“Voting for Canadian Car of the Year started when 73 automotive journalists from all parts of Canada gathered for a five-day test-drive evaluation.”

The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) has announced (… drum-roll, please) Subaru Legacy as the 2015 Canadian Car of the Year and Ford F-150 as the 2015 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

“Subaru had an outstanding year in 2014,” said Shiro Ohta, chairman, president and CEO of Subaru Canada, Inc. “In the past year, Subaru sold a record number of vehicles and celebrated a new milestone in company history with unprecedented sales success. This award from AJAC is a wonderful tribute to our recent achievements.”

The completely redesigned 2015 Subaru Legacy was engineered in Japan and is now built in the USA. Legacy is the only car in its class with standard all-wheel-drive. A variety of engineering changes, including Active Grille Shutter system and a new (CVT) automatic transmission, have helped achieve a substantial improvement in fuel economy.

The greenest Legacy comes with a PZEV version of its 2.5-litre horizontally opposed (Boxer) 4-cylinder engine and the top line editions come with a 3.6-litre engine. The new Lineartronic CVT has a lock-up torque converter and a manual paddle shifter operating mode.

Legacy boasts one of the roomiest interiors in the midsize sedan segment and has received “Top Safety Pick” rating from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It’s also probably more affordable than you think, as new Legacy has a start price of just $23, 495 (manual) and $24,795 for the CVT edition.

To reach the final stage of this annual competition Legacy first claimed the Best New Family Car (under $30,000) award, when the initial category winner votes were tabulated. The other three auto candidates for this (best of the best) top award were Hyundai Genesis, Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC and the Volkswagen Golf.

Utility Vehicle of the Year, the Ford F-150 is familiar with the AJAC awards podium, as it already scooped the 2015 Best New Technology Innovation Award earlier this year. And this is the F-150’s second overall Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year Award, having also claimed it back in 2004.

“We are honoured that the 2015 F-150 has been named AJAC’s 2015 Utility Vehicle of the Year,” said Dianne Craig, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. “Our game-changing use of aluminum alloy is raising the competitive bar for pickups and we are humbled to be considered an innovator in the industry, committed to providing our customers the most capable and fuel efficient pickup ever.”

Ford uses a special heat treatment that nearly doubles (compared to steel) the strength of the military grade aluminum (magnesium) alloy body panels used in the new F150, making them more resistant to dents. A lighter truck body increases payload and towing capability and it also has positive influences on braking, handling, ride and acceleration.

Massively popular, the F-150 is already the top-selling vehicle in Canada and has been for the last five years. Ford F-series has been the best-selling truck in Canada for 49 consecutive years. Other finalists for this award were the Porsche Macan and Subaru Outlander.

Voting for Canadian Car of the Year started when 73 automotive journalists from all parts of Canada gathered, last October in Niagara Falls, Ontario, for a five-day test-drive evaluation event known as “TestFest.” It was hosted by the Niagara Parks Commission, Shell Canada was the official fuel supplier and the accounting firm KPMG tabulated all vote results.

Same-day, back-to-back testing is done to ensure fair and objective comparisons. At this year’s event 1,640 test drives were made by journalists and this yielded approximately 106,405 data points and over 500 category ballots. Complete voting data and performance test results are available on the AJAC web site: www.ajac.ca

“TestFest is the most intensive new vehicle evaluation process on the planet,” said Canadian Car of the Year Co-Chair, Gary Grant. “No other organization employs such stringent testing methods to determine their car of year award winners. Data driven and Canadian expertise:  that’s what makes an AJAC winner.”

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

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