2009 Pontiac G3 Wave and 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5
2009 Pontiac G3 Wave and 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5. Click image to enlarge

CLICK HERE to take Autos’s CCOTY poll!

For most Canadians, autumn in Canada means the fall colour of golden maple trees, buying a new pair of winter boots, and of course, the return of hockey. But for members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), late October means only one thing: “TestFest.”

That’s the event held each year in Niagara where new or significantly redesigned vehicles coming onto the Canadian market for the upcoming model year are tested and evaluated by auto writers from across the country. The event is part of the annual Canadian Car of the Year awards program which is run by AJAC, and sees vehicles divided into categories relevant to the buying preferences of Canadian consumers. Each vehicle is rigorously tested on a performance circuit and on local roads (back-to-back, same day, same roads, same conditions), and in addition, instrumented testing (acceleration, braking) is conducted at the host facility.

Note that not every vehicle currently for sale will be tested; only those that are new or significantly redesigned. For instance, the 2009 Nissan Rogue won’t be found in the SUV/CUV category, and nor is the 2009 Honda Civic present in the Small Car category. Those vehicles were “all new” in 2008 and 2006 respectively, and were tested in those years.

This year, a major change is that the winners of each category will be named on October 24, the last day of the event.

And from the list of category winners, the Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year will be announced in February, 2009 at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

See if you can predict the winners! Click here to take Autos’s Canadian Car of the Year poll.

For the 2009 Canadian Car of the Year awards program, 59 vehicles are entered in 14 categories, as follows:

SMALL CAR (under $18k)
  • Chevrolet Aveo
  • Smart fortwo
  • Toyota Corolla

    SMALL CAR (over $18k)
  • Honda Fit
  • Pontiac Vibe
  • Toyota Matrix

    FAMILY CAR ($22k-$30k)
  • Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Kia Magentis
  • Mazda6
  • Volkswagen Jetta TDI Clean Diesel Wagon

    FAMILY CAR (over $30k)
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Pontiac G8 (V6)
  • Volkswagen Passat CC
  • Volvo V70

    LUXURY CAR (under $50k)
  • Audi A3
  • Acura TL
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • Infiniti G37X Sedan
  • Saab 9-3 Sport Combi

    LUXURY CAR (over $50k)
  • Acura RL
  • Audi A4
  • Lincoln MKS

    PRESTIGE
  • BMW X6
  • Mercedes CL550 4Matic
  • Mercedes SL63 AMG

    SPORTS / PERFORMANCE (under $50k)
  • Acura TSX
  • BMW 135i Coupé
  • Dodge Challenger
  • Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
  • Subaru WRX STI

    SPORTS / PERFORMANCE (over $50k)
  • BMW M3 Coupé
  • Cadillac CTS-V
  • Jaguar XF Supercharged
  • Lexus IS F
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Nissan GT-R

    CONVERTIBLES
  • Audi TTS
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder

    SUV / CUV (under $35k)
  • Dodge Journey
  • Subaru Forester
  • Volkswagen Tiguan

    SUV / CUV ($35k-$60k)
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Chrysler Aspen Hybrid
  • Ford Flex
  • Honda Pilot
  • Kia Borrego
  • Nissan Murano
  • Toyota Sequoia

    SUV / CUV (over $60k)
  • Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
  • Infiniti FX50
  • Lexus LX 570
  • Mercedes-Benz M-Class (BlueTEC)

    PICK-UP
  • Dodge Ram
  • Ford F150
  • Hummer H3

    Check www.Autos.ca during the week of October 20-24 for the latest news from the 2009 Canadian Car of the Year “TestFest.”

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