Hyundai’s efforts in setting out “to get it right” paid off with the Santa Fe being named best utility vehicle of 2013 by the Canadian Automotive Journalists Association (AJAC).
“When Hyundai decided to redesign (the Santa Fe), we really wanted to get it right,” said Hyundai Auto Canada president Steve Kelleher. “For us to win Canadian Utility of the Year is vindication for all the effort Hyundai designers and engineers invested into the project.”
The 2013 Santa Fe 2.0T became eligible to win the best utility vehicle category by winning the Best New SUV/CUV ($35,000-60,000) class at AJAC’s annual TestFest event, held in October in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Kelleher added that being named 2013’s Canadian Utility of the Year is a great honour.
“The Santa Fe competes in Canada’s growing crossover market, (and) Santa Fe is one of our most important vehicles in this market,” he said. “We couldn’t be more proud of the award AJAC has honoured us with today.”
The announcement was made at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS), in downtown Toronto on Feb 14, and also saw the Porsche 911 Carrera S rewarded for Best New Design and General Motors (GM) recognized for Best New Technology for its front centre airbag.
Porsche Cars North America photo
2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S
The Best New Design award rewards vehicles that exemplify a balance of form and function. AJAC members felt the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S displayed the optimal combination of design reflecting the “sheer beauty of the design,” function and brand essence that conveys image, heritage and values of the specific brand.
“Although all-new, this latest generation of the iconic sports car is still very much recognizable by its unmistakable silhouette,” said Joe Lawrence, president of Porsche Cars Canada. “We are delighted that the 911 was recognized for its design.”
For the second consecutive year, GM was cited for Best New Technology for its front centre airbag. The company won the award last year for its Voltec Propulsion System.
General Motors photo
The front centre airbag wins Best New Technology at the 2013 Car of the Year awards.
The front centre airbag, a first for the auto industry, is an inflatable restraint designed to protect drivers and front passengers in side-impact crashes where the affected occupant is in the opposite side from where the vehicle was struck. The front centre airbag will be initially available on 2013 models of the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse.
Matt Crossley, GM’s director of Canadian engineering, stated the AJAC award says plenty about the company research and development. “Being recognized for our advanced technology innovations for two years consecutively is the best acknowledgement for our ongoing efforts to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles.”
The Canadian Car of the Year awards are the result of AJAC’s comprehensive TestFest. Each year, Canada’s leading automotive journalists gather to evaluate vehicles that are “all new” or “significantly new” for the model year. The intensive four days of back-to-back testing generates data that is used to reward vehicles in 11 individual categories.
The 40th edition of the Canadian International Auto Show runs until Feb. 24. Show hours are 10:30 am to 10 pm from Feb. 16 to 23, and 10:30 am to 6 pm on Feb. 24. Tickets can be purchased online through the CIAS website or at the door. Single adult tickets cost $22 at the door ($19.80 online) or $32 for a two-day pass ($28.80). Tickets for children 7-12 years of age cost $7 ($6.30), while a family pass for two adults and two children costs $44 ($39.60).