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2010 Canadian Car of the Year

2010 Canadian Car of the Year: Best vehicles of 2010 named by AJAC

By Bill Roebuck

2010 Volkswagen Golf GTIDuring the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) in Toronto on February 11, 2010, the 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI was declared the 2010 Canadian Car of the Year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). At the same time, the 2010 Subaru Outback was named the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

The 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI beat nine other 'Best New' category winners, announced October 30, 2009, to win top honours as the Canadian Car of the Year.

John White, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group Canada Inc. commented, "We are very proud to win this very prestigious award and wish to thank the AJAC members for bestowing this recognition upon our car. The Golf GTI is the heart and soul of Volkswagen. To have the Golf GTI named Canadian Car of the Year today by Canada's automotive media is a very proud moment for us, indeed, and represents the culmination of the hard work on the part of everyone in the Volkswagen Brand around the world."  

2010 Canadian Car of the Year Winners
Canadian Car of the Year
Volkswagen Golf GTI
Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year
Subaru Outback
Best New Design
BMW 335d Sedan
Best New Small Car (under $21,000)
Best New Small Car (over $21,000)
Mazda3 Sport
Best New Family Car (under $30,000)
Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI
Best New Family Car (over $30,000)
Ford Taurus
Best New Luxury Car (over $50,000)
BMW 335d Sedan
Best New Prestige Car
Porsche Panamera
Best New Sports / Performance Car (under $50,000)
Volkswagen Golf GTI
Best New Sports / Performance Car (over $50,000)
Audi S4
Best New Convertible
Audi S5 Cabriolet
Best New SUV / CUV (under $35,000)
Subaru Outback
Best New SUV / CUV ($35,000 - $60,000)
Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel
Best New SUV / CUV (over $60,000)
Lexus RX450h
Best New Technology
Audi Drive Select
Best New Green Technology
Ford Next Generation Hybrid System and Smartgauge
The 2010 Subaru Outback was chosen over three other 'Best New' category winners from the Sport Utility/Crossover categories announced October 30, 2009, to garner the top honours as the overall best Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

Katsuhiro Yokoyama, president and CEO, commented: "It is a great honour to accept this award. To receive this tribute from the members of AJAC tells us very clearly that thoughtful design, first-class engineering, exceptional safety, and outstanding value are qualities that keep the Subaru brand strong."

AJAC's Canadian Car of the Year Awards chair, Richard Russell, said: "AJAC has been conducting and perfecting the Canadian Car and Utility Vehicle of the year program for more than two decades. By constantly adjusting the program and testing procedures to reflect what is important to Canadian consumers, we feel we have a more thorough, unbiased and meaningful award than any other. It is heartening to learn from independent research that Canadians recognize the significance of the award. We will continue to strive to live up to that trust.".  

Additional 'Best New' awards were presented at the Canadian International Auto Show press conference, including Best New Technology, Best New Green Technology and Best New Design.

Best New Technology for 2010

The Audi Drive Select technology was declared the 2010 Best New Technology by AJAC.

"The AJAC Best New Technology award, presented by Shell Canada, was established to allow a group of technical writers to identify new and innovative technologies of significant benefit to the consumer -- so much so, that it is likely to be emulated by other manufacturers," explained Russell. "Past winners include everything from run-flat tires to various hybrid and suspension technologies. The significance of the Best New Technology award has been growing steadily over the past few years as has the degree of rigour to which entries are submitted."

The winner was chosen from a list of six entries, judged by a panel of AJAC members with specific technical qualifications who regularly report on industry engineering and technical trends.

2010 Subaru Outback"Vorsprung durch Technik means 'Advancement through technology, design and teamwork'," said Audi Canada's Martin Sander, president and CEO. "At Audi, we never stop thinking about technology. It is part of our DNA and incorporated into all parts of our business. The Audi Drive Select system is just one of the latest examples of this. The ability to offer the driver at a touch of a button the option of making personal settings for throttle response, steering feel and suspension settings is pure Audi."

Best New Green Technology for 2010

The Ford Next Generation Hybrid System and SmartGauge, available on the 2010 Fusion Hybrid, was declared the winner of the 2010 Best New Green Technology award by AJAC.

"AJAC's Best New Green Technology award, presented by Shell Canada, was established to recognize innovative new developments in the auto industry that will be of benefit to the Canadian consumer," said Russell. "Virtually every manufacturer is working to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. We want to look at these efforts and award those we feel are worthy of recognition."  

Russell further commented, "Continual development has made the modern passenger vehicle a very clean device. But we cannot let up on efforts to reduce the effect it has on the environment we will hand off to future generations."

The winner was chosen from a list of five entries, judged by a panel of AJAC members with specific technical qualifications who regularly report on industry engineering and technical trends.

"Great strides in our hybrid technology have made the Fusion Hybrid the most fuel efficient mid-size sedan and the addition of SmartGauge with EcoGuide instrument cluster technology is a unique way to help drivers get the most out of their hybrids," said David Mondragon, president and CEO, Ford of Canada.

Best New Design for 2010

The BMW 335d Sedan won the Best New Design award for 2010, as presented by AJAC. We are delighted that the members of AJAC have bestowed the 2010 Best New Design award on the BMW 335d Sedan" stated Franz Jung, president and CEO of BMW Group Canada. "The fifth-generation 3 Series Sedan has been recognized for its groundbraking design language in both exterior and interior execution. The most current version only reinforces the perfect balance of dynamism and elegance in this design and we are proud to receive this recognition in the face of such worthy competition."

BMW 335d SedanCanadian independent designer Paul Deutschman, Humber College automotive design professors Ken Cummings and Bruce Thomson, as well as Automobile magazine's design critic Robert Cumberford were appointed by AJAC as a panel of design experts who judged the design award entries. Their task was a difficult one: create a short-list of "Best New Design" finalists from the full slate of 53 entries in the Canadian Car of the Year awards program.

The top three finalists for the 2010 Best New Design award included the:

Audi A5. "Audi is a perennial top contender for any design comparison. The A5 Cabrio makes this list because it fairly oozes with design competence from every pore. Style, proportion, execution -- it's all there," said Deutschman.

BMW 335d Sedan. "The BMW 335d sedan is an excellent follow through design. It is updated so well there's not a line out of place. A beautifully appointed interior with outstanding ergonomics makes a winner in this category," said Cummings.

Ford Taurus & Ford Taurus SHO. "Ford's appealing Kinetic Design theme is being successfully applied throughout their global product range, including their full-size American sedan, the Taurus. It is handsome, bold yet unpretentious. Finally Ford is on a design surge, right when it is needed most," noted Deutschman.

AJAC journalists selected the winner from the design expert's short-list based on a combination of aesthetics, function and brand essence. Each parameter was rated separately for each of the design finalists. The aesthetics score reflects the sheer beauty of the design. The function score assesses the manner and degree to which it accommodates the practical requirements of the vehicle type. And brand essence considers its success in conveying the image, heritage and values of the specific brand.

"The intent of the AJAC Best New Design award is to identify and reward the vehicle that exhibits the best balance of form and function," said Russell.
About the awards AJAC's annual Canadian Car of the Year awards program was created in 1985 with the purpose of providing consumers with sound, comparative information on vehicles that are new to the market.  

Unlike other awards, this is not a popularity contest based on the opinions of a few people. Our winners are determined on a combination of measured facts and subjective evaluations of more than 20 parameters by approximately 70 journalists -- more than 46,000 pieces of data in all. And most importantly, they are based on actual testing of the vehicles -- back-to-back; on the same roads and in the same conditions on the same day.

The vote results that determined today's winners are available to consumers as a resource buying guide on the AJAC website. Also available are the comparative test data derived from the journalists' extensive four-day evaluation of more than 150 new vehicles in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, in October 2009. This annual event is known in the industry as 'TestFest'. Shell Canada is the official fuel supplier of the event.

The rigorous TestFest evaluation program includes real world driving on public roads -- exactly where consumers drive -- so that the test and vote results posted to the AJAC website are directly relevant to potential car and truck buyers.

For those still looking to buy a 2009, 2008 or even a 2007 vehicle, AJAC archives the comparative test data from previous years on its website.

For more information on the 2010 Canadian Car of the Year Awards, either visit the AJAC website at, call the AJAC office at 1-800-361-1516, or send an e-mail to

Posted Feb. 16, 2010. ©

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