See also:

Part 1: Family Cars (over $25,000), Prestige, Sports and Performance
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

This is the last of our five-part weekly reviews of vehicles entered for an AJAC Canadian Car or Truck of the Year award. The last three groups to be covered are compact sport utility vehicles (SUV), pickup trucks and a new category to this competition the “Green” vehicle. As usual each mini-review comes complete with comparison price information and same day performance statistics collected at the Car of the Year evaluation event held near Belleville, Ontario, in October.

Category winners will be announced December 7. The overall Canadian Truck of the Year award winner won’t be known until the Montreal auto show in January, and the winner of the Canadian Car of the Year award will be announced at the Toronto auto show in February 2001.

Best New Compact Sport Utility Vehicle

The fastest growing new vehicle market, the sales of small sport utility vehicles (SUV) have tripled over the last five years. Unfortunately Toyota decided not to enter its redesigned RAV4 in this category.


Ford Escape
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Ford Escape XLT:

The wide-body Escape can comfortably seats five with ample cargo space and comes in two trim levels: XLS and XLT. A joint design venture of both Ford and Mazda it comes with a choice of either a Ford Zetec 2.0 litre DOHC four-cylinder engine or a Ford Duratec 3.0 litre DOHC V6 engine. Two-wheel or all-wheel drive, called Control Trac II, are the other choices. A two piece drive shaft and an independent rear suspension also add to a smooth vibration-free transfer of power to the wheels.

Base Price: $28,695 As tested: $32,760
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.5 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 41.7 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 13.1/9.8 city/highway

Hyundai Santa Fe
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Hyundai Santa Fe GLS:

Designed in California and based on an extensively revised Sonata platform this car/SUV hybrid comes in two trim levels GL and GLS. It combines a tall SUV-type seating position with the advantage of car-like low step-in height and a roomy interior that boasts 2860 litres of passenger volume. The single drivetrain offered is a 2.7 litre, 181 horsepower V6, a 4-speed automatic with a “Shiftronic” mode and an all-wheel-drive system with DDU (Double Differential Unit). On normal road surfaces 60% of power goes to the front wheels and 40% to the rear. It has 4-wheel disc brakes standard and an anti-lock system is standard on GLS. A unique trigger-type handle opens the rear tailgate, which also has a flip-up window.

Base Price: $28,995 As tested: $29,120
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 11.1 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 48.3 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 12.6/9.3 city/highway

Mazda Tribute
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Mazda Tribute:

Although a twin of the Ford Escape (see review above) and assembled at the same plant in Kansas City, except for the roof and front windshield, every body panel on the Tribute is different. The Tribute also comes in three trim levels DX, LX and ES and its monocoque body incorporates the Mazda “triple-H” roof, side and floor design reinforcements. The front seats come with standard side air bags and there’s enough cargo space to take 4×8 sheet of plywood (with the liftgate window open).

Base Price: $21,750 As tested: $31,290
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.5 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 46.1 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 13.1/9.8 city/highway

Subaru Forester
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Subaru Forester S Limited:

The 2001 version of Forester has a new grille, tail lights and smoother bodylines. The rear wheels are 15 mm further apart for better stability and extra rear seat room. All rear-seating positions have head restraints and it also has a 3-point seatbelt in the centre rear. A 4-wheel anti-lock braking system is standard on all versions and the trim-levels are still L, S and S Limited.

Base Price: $36,195 As tested: $36,195
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 10.2 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 41.9 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 10.8/7.4 city/highway

Best New Pickup

An interesting and varied mix of trucks should make this category a close race.


2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 LS 4x4 Extended Cab Short Box
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(LS shown)

Chevrolet Silverado 4X4 LT 3/4 Ton Ext-Cab Short Box:

Two years ago Chevrolet completely revamped the light-duty Silverado pickup and for 2001 the heavy-duty 3/4 -ton (2500) and 1-ton (3500) versions of Siverado are new and come with higher GVWR and payload ratings. A new and unusually quiet Duramax Diesel 6600 that provides up to 520 lb./ft of pulling power is a new option motor, as is a new Allison 5-speed automatic transmission. The extended cab versions all come with four doors and models with a GVWR above 4173 kg get a raised hood and special grille.

Base Price: $43,230 As tested: $51,105
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.3 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 48.6 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): n/a

Dodge Dakota 4x4 Quad Cab SLT
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(SLT shown)

Dodge Dakota Quad Cab 4×4 Sport Plus:

A holdover from last year due to a lack of competition in the pickup category, the Quad Cab is a 4-door or crew-cab compact pickup. New for 2001 is a complete redesign of the interior that also includes a new instrument panel. Dakota is the largest compact pickup on the market the Quad cab can seat up to six passengers and has a 1.6 metre long cargo box. The rear doors open extra-wide and have windows that roll all the way down.

Base Price: $27,915 As tested: $39,305
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.3 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 45.8 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 17.7/11.9 city/highway

Ford F-150 Super Crew
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Ford F-150 Super Crew Lariat:

Built on the rugged full-sized F150 chassis the new SuperCrew has a roomy cabin with seating for up to six adults and four big doors. It comes in both XLT and Lariat trim-levels and the Triton (truck series) engine choices are a 4.6-litre V-8 that can deliver 220 hp and a 5.4-litre V-8 that can churn out 260 horsepower. A four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) is standard, as is a power adjustable pedal system that not only helps achieve a comfortable driving position, but also helps the driver maintain a safe distance from the steering wheel air bag.

Base Price: $40,595 As tested: $45,965
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 10.4 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 48.8 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): n/a

Mazda B4000
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Mazda B4000 4×4 SE:

This popular compact pickup comes in SX and SE trim-levels and is based on the Ford Ranger. A new and more powerful 210 horsepower (160 last year), SOHC V6 4.0 litre engine and a restyled front-end are the big changes for 2001. Also new is a 4X2 Dual Sport version that looks like a 4X4, with a raised suspension, fender flares and larger wheels and tires. A 5-speed automatic transmission is an option with the 4.0 litre engine.

Base Price: $27,495 As tested: $29,700
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 8.5 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 51.2 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 15.6/11.5 city/highway

Nissan Frontier SC
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Nissan Frontier SC 4X4:

The SC stands for a Super Charger that boosts the power output of the 3.3 litre V6 engine by 40 horsepower. The compact 2001 Frontier also gets a new front and rear facelift and this redesign includes a lockable tailgate that is standard on all versions. Inside it gets a new instrument panel and steering wheel and some new upholstery choices. Available in an extended (King Cab) and Crew Cab versions only, the regular cab versions have been dropped from the product line.

Base Price: $31,998 As tested: $31,998
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.7 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 41.7 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 15.7/12.0 city/highway

Best New “Green” Vehicle

This is a new category that’s bound to attract a lot of attention. Prius, the other hybrid gasoline/electric vehicle is alas, yet another sadly missed Toyota non-entry.

BMW 330 Ci
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BMW 330Ci:

I’m sure the CCOY organisers didn’t have this car in mind when they set the rules for entry into this category, but here it is and it’s a legitimate one. The new BMW six-cylinder 3.0-litre power unit (225 horsepower), that replaces the current 2.8-litre engine, is a major contributor to this vehicle meeting ULEV (ultra-low) vehicle emission standards. If speed and handling were primary considerations for success in this group the 330Ci would, without a doubt, be flying that green flag.

Base Price: $47,900 As tested: $52,560
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 7.2 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 38.2 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.4/7.3 city/highway

2001 Honda Insight
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Honda Insight:

This little two-seater hatchback is the first full-production hybrid gasoline/electric vehicle to be sold in Canada. A small highly fuel efficient little 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder gasoline engine is assisted by an ultra-thin permanent-magnet electric motor. Insight exceeds the ultra-low emissions standard and is the most fuel-efficient gasoline vehicle you can buy, which also makes it a “greenhouse” champion. A 144-volt Nickel-Metal Hydride battery stores the electrical power and under normal operating conditions it should never need external recharging.

Base Price: $26,000 As tested: $26,000

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 12.3 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 44.1 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 3.9/3.2 city/highway

Nissan Sentra
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Nissan Sentra:

Sentra is another ultra-low emissions vehicle. In practical terms, as Nissan pointed out, this car is likely to do more for clean air than the hybrids, simply because a far greater number of Sentra’s are likely to be sold and used on our roads. Although not this entry, another version of this new Sentra called the CA was the first vehicle to receive partial zero emissions vehicle (PZEV) credits in California. Unfortunately, Nissan will not sell the Sentra CA in Canada, due to the high levels of sulphur in Canadian gasoline.

Base Price: $17,695 As tested: $17,695
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 12.2 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 49.7 metres

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 8.8/6.2 city/highway

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