http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/319724

Hyundai drives away with two Canadian Car of the Year awards

Posted Feb 16, 2012 by John Duarte
Hyundai was the big winner at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show after being selected as the overall Canadian Car of the Year and the Best New Design for 2012. Volkswagen took the Best Utility Vehicle of the Year award.
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan
Hyundai Canada
The Hyundai Elantra was voted as the top vehicle of 2012 by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). It is the second major award for the Hyundai sedan which was named North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit earlier this year. The other finalists in the Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) voting were the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Optima.
"The Elantra competes in Canada's critical compact segment, so for it to win Canadian Car of the Year is vindication for all the effort Hyundai designers and engineers invested into the project,” said Hyundai Auto Canada president and CEO Steve Kelleher. "We wanted to bring Canadians a new take on the compact sedan; one with great style, quality, safety and incredible fuel efficiency. So, we couldn't be more proud that AJAC agreed it should win Canada's highest automotive award."
The Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel beat out the BMW X3 and the Dodge Journey to win the 2012 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.
"The Volkswagen Touareg is extremely capable both on and off road, and surrounds its passengers in comfort and luxury,” said John White, president of Volkswagen Canada. “We are very pleased to be recognized for all of the hard work our engineers and designers have put in."
The Hyundai Veloster was chosen as the Best New Design of 2012. It was up against the Jaguar XKR-S and the Range Rover Evoque in the running for the design award.
"It's a great honour to have the Hyundai Veloster win the Best New Design award from AJAC," said Kelleher. "The Veloster is a design halo for the entire Hyundai brand, so to win an award based on the car's styling is proof that our designers have found success."
The CCOTY awards were presented at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show, which is on in Toronto until Feb. 26.
The Canadian Car of the Year Awards program divides all vehicles entered into 11 categories: small car (under $21,000), small car (over $21,000), family car (under $30,000), family car (over $30,000), luxury car, sports/performance vehicles (under $50,000), sports/performance vehicles (over $50,000), prestige car (over $75,000), sports-utility/crossover vehicles (under $35,000), sports-utility/crossover vehicles ($35,000-60,000) and sports-utility/crossover vehicles (over $60,000).
The 11 category winners are then eligible to be named Canadian Car of the Year. When the votes were tabulated last October, Hyundai Auto Canada won three of the 11 categories, BMW Group Canada, Kia Canada and Mercedes-Benz Canada won two each and Chrysler Canada and Volkswagen Canada winning one category apiece.
The Canadian Car of the Year results come out of an intensive four days of testing 170 vehicles back-to-back by 70 of the country’s top automotive journalists. The group rates vehicles based on individual specifications and features as well as performance data and subjective ratings on up to 23 different characteristics that gauge everything from interior roominess and comfort to ride quality and handling ability.
Each October, members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) gather to put vehicles to the test. To be eligible to enter, vehicles must be “all new” or “significantly” improved over the previous model. The prime objective of the “TestFest” is to provide consumers with sound, objective, comparative data for use as a resource buying guide when considering the purchase of a new car, truck or sports-utility/crossover vehicle.
"As car awards go, I personally believe that the Automotive Journalists of Canada serve our industry very well,” said Denis DesRosiers, of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. “I also like the fact that they give awards to a wide segment of vehicles, which results in comparing apples to apples. This allows the ordinary Joe consumer to get more value from these awards."
The Automotive Journalists Association of Canada is celebrating its 30th anniversary and is an independent group of professional journalists, writers and photographers covering the automotive industry.