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The Honda Accord was voted the Best New Family Vehicle among new 2003 models by Canadian automotive journalists, but it was the sporty Nissan 350Z that took top honours as Canadian Car of the Year.


The 350Z also won the Best Design Award for 2003.



The Nissan Murano SUV was named Canadian Truck of the Year, making a triple win for Nissan



2003 Canadian Car & Truck of the Year Category Winners
Oct. 2002  -- Nissan vehicles swept three top awards at the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Car of the Year ceremonies at the Canadian International Auto Show in February.
The Nissan 350Z sports car was a double winner, voted Canadian Car of the Year and also earning AJAC's nod as Best New Design. The new Z-car beat two of its Nissan siblings - the Nissan Murano 'crossover' sport utility vehicle (SUV) and the Infiniti G35 - for the design award.
The Murano was also voted Canadian Truck of the Year in the prestigious competition, which is based on comprehensive head-to-head testing by AJAC members.

The sweep was unprecedented in the 19-year history of the awards. No manufacturer has ever won both Canadian Car and Truck of the Year awards in the same year.
"To say we are thrilled is a huge understatement," said Brad Bradshaw, president of Nissan Canada Inc. "This is clear testimony that Nissan is designing and building the best vehicles in the industry."

The 350Z, which has been a sellout since its introduction in August, was earlier voted Best New Sports/Performance Car in the annual AJAC competition. Murano, which went on sale in November, was picked Best New Sport Utility Vehicle Under $45,000.

The 350Z's victory marks the first time any manufacturer has won two consecutive Canadian Car of the Year awards. Last year's winner was the Nissan Altima.


Photograph shows Nissan Canada president Brad Bradshaw with 350Z and awards.

Car of the Year Category Winners

Nine 2003 Canadian Car of the Year Award category winners were announced by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) during the Montreal International Auto Show on Nov. 21, 2002.

AJAC's Jim Kenzie, president of the Canadian Car of the Year Awards, explained that, "Canadian consumers want to know which vehicles are the "Best New" for 2003. Based on recent survey results, almost 70% (69.6 %) of Nissan Altima buyers were aware that the Altima won AJAC Car of the Year in 2002. Of those, 93% said they were influenced to purchase a Nissan Altima because it was "Canadian Car of the Year". 47.5% of those buyers identified the award as a "strong/extremely strong" influence on their decision to buy that model.

This year's winners represent the best among an excellent group of new cars and trucks for 2003, as selected by a professional group of automotive experts who test drive, and report on, new vehicles in various media.

Unlike American or European car awards, AJAC's Canadian program follows a sophisticated voting process based on back-to-back, real-world testing. The vote and test results are made available to the consumer to help him or her make an informed decision when buying a new car.

The winners and entrants are:

Best New Economy Car Under $18,000: Winner: 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer ES

Runner-up: Dodge SX 2.0, Suzuki Aerio S Fastback
Other entrants: Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio RX-V, Pontiac Sunfire Coupe

Best New Family Vehicle: Winner: 2003 Honda Accord Sedan

Runner-up: Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo, Suzuki Aerio SX Fastback AWD
Other entrants: Kia Magentis, Saturn Ion

Best New Luxury Car (under $55,000): Winner: 2003 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Runner-up: Infiniti M45, Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
Other entrants: BMW 745 Li, Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Best New Sports Coupe/Sedan (under $35,000): Winner: 2003 Mazda Speed Protége

Runner-up: Hyundai Tiburon, Mini Cooper S
Other entrants: Honda Civic SiR, Mitsubishi Eclipse GT-P, Saab 9.3 Linear

Best New Sports Coupe/Sedan (over $35,000): Winner: 2003 Mercedes-Benz C-32 AMG

Runner-up: Cadillac CTS Sport, Infiniti G35
Other entrants: Audi A4 Cabriolet, Jaguar S-Type R

Best New Station Wagon/MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle): Winner: 2003 Pontiac Vibe

Runner-up: Volkswagen Jetta Wagon, Volkswagen Passat W8 Wagon
Other entrants: Audi A4 3.0 Avant Wagon, GMC Savanna, Mazda MPV, Subaru Baja

Best New Sports/Performance Car: Winner: 2003 Nissan 350 Z*
* 2003 Canadian Car of the Year
Runner-up: BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK32 AMG
Other entrants: Acura NSX

Best New Sport Utility Vehicle (under $45,000): Winner: 2003 Nissan Murano*
* 2003 Canadian Truck of the Year
Runner-up: Honda Pilot, Subaru Forester
Other entrants: Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT, Kia Sorento, Jeep Rubicon, Land Rover Freelander, Mitsubishi Outlander XLS

Best New Sport Utility Vehicle (over $45,000): Winner: 2003 Volvo XC90 2.5T

Runner-up: BMW X5 4.6iS, Land Rover Range Rover.
Other entrants: Ford Expedition, Hummer H2, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz G500, Mitsubishi Montero Limited


Overall winners

The overall Canadian Car and Truck of the Year winners were announced Feb. 12, 2003, in conjunction with the official opening of the 2003 Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto. The Best New Design and Best New Technology winners also were declared at that time.

The Nissan 350Z sports car was a double winner, voted Canadian Car of the Year and also earning AJAC's nod as Best New Design. The new Z-car beat two of its Nissan siblings - the Nissan Murano 'crossover' sport utility vehicle (SUV) and the Infiniti G35 - for the design award.

The Nissan Murano was also voted Canadian Truck of the Year in the prestigious competition, which is based on comprehensive head-to-head testing by AJAC members.

The sweep was unprecedented in the 19-year history of the awards. No manufacturer has ever won both Canadian Car and Truck of the Year awards in the same year.

"To say we are thrilled is a huge understatement," said Brad Bradshaw, president of Nissan Canada Inc. "This is clear testimony that Nissan is designing and building the best vehicles in the industry."

The 350Z was introduced in August 2002, while the Murano went on sale in November.

The 350Z's victory also marks the first time any manufacturer has won two consecutive Canadian Car of the Year awards. Last year's winner was the Nissan Altima.

To obtain a copy of the comparative test and performance data as well as the actual "Best New" vote results, visit www.ajac.ca or contact the AJAC office at 1-800-361-1516.

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