next year. In any case, I
don’t think Toyota would have had an entry in the categories reviewed today
and I will try to keep you posted on probable Toyota entries in the weeks
ahead.


Family Cars (over $25,000)

As the demographics and lifestyles of the modern
family change so, it seems, will the vehicles that they drive. This was the
largest and probably the most difficult category to adjudicate, as it came
with such an amazing variety of offerings.

Chrysler PT Cruiser LE:

The “hottest” car on dealer lots and the “coolest”
car on the block. The PT Cruiser has to be an odds-on favourite for the AJAC
design award and definitely in the running for Car of the Year. This Cruiser
came with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes plus traction control, leather
upholstery, a fold-flat front passenger seat/table and lots more.

Base Price: $23,665, As tested: $30,310

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.8 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 44.2 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.9/8.6 city/highway

2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser LE
click for larger image

Chrysler Sebring LXi Sedan
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Chrysler Sebring Lxi:

If your taste is more conventional, Sebring is
probably more your style. A 200 horsepower 2.5 litre V6 engine gives it
plenty of umph. Nice extras included a 4-speed AutoStick transmission, a
power sunroof and good-looking chrome-aluminum 16-inch wheels.

Base Price: $27,195 As tested: $30,610

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.4 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 44.8 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.8/7.6 city/highway



Hyundai XG300:

The stylish new Hyundai flagship offers more, looks great and
it has the power! A luxury car equipment list is standard, a new 3.0 litre
V6 engine provides the power and a 5-speed automatic transmission with a
manual shift mode makes it fun to use.

Base Price: $31,995 As tested: $32,120

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.7 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 42.9 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 12.6/8.0 city/highway

2001 Hyundai XG300
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2001 Pontiac Aztek
click for larger image

Pontiac Aztek:

A sport recreational vehicle is how Pontiac likes to describe
this hard to categorise wagon-like design. A tall-body vehicle with a
cavernous interior, Aztek has a fold-down tailgate that also acts as a seat
(with built-in cupholders), a rollout cargo tray and some very unique
features for the active lifestyle user.

Base Price: $32,895 As tested: $32,895

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 10.4 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 48.9 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 12.3/8.3 city/highway



Volkswagen Passat 4Motion:

This is the only car in this group offering the
all-weather benefits of all-wheel-drive. A cultured and technically refined
automobile, the 4Motion version of Passat comes with a 2.8 litre V6 engine,
a 5-speed automatic transmission with a Porsche-like Tiptronic manual-mode
feature and an excellent safety package.

Base Price: $36,880 As tested: $39,010

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.1 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 42.6 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 13.7/9.1 city/highway

Volkswagen Passat 4M
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Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T
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Volkswagon Jetta 1.8T:
The lowest priced entry but Jetta was certainly not
out-classed. This easy to manoeuvre and agile compact German car came with
traction control system that incorporates an electronic differential lock
feature for added traction in slippery conditions. Leather upholstery and a
sport luxury package were the optional extras included in the test price.

Base Price: $25,380 As tested: $29,200

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 8.8 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 39.6 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 9.7/7.0 city/highway



Volvo S40:

It may be the compact, entry level Volvo but the S40 still has
the quality touches and safety features of its larger siblings from Sweden.
A smooth acting twin-scroll turbocharger gives the 1.8 litre 4-cylinder a
power boost that puts it on par with a V6 engine yet it still gets good fuel
consumption figures.

Base Price: $30,995 As tested: $36,695

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 8.4 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 44 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 10.5/6.8 city/highway

2001 Volvo S40
click for larger image


Prestige

The high-priced wheels were all from Europe this year.

2001 BMW 330Ci
click for larger image

BMW 330Ci Cabriolet:

The redesigned convertible version of the 3-series BMW
is a beautiful car with clever features and excellent road manners. A new
front-end incorporates Xenon headlights, it has pop-up roll-over protection
built into the rear seat head restraints and a collapsible convertible top
storage box. This feature allows expanded trunk space when the top is up.

Base Price: $62,800 As tested: $67,775

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 7.8 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 39.1 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 12.6/8.2 city/highway


2001 BMW 530i
click for larger image

BMW 530I:

The “ultimate” sports sedan also has a new front end and Xenon
headlights with an auto-levelling feature, that should make them less
annoying to other drivers. A double VANOS low-emissions engine provides the
power and it can be ordered with the “ultimate” safety package that includes
ten air bags.

Base Price: $63,900 As tested: $73,420

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 7.3 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 40.4 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 12.6/8.3 city/highway



Audi A8 L:

The ‘L’ is for long wheelbase and this is a very long vehicle
with limo-like rear seating space. The six-figure asking price also made it
the most expensive car entered in CCOY. Despite its size this is a quick car
and an amazingly agile, good handling machine too. A 4.2 litre V8 engine,
with a 310 horsepower rating, provides the power.

Base Price: $96,500 As tested: $106,110

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 7.3 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 42.0 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 13.8/9.8 city/highway



Sports and Performance

Forget function and logic, just let your imagination
run wild in this category!


Audi TT Roadster:

The soft-top version of the TT is a stunningly attractive
automobile inside and out. The eye-catching tan coloured leather upholstery
on the test vehicle was called Baseball Optic and when you see it you’ll
understand why. This low, weight centred vehicle with a Quattro
all-wheel-drive system and a HALDEX centre differential is a joy to drive on
a twisty section of asphalt.

Base Price: $59,000 As tested: $63,645

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 7.7 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 39.2 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.6/7.7 city/highway

2001 Audi TT Roadster
click for larger image

Chevrolet Corvette ZO6:
A genuine super-car, the Z06 is a race-ready sports
car in a street-ready package. A 5.7 litre V8 engine pumps-out 385
horsepower at 6,000 rpm and made the Z06 the fastest car in this group and
the quickest vehicle at the CCOY event. Stomping on the brake pedal also
brings the Z06 to halt at an impressively quick rate. The Z06 comes with a
titanium exhaust system (a first!) and huge 18-inch wheels and tires on the
rear.

Base Price: $65,980 As tested: $65,980

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 5.2 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 36.4 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 12.4/7.9 city/highway

Corvette Z06
click for larger image


Mercedes-Benz SLK320:

This is the only hard-top convertible sold in Canada
and it’s quite an spectacle to see it in action. With the flick of switch
the trunk opens and the roof collapses in a accordion-like fashion into its
cargo hold. New this year is a super-smooth 3.2 litre V6 engine with a wide
power band and lots of highly usable low-end torque.

Base Price: $61,650 As tested: $63,930

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour) 7.4 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 39.5 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.4/7.9 city/highway

Mercedes-Benz SLK320
click for larger image

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