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AJAC's TestFest picked the best 2005 models in each of 12 categories.
2005's Best Vehicles
TestFest winners are the best of 2005 models

By Bill Roebuck, Editor

Dec. 7, 2004 (Updated Feb. 16, 2005) -- Twelve 2005 Canadian Car of the Year category winners have been selected following a four-day session of back-to-back testing of 64 all-new 2005 models by members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

In the end, the 2005 Canadian Car of the Year, the Ford Mustang, and the 2005 Canadian Truck of the Year, the Honda Odyssey, were crowned the winners at the Canadian International Auto Show in February 2005.

This year's category winners represent the best among an excellent group of new cars and trucks for 2005, as selected by a professional group of automotive experts who test drive, and report on, new vehicles in various media.

AJAC's annual Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) Awards have a significant influence on Canadian consumers. Survey results of previous Car of the Year buyers determined almost 70% were influenced to purchase their car because it was chosen the Canadian Car of the Year.

Every year, AJAC members who regularly test and review vehicles meet at Shannonville Motorsport Park near Belleville, Ont., for a four-day automotive 'Test Fest' based on real-world back-to-back testing to select the best new vehicles in various categories as well as an overall Car of the Year and Truck of the Year. A Best New Technology award and the Best New Design award are also chosen.

Unlike some U.S. and European car awards, the Canadian program follows a sophisticated and rigorous testing process. "A record number of 64 vehicle entries were performance-tested for acceleration, braking and passing times, at least four times each," says Car of the Year director Laurance Yap. In addition, journalists were running an average of 10 driving loops a day during team and individual testing over the four-day period."

The overall Canadian Car and Truck of the Year will be announced on Feb. 16, 2005, in conjunction with the official opening of the 2005 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. The Best New Design and Best New Technology winners will also be declared at that time.

Here's how the contenders ranked in each category (photographs are of the winning models):

1. Kia Spectra Sedan LX (Winner)
2. Chevrolet Cobalt/Pontiac Pursuit
3. Hyundai Accent 5-Door
4. Smart Coupe and Cabriolet (Mercedes-Benz)

1. Mazda6 Sport (Winner)
2. Subaru Legacy
3. Buick Allure
4. Pontiac G6
5. Ford Five Hundred
(Read CarTest's opinion of all five Family Car candidates here.)

1. Chrysler 300C (Winner)
2. Acura RL
3. Infiniti G35X
4. Cadillac STS
5. Volkswagen Phaeton
6. Kia Amanti

1. BMW X3 3.0i (Winner)
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee
3. Land Rover LR3
4. Lexus GX 470
5. Nissan Pathfinder
6. Infiniti QX 56

1. Hyundai Tucson 4-cylinder AWD (Winner)
2. Nissan X-Trail
3. Chevrolet Equinox
4. Ford Freestyle SEL
5. Subaru Outback

1. Volvo S40 (Winner)
2. Saab 9-2X
3. Mazdaspeed MX5 Miata
4. Saturn ION Red Line
5. Kia Spectra5 Pkg. 1
6. Toyota Corolla XRS
7. Ford Focus ST

1. Ford Mustang Coupe (Category Winner) 2005 Canadian Car of the Year
2. Mercedes C55 AMG
3. Chevrolet Corvette
4. Cadillac CTS-V
5. Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Roadster

1. Honda Odyssey (Category Winner) 2005 Canadian Truck of the Year
2. Dodge Grand Caravan
3. Saturn Relay/Buick Terraza

1. Mazda6 Sportwagon (Winner)
2. Subaru Legacy
3. Volvo V50
4. Dodge Magnum RT
5. Chevrolet Malibu Maxx
6. Jaguar X-Type Wagon
7. Chevrolet Optra Wagon

1. Toyota Tacoma (Winner)
2. Dodge Dakota
3. Nissan Frontier
4. Ford F-250 Super Duty

1. Mercedes SLK350 (Winner)
2. MINI Cooper S Convertible
3. Audi S4 Cabriolet
4. Chevrolet Corvette
5. Toyota Solara
6. Chrysler PT Touring Convertible
7. Saab 9-3

1. Honda Accord Hybrid (Winner)
2. Ford Escape Hybrid
3. Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI
4. Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
5. Jeep Liberty Diesel