VW Golf R, Mazda CX-3 among AJAC 'Best New' vehicles winners

AJAC TestFest Volkswagen Golf R rear
The 2016 Volkswagen Golf R claims the title of AJAC’s best sports performance vehicle under $50,000. Photos by Benjamin Yong.

Following a few weeks of number crunching, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) has announced their 2016 best new vehicle category winners. Volkswagen scored a double win this year for their practical Golf Sportwagon 1.8 TSI, and the pulse quickening Golf R. The recently launched 10th generation Honda Civic Sedan walked away with honours as well.

The finalists will now compete for the overall Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year at Toronto’s Canadian International Auto Show in February. But for now, more information on the winners (as tested):


Small Car: Honda Civic Sedan

Honda says the latest iteration of the Civic is the “most ambitious remake of the model in its 43-year history.” To go along with its bold looks, two engines are being introduced, including the brand’s first turbo powerplant.

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four cylinder

Horsepower: 174 @ 5,500 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 162 @ 1,800 rpm

Transmission: CVT

Fuel consumption (city/highway L/100km): 7.6/5.5

Base MSRP: $24,990


Family Car: Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon 1.8 TSI

Based on the new Volkswagen “MQB” platform, the manufacturer describes the Sportwagon as sleek, with the versatility of an SUV and the manoeuvrability of a car.

Engine: 1.8-litre TSI four cylinder

Horsepower: 170 @ 4,800 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 185 @ 1,600 rpm

Transmission: six-speed automatic

Fuel consumption (city/highway L/100km): 9.6/6.7

Base MSRP: $24,195


Sports/Performance (under $50,000): Volkswagen Golf R

Also built on the MQB platform, this all-wheel drive Golf is the most powerful model ever released in North America, capable of reaching 0-100 km/h in less than five seconds.

Engine: 2.0-litre TSI four cylinder

Horsepower: 292 @ 5,500 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 280 @ 1,800 rpm

Transmission: six-speed manual

Fuel consumption (city/highway L/100km): 10.9/7.7

Base MSRP: $39,995


SUV/CUV under $35,000: Mazda CX-3

The Mazda CX-3 has quickly become a staple of the burgeoning subcompact crossover SUV movement, thanks to its good looks, fuel-efficient powertrain and practical shape.

Engine: 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G four cylinder

Horsepower: 146 @ 6,000 rpm

Torque (lb-ft): 146 @ 2,800 rpm

Transmission: six-speed automatic

Fuel consumption (city/highway L/100km): 8.8/7.3

Base MSRP: $20,695

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights