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These five vehicles are the entrants in the Family Sedan category for the 2003 Canadian Car of the Year competition.
Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo
Honda Accord Sedan
Kia Magentis

Saturn Ion

Suzuki Aerio Fastback AWD

2003 Family Vehicle Comparo
Something for everyone who needs passenger space 

By Bill Roebuck

Each October, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) sponsors a Test Fest of new vehicles in every vehicle category, including economy cars, family vehicles, luxury cars, sports coupes and sedans, performance cars, station wagons, minivans, and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

Teams of automotive journalists from across Canada participate and the results are tabulated by an independent auditor. Category winners were announced Nov. 21, 2002, in Montreal, and the 2003 Canadian Car of the Year and Truck of the Year will be revealed in February 2003, on the eve of the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto.

Here's's report from the Family Vehicles category. Five new models were evaluated back-to-back under identical road conditions.

Basic family sedans are among the most popular car choices for average Canadians, but that doesn't mean the vehicles in this class are average. This year, there's quite an interesting variety of contenders for the Family Vehicle of the Year, ranging from the nearly ubiquitous Honda Accord to the upscale Kia Magentis.

The all-new Saturn Ion joins this group for the first time, with its novel interior design. Then there's the entry of the all-wheel-drive Aerio Fastback from Suzuki, which looks like a tall station wagon. And then, for those who might like a bit of performance with their family hauler, DaimlerChrysler has provided an entertaining entry with the new PT Cruiser Turbo. Although it fits in the family category, it could have competed easily in the sports sedan group as well.

All but the Accord were tested with automatic transmissions, and all but the Ion featured ABS brakes. With variety as the catchword for these five entrants, the following reviews are listed in alphabetic order.

© Copyright Bill Roebuck, 2002.

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