AJAC Awards Declare "Best New" Vehicles for 2008

    TORONTO, Dec. 4 /CNW/ - The 2008 "Best New" winners in twelve different
"Canadian Car of the Year" categories were announced today by the Automobile
Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) at a press conference held at the
Toronto Congress Centre, in Toronto, Ontario.
    The purpose of the Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) awards program,
created by journalist members of AJAC, is to provide consumers with sound,
comparative information on vehicles that are new to the market.
    For that reason, the vote results that determined today's winners are
available on the AJAC web site www.ajac.ca, for use by consumers as a resource
buying guide when researching the purchase of a new car, truck, SUV, or CUV
for 2008. Also available to consumers are the comparative test data derived
from the journalists' extensive three to four day evaluation of 177 new 2008
vehicles in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario from October 29 - November 2, 2007.
This annual event is known in the industry as "TestFest".
    The rigorous TestFest evaluation program includes real world driving on
public roads - exactly where consumers drive so that the test and vote results
are directly relevant to potential car and truck buyers.
    In order to vote, the more than 70 journalists had to be on-site and
drive the vehicles back-to-back on the same roads, on the same day, in the
same weather conditions so as to ensure valid comparisons. Each vehicle is
carefully scrutinized using seventeen evaluation parameters that include
driver position and ergonomics, engine smoothness, steering, handling,
visibility as well as exterior and interior styling. Objective ratings for
acceleration, braking, cargo capacity, safety features, fuel consumption and
exhaust emissions are then added to the journalists ballots by the
international accounting firm KPMG prior to their vote tabulation. The scores
are then weighted by the type of vehicle as well as a price factor in order to
ensure a level playing field for all fifty-nine entries.
    2008 CCOTY Co-chairman Paul Williams commented, "In my opinion, the AJAC
Canadian Car of the Year awards are founded on the most objective, informed
and thorough evaluation process you'll find. The evaluations are based on
back-to-back testing in real-world situations. They're a uniquely Canadian
resource for people looking to buy a new vehicle".
    AJAC's three consumer surveys show that winning an AJAC Canadian Car of
the Year (CCOTY) award is increasingly important for potential buyers of new
cars. For example, a survey of 2004 Canadian Car of the Year buyers confirmed
an influence of 58.4%. In 2002 that influence was 47.5%; in 1999 the influence
was 44.5%. The 2008 category winners are:

    BEST NEW SMALL CAR: Saturn Astra

    BEST NEW FAMILY CAR: Honda Accord EX Sedan

    BEST NEW LUXURY CAR: Mercedes-Benz C Class

    BEST NEW PRESTIGE CAR (over $75,000): Audi R8



    BEST NEW CONVERTIBLE: BMW 335i Cabriolet

    BEST NEW MINIVAN: Hyundai Entourage

    BEST NEW PICKUP TRUCK: Chevrolet Silverado

    BEST NEW SUV/CUV under $35,000: Nissan Rogue

    BEST NEW SUV/CUV $35,000 - $60,000: Saturn Vue

    BEST NEW SUV/CUV over $60,000: Buick Enclave

    In addition to the twelve category winners, AJAC handed out the "Most
Coveted Vehicle" award. Inaugurated in 2005, the award was created to
acknowledge what is truly a dream car; a car that stirs the hearts and minds
of automobile enthusiasts. In other words, if you won the lottery today, which
of the fifty-nine AJAC Car of the Year entries would be your dream car, truck
or SUV? In order to win this award, the majority of the seventy-four voting
journalists had to cast a ballot and the winning vehicle had to receive
two-thirds of those votes. The winner of the 2008 Most Coveted Vehicle award
is the Audi R8.
    The overall Canadian Car of the Year as well as the Canadian Utility
Vehicle of the Year will be announced on February 13th, 2008, at the
2008 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Ontario. The 2008 Best New
Design and Best New Technology winners will also be declared at that time.
    And there's more. our AJAC journalists who evaluated the brand-new models
at TestFest are available across Canada for interviews to talk about the vote
results and comparative data. Media are invited to visit the AJAC web site and
log-in under "Ask The Experts", then choose the "Car of the Year" link for
interviews once they've been validated.
    Photos from the TestFest evaluation program, and from the press
conference, are also available for print and broadcast media on the AJAC web
    Still looking to buy a 2007 new car? AJAC archives the comparative test
data and vote results from previous years on its web site.

For further information:

For further information: on the 2008 Canadian Car of the Year Awards,
either visit our AJAC web site (www.ajac.ca), call the AJAC office at (705)
924-3444, or send us an email: beth@ajac.ca

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