What are the Canadian Car of the Year Awards

The purpose of the Canadian Car of the Year Awards (CCOTY) program, created by journalist members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), is to provide consumers with sound, comparative information on vehicles that are new to the market.

Key to the awards program is an annual event known in the Canadian automotive industry as “TestFest”.

Every year the top automotive journalists from all across Canada gather for a four-day new vehicle evaluation of over 180 models.

Their purpose? To select the best new vehicles in various categories as well as an overall Car of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year. A "Best New Technology" award and the "Best New Design" award are also chosen.

The evaluation is based on "real-world" back-to-back testing so that the results have relevance for consumers.

In other words, the rigorous testing program includes "real world" driving on public roads – exactly where consumers drive - so that the test, and vote, results are relevant to potential car and truck buyers.

Every member of a test team compares each vehicle in its class, back-to-back, on the same roads, under the same conditions to ensure objective evaluation.

Team members use a detailed rating form, comprising 21 separate evaluation parameters that include acceleration, braking, vehicle dynamics, maneuverability, even off-road capability, where applicable. Each parameter is rated using a prescribed 0 – 10 rating scale.

Every detail, from safety features to cargo capacity, is thoroughly scrutinized, discussed, and individually rated by secret ballot.

Those ballots are then tabulated by the international accounting firm KPMG. The results are kept confidential -- even from AJAC -- until the awards press conferences wherein the category and overall winners are announced.

As soon as the winners are declared, the comparative test data, and vote results are posted to the AJAC web site for use by consumers as a resource buying guide.

Three AJAC surveys have shown that consumers are powerfully influenced by a Canadian Car of the Year award win. In 1999, the influence on buyers of the Canadian Car of the Year was 45%. In 2002, that percentage rose to 47.5%. While in 2005, the survey confirmed an influence of 58.4%.

For more information about the Canadian Car of the Year Awards, please visit the AJAC web site at www.ajac.ca, or call the AJAC office at 1-800-361-1516.