Mazda takes three awards at 2014 AJAC top picks

Small Car Over $21K: 2014 Mazda3 Sport, starting at $16,995.

Small Car Over $21K: 2014 Mazda3 Sport, starting at $16,995.

Every year the top automotive journalists from all across Canada gather for a four-day new vehicle evaluation of more than 180 models.

Their purpose? To select the best new vehicles in various categories, as well as an overall Car of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year.

A Best New Technology award and the Best New Design award are also chosen.

The evaluation of the vehicles is based on “real-world” back-to-back testing so that the results have relevance for consumers.

In other words, the rigorous testing program includes “real world” driving on public roads—exactly where consumers drive—so that the test and vote results are relevant to potential car and truck buyers.

Every member of a test team compares each vehicle in its class, back-to-back, on the same roads, under the same conditions to ensure objective evaluation.

Team members use a detailed rating form, comprising 21 separate evaluation parameters that include acceleration, braking, vehicle dynamics, manoeuvrability, even off-road capability, where applicable. Each parameter is rated using a prescribed 0 – 10 rating scale.

Every detail, from safety features to cargo capacity, is thoroughly scrutinized, discussed, and individually rated by secret ballot.

Those ballots are then tabulated by the international accounting firm KPMG. The results are kept confidential—even from AJAC—until the category and overall winners are announced.

SMALL CAR UNDER $21k: Winner: Mazda3. Competed against: Nissan Versa Note; Toyota Corolla 1.8.

SMALL CAR OVER $21k:Winner:Mazda3 Sport. Competed against: Ford Fiesta ST; Kia Forte Sedan.

FAMILY CAR UNDER $30k: Winner: Kia Soul. Competed against: Kia Ronda; Fiat 500L.

FAMILY CAR OVER $30k: Winner: Mazda 6. Competed against: Honda Accord Hybrid; Chevrolet Impala LTZ.

LUXURY CAR UNDER $50k:Winner:Lexus IS 350 RWD. Competed against: Mercedes-Benz CLA 250; Kia Cadenza.

LUXURY CAR OVER $50k: Winner: Infiniti Q50 Hybrid. Competed against Cadillac CTS; Acura RLX.

SPORTS/PERFORMANCE OVER $50k: Winner: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Competed against: BMW 4 Series Coupe; Porsche Cayman.

PRESTIGE OVER $50k: Winner: Mercedes-Benz S Class. Competed against: Cadillac XTS; Jaguar XJR.

SUV/CUV UNDER $35k:Winner: Jeep Cherokee. Competed against: Subaru Forester XT Touring; Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited.

SUV/CUV $35k-$60k:Winner:Kia Sorento. Competed against Santa Fe XL; Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 BlueTEC 4Matic.

SUV/CUV OVER $60k: Winner: Acura MDX. Competed against BMW X5; Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTEC 4Matic.

PICKUP: Winner: GMC Sierra. Competed against: Chevy Silverado; Dodge Ram.

These dozen winners now will vie to become 2014 Car of the Year or 2014 Utility Vehicle of the Year. Winners will be announced at Toronto’s Canadian International Auto Show in February 2014.

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