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15 Best Cars in Canada announced at AJAC Car of the Year Awards

Posted Dec 3rd 2014 2:00PM

The votes are in and the test drives are done, as the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada (AJAC) has just announced its list of winners for the Canadian Car of the Year Awards.

The list of 15 best cars in Canada covers a wide range of popular categories including Best New Small Car, Best New Luxury Car, and the highly sought after Best New SUV/CUV title. Most mainstream categories are further divided by price, such as over or under $35,000, to better provide fair and relevant comparison.

The category winners represent the vote results by the largest group of Canada's best-known automotive journalists (including our own Autoblog Canada Editor Mark Pereira), who gathered this October in Niagara Falls, ON for a five-day "TestFest" evaluation of brand-new (or significantly changed) vehicles eligible for the Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) awards.

We've got dozens of experienced vehicle testers driving dozens of vehicles, back to back, over the course of several days. This testing process generated 1,640 test drives producing approximately 106,405 data points and 500 category ballots, explains CCOTY Co-Chair Justin Pritchard

The rigorous Canadian Car of the Year testing program includes real world driving on public roads – exactly where consumers drive - so that the test data and vote results are directly relevant to potential car and truck buyers. The results are not based on the personal opinion of just one or two journalists. Instead, the 73 automotive journalists each drove a vehicle in 15 categories back-to-back on the same day, under the same conditions, to ensure fair and objective comparisons. The results are then tabulated by KPMG, the accounting firm that works with AJAC and its Canadian Car of the Year awards.

And the Canadian Car of the Year winners are...

Related GalleryAJAC Car of the Year Awards - Live Photos
AJAC Car of the Year Awards - Live PhotosAJAC Car of the Year Awards - Live PhotosAJAC Car of the Year Awards - Live PhotosAJAC Car of the Year Awards - Live PhotosAJAC Car of the Year Awards - Live PhotosAJAC Car of the Year Awards - Live PhotosAJAC Car of the Year Awards - Live PhotosAJAC Car of the Year Awards - Live Photos

AJAC Canadian Car of the Year Awards - 2015 Category Winners

News Source: AJAC / CCOTY

Image Credit: Michelle Siu / AJAC / CCOTY, Autoblog / AOL

Canada bailed out GM and Chrysler without really knowing where $13.7 billion went

Posted Dec 2nd 2014 11:00AM

Obama Administration Gives Auto Industry Final Ultimatum

The Auditor General of Canada recently issued a report that makes at least one thing clear: it doesn't know how effective Canadian government loans given to both General Motors and Chrysler in 2009 were in ensuring the viability of both companies. That year, our Canadian government (and the province of Ontario) dished out $10.8 billion to GM and $2.9 billion to Chrysler, but hadn't yet sorted out precisely how the funds were to be used before disbursing them... READ MORE

News Source: Bloomberg, The Canadian Press via The Huffington Post

Image Credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Behind-the-scenes: Nissan's emotional Back In The Game campaign

Posted Nov 30th 2014 10:00PM

The connection between car companies and professional sports sponsorships is nothing new, but Nissan Canada's inaugural Back in the Game program seems to have scored a game-winning touchdown at the 2014 Grey Cup in Vancouver, BC.

Among the sea of often predictable and otherwise standard sponsorship deals aimed at sports fans, Nissan's Back in the Game campaign is a unique national program designed to support struggling high school football teams with significant contributions of equipment, uniforms and donated training equipment with special player appearances by several Canadian Football League (CFL) teams to help train and motivate the students.

With the CFL's support, Nissan's unconventional marketing program successfully helped 21 selected high school teams across Canada and nearly 1,000 students to get Back in the Game, while simultaneously building upon the brand's existing football partnership that's been in place since 2007 with the CFL.

In addition to the ongoing and often emotional webisodes found online (and a documentary that aired on TSN), Nissan also surprised two of their selected Back in the Game high school teams with a free trip of a lifetime aboard the CFL's private plane bound for the 102nd Grey Cup championship game... READ MORE

{C} Fans Say Grey Cup Experience Is a 'Thrill of a Lifetime'

News Source: Nissan Canada

Image Credit: Nissan Canada

Watch Razor Crazy Carts turn office space into hilarious racetrack

Posted Nov 25th 2014 6:00PM

XCAR Crazy Cart video

Working here at Autoblog Canada is a lot of fun. Working at Xcar, though, seems like it's somehow even better, if this video above is any indication of a typical day's work.

Xcar's Alex Goy and Drew Stearne have apparently been wreaking havoc in their UK offices with their avid use of Razor's hoontastic Crazy Cart. An irate HR manager reached out to the two, asking them to please move their antics back to the basement and spare the office's walls of further collisions.

Naturally, the best (and quickest) way for the pair to move the single-wheeled go carts downstairs was to tear through the office one last time. The results are just as sensational as you might expect. Hit the jump to watch the incredible footage of these office-racing pranksters in action. Oh, and if you want to get a Razor Crazy Cart of your very own, they happen to be on sale right now too :P

News Source: XCAR via YouTube

Lincoln dons the Black Label

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 8:00AM

Custom Program Launches In December On MKZ, MKC

2015 Lincoln MKZ Black Label

"We're really trying to simplify for the customer on their terms." – Paul Bucek

Lincoln is launching a Black Label service and customization program in December at 32 dealerships across the country in a bid to attract new and more upscale customers.

The Black Label program will be available on the MKC crossover and the MKZ sedan for US$5,995 (no word on Canadian availability yet) on top of the purchase price. It includes custom design themes – with colours and materials only available through Black Label – plus free routine service and car washes for four years or 50,000 miles (80,000 km). It will be offered through dealerships in California, Michigan, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Florida.

Black Label was originally previewed during the week of the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and Lincoln said it would take more than a year to get the program launched. Though that seemed like a lengthy lead time, Lincoln said it had to upgrade dealerships, train employees and has added more choices to the program.

News Source: Lincoln

Land Rover, Toyota big winners in ALG top resale value awards

Posted Nov 21st 2014 5:00PM

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR

"Residual value is important for automakers and consumers because it's a complete indicator of the vehicle's future value." – Larry Dominique

Toyota and Land Rover took home the top brand honors in ALG's 2015 Residual Value Awards, which will be presented this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Toyota won in the mainstream brand category, while Land Rover was honored in the luxury segment. In addition to brands, ALG recognized vehicles in individual segments, and notable winners included the Mazda3 for compact car, Subaru Legacy for midsize car and Dodge Charger for fullsize car. The Subaru WRX won in the sportscar category, while the Toyota Tundra earned top honors in the fullsize truck segment.

"Residual value is important for automakers and consumers because it's a complete indicator of the vehicle's future value, accounting for quality, durability and brand desirability, among other factors," said Larry Dominique, president of ALG and executive vice president of ALG-parent, TrueCar. "The award recipients demonstrate strong forecasted returns on investments for their owners."

There were eight first-time winners this year, including the Charger, WRX, Toyota Prius V and Audi TT. Toyota had the most model winners with six.

ALG passed out 26 awards – two for brands and 24 for models – based on vehicles that are expected to retain the best percentage of their MSRP after three years. This was the 15th iteration of the awards, which are given out annually, and you're welcome to read more in the press release below.

News Source: ALG

Image Credit: Land Rover

Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro packs plug-in hydrogen powertrain

Posted Nov 21st 2014 1:30PM

The Name Is Almost As Complicated As The Technology

Audi A7 H-Tron

If you think a plug-in diesel hybrid is an expensive proposition, just wait until you hear details about the just-revealed Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro. The "H" in H-Tron, as you might guess, stands for hydrogen, so say hello to a new concept that combines a plug-in battery system with a hydrogen fuel cell. Yeah, exactly.

Let's start with the numbers. On the plug-in side, the new H-Tron has an 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery that can power the car for up to 31 miles (50 km) on battery power. With electric motors on both axles – it's a Quattro, after all, but a through-the-road hybrid with electronic torque distribution management – the A7 H-Tron uses a hydrogen fuel cell and four (!) H2 tanks to offer about 62 miles per gallon (3.8L/100km) equivalent. Audi says the overall fuel cell stack efficiency is "as high as 60 per cent" while the electric motors operate at 95 per cent efficiency.

Efficiently turning all of that electricity into movement means the A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro has a total power output of 398.3 pound-feet of torque. The 4,299-pound (1,950-kilogram) concept can allegedly go from 0-100 km/h (0-62 miles per hour) in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). The car's total range is 500 kilometres (311 miles).

The A7 H-Tron is not the first plug-in hydrogen vehicle concept. That title goes to the Ford HySeries Edge. Mazda also considered putting a hydrogen range extender in the Mazda5 plug-in van.

News Source: Audi

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2015 Maserati Ghibli gets the lightest of updates [w/video]

Posted Nov 20th 2014 5:45PM

2015 Maserati Ghibli

Maserati continued its centennial celebration this week with a lightly updated version of the 2015 Ghibli at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The sedan is enhanced with navigation and Bluetooth features, which are now standard. Reinforcing that this is a light refresh, Maserati gave the brake calipers a new finish, and contrasted stitching is also added on the Ghibli and Ghibli SQ4 models.

Maserati is also throwing in a free three-month "all-access" subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio for the Ghibli, Quattroporte and GranTurismo.

The Ghibli shared space in Los Angeles with the Alfieri concept that debuted at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the GranTurismo MC Centennial edition and the updated Quattroporte GTS.

Though Maserati has had an understated presence in LA, it's had a strong year in North America and has already posted its best-ever sales tally.

2016 Jaguar F-Type prowls the floor with new manual and AWD options

Posted Nov 20th 2014 3:45PM

2016 Jaguar F-Type

The Jaguar F-Type has become an instant enthusiast favorite for its alluring design, powerful, sonorous engines and rewarding handling. In short, it's a worthy successor to the iconic mid-century E-Type. But Jaguar hasn't been sitting idly, and it's continuing to refine and enhance the F-Type with subtle yet significant enhancements, including a bunch that are debuting this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The 2016 model year brings with it all-wheel drive, which will be standard on 550-horsepower F-Type R models. AWD will be optional on mid-level F-Type S models, which run the 380-hp V6. The system sends all of the supercharged engine's torque to the rear axle in default mode, but it can also be split with up to 50 per cent going to the front axle when needed. Jaguar has even added subtle visual differentiators to the the AWD models, fitting them with body-colored sills and a new hood design. The penalty? the AWD system adds about 176 pounds (79 kilograms) to the curb weight.

The F-Type also gets an available six-speed manual transmission for 2016 on V6 variants with rear-wheel drive. While obviously adding a more interactive driving character, the close-ratio manual is about 22 pounds (10 kilograms) lighter than the automatic gearbox. Jaguar has also given all F-Type models electric power steering, using a stiffer steering shaft to maintain the hydraulic setup's connected feel with the road.

The 2016 models will be available in the spring, and pricing will be announced closer to launch.

Related Gallery2016 Jaguar F-Type S - Manual
2016 Jaguar F-Type S - Manual2016 Jaguar F-Type S - Manual2016 Jaguar F-Type S - Manual2016 Jaguar F-Type S - Manual2016 Jaguar F-Type S - Manual

Related GalleryJaguar F-Type Coupe AWD
Jaguar F-Type Coupe AWDJaguar F-Type Coupe AWDJaguar F-Type Coupe AWDJaguar F-Type Coupe AWDJaguar F-Type Coupe AWDJaguar F-Type Coupe AWD

News Source: Jaguar

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL