This week, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s 2017 CCOTY testing is in full swing at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Clarington, Ontario. Among the eight vehicle categories this year is the Best New Sports/Performance Car Category that rounds up—as its name suggests—performance-oriented models sold by mainstream brands.
This year, the Fiat 124 Spider, the Ford Focus RS and the Hyundai Elantra Sport will be duking it out for the coveted title. Here’s a quick peek at each of them, and the winner will be announced on December 6.
2017 Fiat 124 Spider
A brand-new model in Fiat’s Canadian lineup, the 124 two-seat roadster is built on Mazda MX-5 bones and assembled in Japan. However, Fiat is using its own turbocharged, 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, which develops 160 horsepower in the Classica and Lusso trim levels, 164 hp in the 124 Spider Abarth. The latter is the one that’s been entered in the CCOTY competition, and it’s obviously the sportiest of the three trims, with a limited-slip rear differential, a strut tower car underhood and a Bilstein suspension. The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider starts at $33,495 before freight and delivery charges, while the Abarth edition is listed at $37,995.
Read more about the Fiat 124 Spider
2017 Ford Focus RS
The latest Hot Hatch to arrive on our market, the Focus RS is a serious threat to the Subaru WRX STI and the Volkswagen Golf R. It’s got a turbocharged, 2.3-litre four that belts out 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, sent to all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Aside from its downright racy looks, the Focus RS stands out with its high-performance suspension and various drive modes, including Sport, Track and even Drift. It starts at $47,969 before freight and delivery charges.
Read more about the Ford Focus RS
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
New for the 2017 model year, this sportier version of the popular Elantra sedan might seem out of its league compared to the two other contenders here. However, it is equipped with a turbocharged, 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that develops 201 horsepower, matched to a six-speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch automatic. It also benefits from a multilink rear suspension instead of the regular Elantra’s torsion beam setup, firmer springs and dampers, a tighter steering ratio as well as unique air intake and muffler tuning for a raspier sound. The Elantra Sport’s base price has been announced at $24,995 before freight and delivery charges, giving the Volkswagen Jetta GLI a run for its money.
Read more about the Hyundai Elantra Sport
Which one do you think deserves to win AJAC’s 2017 Best New Sports/Performance Car award?