Mazda’s triple award sweep had to taste extra sweet as Mazda only had three entries in a field of over fifty vehicle entries…

2014 Mazda3

Mazda bagged three of twelve “Best New” 2014 model year category awards just announced by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

The triple award sweep (Mazda3, Mazda3 Sport and Mazda6) had to taste extra sweet as Mazda only had three entries in a field of over fifty vehicle entries. This also positions Mazda with three (of the final eight) contenders for overall 2014 Canadian Car of the Year.

The 2014 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year Award was also narrowed down to four “Best New” category award winners: the stylish all-new Jeep Cherokee (SUV/CUV under $35K), great value Kia Sorrento (SUV/CUV $35K to $60K), luxurious Acura MDX (SUV/CUV over $60K) and the tough-as-nails GMC Sierra 1500 pickup.

AJAC award wins in both Best New Small Car categories (under $21K and over $21K), gives the Mazda3, in various forms, an impressive total of nine trophies over its ten year history. The Mazda6 is also a repeat winner, with previous category wins in 2009, 2005 and 2004, its introductory year. Both the new Mazda3 and Mazda6 are now SKYACTIV-equipped vehicles and offer outstanding fuel economy.

This was also a good awards event for General Motors, the recipient of two AJAC trophies in very different vehicle categories. In addition to the Best New Pickup Award, the 2014 Corvette Stingray was also voted the Best New sports Performance Car. “This is a monumental step for the Chevrolet brand and the first all-new Corvette, since the first Corvette … we couldn’t be prouder of it,” said Rob Assimakopoulus, GM Director of Marketing, during his acceptance speech.

The other double-award winning manufacturer was Kia. The Best New Family Car under $30,000 award went to the revamped Kia Soul. A new and softer rendition of its offbeat five-door wagon-like design plus numerous other refinements helped the surprisingly practical Soul out-perform the competition. The new Kia Sorento notched an even more impressive victory, as it was achieved in a highly competitive light-luxury SUV/CUV category ahead of some renowned competitive products.

The AJAC awards are based on a methodical secret ballot voting process that was completed by over eighty journalist members following a five-day, hands-on driving event known as “TestFest”, which was held earlier this year in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Same-day, back-to-back evaluations were performed on handling, performance and off-road courses (where applicable), and on public roads.

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Here’s a complete list of all twelve categories winners:

Best New Small Car (under $21k)

Mazda3

Best New Small Car (over $21k)

Mazda3 Sport

Best New Family Car (under $30k)

Kia Soul

Best New Family Car (over $30k)

Mazda6

Best New Luxury Car (under $50k)

Lexus IS 350 RWD

Best New Luxury Car (over $50k)

Infiniti Q50 Hybrid

Best New Sports/Performance

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Best New Prestige Car

Mercedes-Benz S Class

Best New SUV/CUV (under $35k)                 

Jeep Cherokee

Best New SUV/CUV ($35k to $60k)

Kia Sorento

Best New SUV/CUV (over $60k)

Acura MDX

Pickup

GMC Sierra 1500

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The accounting firm KPMG tabulated the ballots and the results were kept confidential until the public announcement. The full voting result and comparative data will be posted to the AJAC website (ajac.ca). Consumers are urged to use the data as a resource buying guide when shopping for a new vehicle.

The twelve category winners now go on to compete for the top honour of being either the 2014 Canadian Car of the Year or the 2014 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year. The overall winners will be declared on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at the beginning of media day at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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