Well, here we go with the first week of our examination of the candidates for the 2002 AJAC Canadian Car and Truck of the Year crowns. The Family Sedan categories, both under and over $25,000, are first up to the plate and we’ll be covering the rest of the entries over the next four weeks. The highly competitive and lucrative family car segment once again draws a big entry field.

If you’d like to join in some of the judging action or have some comments about the entries you can do so on the Internet at the British Columbia Automobile Association web site. Send your comments about the contenders for this year’s Car of the Year, along with your name and location, to cars@bcaa.com. The Car of the Year Internet fun poll results will be published the following week, along with a selection of reader comments.

 


Family Car (under $25,000)

Ford Focus (5-door):
A big winner in model-year 2000 is back again with two extra doors. The ZX5 shares its basic mechanical stuff with the (3-door) Focus ZX3, but comes with 16-inch wheels (instead of 15-inch) and a better trim package. The ZX5 was rated the best in this group for its excellent steering and handling characteristics and the tilt / telescopic steering was also an additional plus for me.

Base Price: $20,780 As tested: $24,575
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.8 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 42.4 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 9.3/6.4 city/highway

2002 Ford Focus ZX5
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2002 Hyundai Sonata
Click image to enlarge
Photo: Grant Yoxon

Hyundai Sonata GL V6: :

The new Sonata is quieter, more powerful and roomier. Hyundai calls its good-looking all-new body “neo-retro” and Sonata comes in three trim levels GL (with a 2.4 litre engine), GL V6 and GLX . The
all-aluminum 2.7 litre V6 engine generates 181-horsepower and allowed this Sonata to achieve a 0-100 km/h acceleration time that was the quickest in this group.

Base Price: $22,695 As tested: $22,820
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.1 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 45.1 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.8/7.9 city/highway



Kia Spectra 5-Door GSX:

This top of the line version of Spectra is a value-packed 5-door hatchback. It comes with air conditioning, power door locks and mirrors, cruise control, tilt steering and more. A 1.8 litre (125-hp) 4-cylinder engine supplies the power and it also has alloy wheels, a split-folding rear seat and an extra-long basic warranty covers repairs for five years or 100,000 km.

Base Price: $17,575 As tested: $18,595
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 11.6 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 46.9 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 10.9/7.3 city/highway

2002 Kia Spectra GSX
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Photo: Kia

2002 Mazda Protege5
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Mazda Proteg�5:

Also offered as a 4-door sedan this very attractive 5-door hatchback version of Prot�g� is a first time offering, as a 2002. It comes with a 2.0 litre (130-hp) engine that is mated with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. The four-wheel disc brake system with anti-lock and electronic brake force distribution was rated the best in this class.

Base Price: $19,895 As tested: $21,695
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.4 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 41.5 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 9.6/7.3 city/highway



Nissan Altima S:

The third generation Altima is a complete redesign including an all-new platform. The bigger passenger cabin is now larger than the Maxima and its coupe-like style has a very European flavour. The base ‘S’ version comes with a new 2.5 litre 4-cylinder engine that can pump out a hefty 175-hp and it also meets ultra-low emission requirements.

Base Price: $23,498 As tested: $24,295
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.4 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 42 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 10.1/7.3 city/highway

2002 Nissan Altima S
Altima SE shown
Click image to enlarge

2002 Subara Impreza TS
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Photo: Subaru

Subaru Impreza TS:

A great buy just got better! Despite its hatchback designation, the Impreza TS looks more like wagon to me and a good looking one. A 2.5 litre motor now offers 165-horsepower and this is the lowest priced all-wheel-drive car on the market, a great selling point.

Base Price: $22,995 As tested: $24,699
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 10.2 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 45.7 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.1/7.8 city/highway



Family Car over $25,000

The new Toyota Camry is an obvious and unfortunate omission from this category, although I’m not sure how well it would actually do. The high calibre of competition in this section would certainly give it a tough tussle for supremacy. The new Nissan Altima, for example, clearly beats Camry in a number of key areas including interior spaciousness and power (both the I4 & V6 motors).

2002 Audi A4
Photo: Audi
Click image to enlarge

Audi A4 1.8 T:

The new 2002 A4 is longer, wider and slightly taller and the wheelbase has also been stretched and comes in two-wheel and all-wheel (Quattro) drive systems. The 1.8 T has a redesigned 1.8-litre turbo-charged four cylinder engine that can deliver 170-hp and is the first turbo-charged engine certified to meet ULEV (emissions) standards. An optional and highly innovative continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), will be available on the front-wheel drive models. The A4 was also rated best in this group for steering and handling.

Base Price: $37,225 As tested:$40,775
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 10.2 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 38.7 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.4/7.5 city/highway


2002 Nissan Altima S
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Nissan Altima SE:

In addition to an upgraded trim and a number of additional
toys and trinkets the SE comes with the 3.5-litre V6 engine. This is the first time Altima has been offered with a six cylinder engine from the award winning VQ engine family, with an electrifying 240-horsepower rating. By far the quickest car in this class, the Altima SE is an authentic four-door
sports car!

Base Price: $27,698 As tested: $31,498
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 7.4 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 40.8 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.2/8.2 city/highway


Subaru H6 Outback Sedan
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Subaru Outback Sedan:

A sedan version of the Legacy H6 Outback Wagon released last year, it also comes with the 3.0-litre, a 212-horsepower, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine. Like the wagon it has a Vehicle Dynamics Control stability system with Variable Torque Distribution. Which means it’s able to maintain some traction even though three wheels are slipping, eliminating the need for a limited slip differential.

Base Price: $41,995 As tested: $41,995

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 8.8 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 38.7 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 12.1/8.3 city/highway



Subaru Impreza RS Sedan:

The RS not only shares the same body, it also shares the same suspension, wheels, tires, it even the same sports-minded handling package that’s on the high performance Impreza WRX, yet costs about $8,000 less. A 2.5 litre (165-horsepower) horizontally opposed flat boxer-type engine provides the power and like all Subaru’s sold in Canada it comes with all-wheel-drive.

Base Price: $26,995 As tested: $28,029
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.5 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 42.4 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11.5/7.8 city/highway

2002 Subaru Impreza RS
Click image to enlarge
Photo: Subaru


Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T:

At first glance it looks a lot like last years Passat, but there have been 2,300 changes to the 2002 car. Many of these are not instantly recognisable and include an outstanding array of standard safety features like drop-down, side curtain air bags (in addition to side and front bags), anti-lock brakes, traction control, heated side mirrors, fog lights and an electronic limited-slip differential. The turbo-charged, long-stroke 1.8 litre engine gains an additional 20-horsepower.

Base Price: $29,550 As tested: $32,320
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour): 9.0 seconds

Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 42.7 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 11/7.1 city/highway

2002 VW Passat 1.8T
 


Volkswagen Passat GLS V6 4M:

In addition to a powerful 2.8 litre V6 engine this technically sophisticated version of Passat comes with (4-Motion) all-wheel drive. Under normal conditions it’s a 50/50 drive ratio from front to rear but it can change to an up to 67/33 percent split either way, depending on tire adhesion to the road. The optional automatic transmission is a five-speed “Tiptronic” with a manual shift mode feature.

Base Price: $37,180 As tested: $38,940

Acceleration (0 to 100 km/hour) 9.4 seconds
Braking (100 to 0 km/hour): 45.4 metres
Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km): 12.5/8.3 city/highway


 

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