Today, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) announced the winners of its annual Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year (CUOTY) prizes. The winners have been voted on by over 70 of the top automotive journalists in Canada who have spent the year driving 100s of cars in conditions as cold as a northern Ontario winter and as warm as a British Columbia spring evening and have filled out 100s of ballots to eventually determine a winner.
Typically, voters come from across Canada to congregate in Ontario as part of AJAC’s annual TestFest competition where they get to test the vehicles on both road and track. This year, however, pandemic-related travel and gathering restrictions meant this was not a possibility.
Even amidst all the adversity, however, AJAC prevailed.
“AJAC is very proud to present our highest honours today to the 2021 Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year,” said AJAC President Stephanie Wallcraft. “2020 was a challenging year for everyone, our industry included. It took a monumental effort to generate the amount of assessment data required to uphold the standards of our program so that we can share our unbiased assessments today with Canadians. Our members take this duty very seriously, and it shows through our ability to produce these results.”
The winners this year saw the return of a manufacturer that has won before, as well as a win for one of the newest manufacturers in the Canadian market.
Canadian Car of the Year winner: Mazda3
The Mazda3 succeeded in defending its title to become the first car to have ever win CCOTY two years running by defeating two very able finalists: the Genesis G80 and Kia K5. All fantastic cars, and although the two Korean models are newer to the landscape than the Mazda3, it did well to update its big-selling compact by adding sought-after and unique features such as turbocharging and AWD. Add great styling, and the Mazda managed to come out on top.
Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year winner: Genesis GV80
The Utility segment has generated some real surprises over the years, including, most recently, Jaguar winning in back-to-back years with their I-PACE EV. Come 2021, however, that run has ended thanks to another surprise winner: the all-new Genesis GV80, which managed to beat out the Nissan Rogue and Kia Telluride for top honours. The GV80 has a luxurious interior, great powertrains and a robust AWD system and these all came into consideration for jurors.
Also awarded today were the awards for 2021’s best automotive innovations across three categories: Best Technical Innovation, Best Safety Innovation and Best Green Innovation. Honda’s revolutionary front airbag system that is less impactful on the body was the Safety winner, while Ford’s F-150 Powerboost swept the other two categories, winning the Green award thanks to its hybrid powertrain and the Technical award for its Pro Power Onboard power generator.