The 28th edition of what is affectionately known as Testfest is under way. This annual event gathers up members of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada in order to determine the best new vehicles for 2016.
This year, the test program will be held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. More than 75 journalists from across the country will be on hand to drive and evaluate the new and eligible models. That includes three members of The Car Guide’s editorial team, Marc Lachapelle, Alain Morin and yours truly. A portion of the track is reserved for testing the sports and performance category entries, a challenging off-road course has been laid out for evaluating utility vehicles and drive routes have been traced for all vehicles.
In total, 41 cars and trucks have been sorted into 11 categories. To be eligible, a vehicle must be an all-new model, be completely redesigned or be modified to the point where the consumer will view it as “new.” Here’s the list:
BEST NEW SMALL CAR
BEST NEW FAMILY CAR
BEST NEW SPORTS & PERFORMANCE CAR (under $50,000)
BEST NEW SPORTS & PERFORMANCE CAR (over $50,000)
BEST NEW PRESTIGE/PERFORMANCE VEHICLE (over $75,000)
BEST NEW SUV/CUV (under $35,000)
BEST NEW SUV/CUV ($35,000 to $60,000)
BEST NEW SUV/CUV (over $60,000)
BEST NEW PICKUP
BEST NEW GREEN CAR
Honda Civic Sedan
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
BEST NEW GREEN UTILITY VEHICLE
GMC Canyon Diesel
Hyundai Tucson FCEV
Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid
Journalists submit their votes electronically, on a secret ballot, and the data is sent to and compiled by accounting firm KPMG. The winners of each category will be announced on November 24th during an AJAC press conference. Afterwards, the three finalists for the Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year awards will be unveiled on January 14th at the Montreal Auto Show. The overall winners will be announced on February 11th, 2016 at the Toronto Auto Show.
Last but not least, AJAC will also announce the winners of their Best New Technology awards at the Montreal Auto Show on January 14th. These awards are divided into two categories, one for general automotive technologies and one specific to safety-related technologies.
May the testing begin!