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Mike Benchimol, president of Mazda Canada, stands proudly with Mazda's four awards in the 2004 AJAC Car of the Year competition.
2004 Canadian Car & Truck of the Year Category Winners
The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) named the Mazda 3 as the “Canadian Car of the Year” at an event in February 2004 in Toronto. As well, the Ford F-150 was declared the “Canadian Truck of the Year.”
The winners were selected from ten 2004 Canadian Car of the Year Award category winners announced in December 2003, with Mazda, which is owned by Ford, taking an unprecedented total of four awards, while Ford itself got one of its own.
In related awards, BMW Active Steering was declared the winner of the “Best New Technology” award for 2004, while the Chrysler Crossfire was declared the winner of the “Best New Design” award for 2004.
"Canadian consumers want to know what are the Best New buys for 2004. Based on survey results of previous Car of the Year buyers, almost 70% were influenced to purchase their car because it was chosen the Canadian Car of the Year," says AJAC's Jim Kenzie, president of the Canadian Car of the Year Awards.
This year's category winners represent the best among an excellent group of new cars and trucks for 2004, as selected by a professional group of automotive experts who test drive, and report on, new vehicles in various media.
Every year, this group of automotive experts meets at Shannonville Motorsport Park near Belleville, Ont., for a four-day automotive TestFest based on "real-world" back-to-back testing. CarTest writers participated on test teams at the event, along with about 50 other automotive journalists.
Unlike American or European car awards, the Canadian program follows a sophisticated and rigorous testing process. To quote AJAC and Car of the Year Director Laurance Yap, "The 58 vehicle entries were performance-tested for acceleration, braking and passing times, at least four times each. In addition, journalists were running an average of 10 driving loops a day during team testing over the four-day period."
The vote results, as well as the comparative performance data produced during the annual Test Fest, are available to consumers on AJAC’s website at www.AJAC.ca.
The 2004 Winners
The following alphabetical list shows all the entrants in each category, with the winner highlighted in colour. The competition compares only vehicles that are new for the current model year in each category.
Chevrolet Aveo LS
Chevrolet Optra LS
Mazda3 (category winner and Canadian Car of the Year)
Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback LS (2nd runner-up)
Saturn ION Quad Coupe
Suzuki Swift +
Toyota Echo Hatchback (1st runner-up)
Chevrolet Epica LS
Chevrolet Malibu LS (2nd runner-up)
Mazda 6 (category winner)
Mitsubishi Galant LS
Toyota Prius (1st runner-up)
Audi A8 (2nd runner-up)
BMW 5 Series (category winner)
Jaguar XJR (1st runner-up)
Mercedes-Benz CLK Class Cabriolet
SPORTS COUPE / SEDAN < $35,000
Acura TSX (1st runner-up)
Dodge SRT-4 (2nd runner-up)
Mazda3 Sport Hatchback (category winner)
Pontiac Grand Prix
SPORTS COUPE / SEDAN > $35,000
Acura TL (1st runner-up)
Audi S4 (2nd runner-up)
Audi TT 3.2
Infiniti G35 Coupe (category winner)
SPORTS / PERFORMANCE VEHICLE
Dodge Viper SRT-10
Mazda RX-8 (category winner)
Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG
Nissan 350Z Roadster (2nd runner-up)
Subaru Impreza WRX Sti (1st runner-up)
(MPV/Crossover, SUV, Minivan and Pickup models are in the truck category.)
MPV / CROSSOVER (no off-road testing)
Cadillac SRX (1st runner-up)
Infiniti FX 45 (category winner)
Lexus RX 330 (2nd runner-up)
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon 4Matic
Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited
SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE (includes off-road testing)
Buick Rainier (V8)
Lincoln Aviator (2nd runner-up)
Nissan Pathfinder Armada
Subaru Forester 2.5 XT (category winner)
Volkswagen Touareg (1st runner-up)
Ford Freestar (2nd runner-up)
Nissan Quest (1st runner-up)
Toyota Sienna (category winner)
Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon (2nd runner-up)
Dodge RAM 2500
Dodge RAM 3500
Ford F-150 (category winner and Canadian Truck of the Year)
Nissan Titan (1st runner-up)