AJAC finalists for Canadian Car/Utility Vehicle of the Year announced

This year, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) chose the Montreal International Auto Show to announce its finalists for the Canadian Car of the Year program. The vehicles chosen, below, were among many 2018 models across multiple segments that have been thoroughly tested by nearly 100 journalists — scored on factors like performance, technology, fuel economy and much more — over the last several months. Here is more on some of the notable category winners.

2018 Volkswagen e-Golf white

Best City Car in Canada for 2018: Volkswagen e-Golf

It’s easy to see why the electric version of the legendary Golf was bestowed with this honour — a massive 35.8-kilowatt-hour battery gives the zero-emissions hatchback a 200-kilometre range, and the motor outputs 134 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of near-instant torque for guaranteed fun, fuel-free driving.

2018 Mazda3

Best Small Car in Canada for 2018: Mazda3

The current-generation Mazda3, featuring the head-turning KODO design and efficient SKYACTIV engineering, has garnered no shortage of accolades, and now chalks up one more on the list. The agile car returns with a truly class-leading looking and feeling interior, full suite of i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies and an affordable starting price tag of $15,900.

2018 Honda Accord

Best Large Car in Canada for 2018: Honda Accord

What a year for the ’18 Accord, already having been named the North American Car of the Year and now the Best Large Car in Canada. Rebuilt from the ground up, the sedan is lighter and more rigid than before, touts a more streamlined body shape, runs on a one of two turbocharged VTEC engines and introduces a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is a world’s first for a front-wheel drive vehicle.

2018 Jaguar F-TYPE

Best Premium Sports-Performance Car in Canada for 2018: Jaguar F-TYPE

Anyone who has laid eyes on the beautiful Jaguar F-TYPE can tell the sports car is award winning without even having to do any research. To be specific, the coupe/roadster, available in both supercharged V6 and V8 form, has netted 160 awards worldwide since the original 2012 launch, according to the company. Small improvements have been made for the latest edition such as a new Touch Pro fast response infotainment system, full-LED headlights, refreshed front bumper and lightweight “slimline” seating.

2018 Range Rover Velar

Best Small Premium Utility Vehicle in Canada for 2018: Range Rover Velar

The forth member to join the Range Rover family, the Velar brings a level of elegance and minimalism never quite seen before from the brand (just look at those flush-deployable door handles). From a capability standpoint, however, it’s business as usual. The mid-size SUV boasts a 558-litre luggage compartment, Terrain Response 2 traction aids, Advanced Tow Assist functionality and a choice between a 180-horsepower diesel and 380 horsepower gasoline engine.

Top affordable vehicles available with heated seats

Maybe with the exception of a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night, there’s nothing as comforting as the embrace of a heated car seat during the chilly season. And unlike years past where this feature was reserved for luxury brands and/or range-topping models, consumers will be pleased to hear it’s becoming more common across a wide range of segments and trims. Here are some of the best examples.

2018 Honda Fit Sport

Honda Fit

This past summer, the versatile Fit hatchback received a facelift with new styling and the addition of a Sport offering boasting a body kit and a bright Orange Fury paint option. But even the LX grade, one step above base, receives front heated seats to keep occupants toasty.

2017 Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen Jetta

The most affordable entry in VW’s lineup is the Jetta packing an ultra-efficient 1.4-litre turbocharged TSI engine, now including standard 16-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights and a backup camera. Bumping the entry Trendline sedan to Trendline+ adds not just heated seats, but heated exterior mirrors too.

2017 Mazda3 sedan


There are a lot of things going for the Mazda3: the lauded SKYACTIV technology, an available precise-shifting six-speed manual transmission and gorgeous KODO Soul of Motion design. The GS tier allows customers to enjoy heated seats, and surprisingly at a starting price of $20,300, also a heated leather steering wheel.

2017 Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai Elantra

If we’re talking about bang for buck, the Elantra wins hands down. At an MSRP of only $15,999, the compact four-door comes with the sought-after heated front seats and door mirrors. Spend an additional $4,350 and level up to the GL model for a heated leather steering wheel, or $6,700 to GLS to extend automatic seat warming to rear passengers as well. 

Cutting edge concepts at Tokyo Motor Show 2017

Honda Sports EV rear

This Honda Sports EV concept was one of many beautifully designed examples unveiled at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show.

Next-level design is what the 2017 edition of the Tokyo Motor Show is all about. We’ve rounded up the boldest of the bunch in the form of concept cars currently on display until Nov. 5 at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition centre.

Mazda Kai concept

Mazda Kai

Embodying a more evolved form of the KODO design language, this smoothed over compact hatchback might very well be a next-gen Mazda3. Though the slammed suspension and massive wheels likely wouldn’t make their way through production if that really were the case, the combination certainly looks awesome on the concept.

Honda Sports EV front

Honda Sports EV

Remember the boxy Urban EV Concept debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show a few months ago? The Sports EV Concept is the squashed and stretched out fastback version, clearly influenced by iconic Hondas of old such as the S600 Coupe. Don’t hold your breath on picking one up if it’s made however, unless you already live in Japan.

Toyota GR HV Sports

Toyota GR HV Sports

With borrowed elements from the TS050 Hybrid created for the World Endurance Championship auto racing series, the GR HV Sports is purposed as an eco-friendly sports car for the street. Sprayed matte black, this partially electric two-door features a targa top, rear-wheel drive and transmission selection buttons uniquely mounted in series on the centre stack.

Mazda Vision concept

Mazda Vision Coupe

The Hiroshima-based manufacturer makes this list twice with a second unveil at the show: the Vision Coupe, which, surprise, is actually a full-length sedan. It’s considered to be of the same lineage as the RX-Vision concept from 2015 and is meant to show off just how aesthetically appealing Mazda can make a vehicle. The exterior styling is called “one motion,” intended to evoke a sense of elegant speed.

Top three minivans for parents

As September has rolled around, parents will once again be turning into a transportation service for their kids taking them to school, band practice and wherever else their extracurricular activities will take them. With their sliding doors and plethora of other modern conveniences, there is still no better vehicle to accomplish the task than the minivan. Below are three models that deserve some special attention.

2018 Toyota Sienna

2018 Toyota Sienna

A perennial favourite, the Toyota Sienna just received a brand new powertrain last year. It consists of a new 3.5-litre V6 engine, rated at 296 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which was an upgrade from the previous six-speed.

For 2018, the seven seater (or eight, depending on configuration) receives Toyota Safety Sense P pre-collision safety system across all trims. The front grille and foglight recesses have been enlarged and side sill rockers added for extra swag points. There are now five USB ports in the cabin for charging electronics, and Limited grade owners enjoy a 360-degree Bird’s Eye View camera.

2017 Mazda5

2017 Mazda5

This mini-minivan provides an option for those who would like a family vehicle with a slightly smaller footprint. Mazda calls the six-passenger Mazda5 a “Multi-Activity Vehicle” with lots of neat features not commonly found in the segment, like the availability of a six-speed manual transmission and fold-out storage trays inspired by bento boxes stashed underneath the second row sliding/reclining captain’s chairs.

2018 honda odyssey

2018 Honda Odyssey

It’s true, the redesigned 2018 Odyssey has been covered in a previous post, but we simply couldn’t leave out this modernized offering from Honda. Unique technologies make it easy for parents to keep tabs on their little passengers in the back.

For example, CabinWatch relays real-time images from an interior camera pointed at the rear seats to the eight-inch infotainment screen, and CabinTalk allows the driver to speak to people sitting in the second and third row through the stereo speaker system or rear entertainment headphones.