And here they are; the results of meticulous calculation and voting!
Each year, we get the opportunity to evaluate and publish road tests on roughly 200 cars. That’s nearly every vehicle currently sold in the Canadian market, and it’s no small feat. Our dream team of seven qualified automotive writers closely observe and critique the intricacies of these vehicles, noting every factor from the powertrain to the rear cargo area, and everything in between. Around the holidays while we wait for the man in red to bring presents on his sleigh, we’re carefully crunching individual ratings on over 50 variables per road test, to determine a winner in every category of our Annual Awards.
At the end of this, we’re able to present the awards to a very deserving group of cars and trucks – these are the vehicles that we consider to be some of the best of today’s automotive landscape. Please remember to check back next week for our “Editor Picks”; the second part of our awards, which are a little bit less technical and more personal. Finally, we’d like to thank you all for your continued support and constructive feedback. Here’s to another year, and here are the winners:
Best Styling: Lexus LC 500
Almost unanimously around our office, the new Lexus LC was given top marks from an aesthetic standpoint. It looks almost exactly like the concept it was derived from, and brings together the futuristic lines of a concept car with the modern, contemporary style of a luxury sports coupé. It’s worth noting as well that the LC 500 was a finalist for the overall Car of the Year award. Read the full review here.
Best SUV/Crossover: Honda CR-V
The crossover market is only growing, and with all-new players each year, it’s difficult for automakers to keep up with one another. Honda’s CR-V was all new for the 2017 model year, and evolved a popular family crossover into one of the best around. We like the CR-V for its ride comfort, punchy powertrain option, and addition of new technology such as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Honda Sensing active safety suite. Read the full review here.
Best Luxury SUV/Crossover (Tie): Land Rover Discovery
This was a particularly difficult decision, and these two very different vehicles from the same manufacturer were neck in neck the entire way through. The Land Rover Discovery succeeds the popular LR4 and marks the return of the Discovery name. The diesel variant is unique within its class, and both powertrains offer Terrain Response 2 and very real off-road capabilities, something not to be taken for granted around today’s “soft-roaders”. Read the full review here.
Best Luxury SUV/Crossover (Tie): Range Rover Velar
The Velar slots in right between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport; competing with the Porsche Macan and Audi SQ5. A new model altogether this year, the Velar employs Range Rover’s modern and contemporary styling language and remains a more aggressive looker than its rivals. The Velar also marks the introduction of InControl Touch Pro Duo, a much-improved version of Jaguar Land Rover’s infotainment suite. It also offers the capability to venture off road. Read the full review here.
Best Sports Car (Under $50,000): Mazda MX-5 RF
We spent almost eight months with the Mazda MX-5 RF, and it partook in the local autocross series for the duration of the 2017 driving season. After spending nearly 15,000km behind the wheel, our entire editorial team came to the consensus that this is the sports car to have if your priority is somewhere in between daily commuting and weekend track days. The model to have is the GS with the Sport Package, which adds options such as Brembo brakes, Recaro seats, and BBS wheels. Read the full review here.
Best Sports Car ($50,000-100,000): Porsche 718 Cayman
Upon its introduction, the Cayman was often written off as being the “poor man’s 911”. Since its inception, both models have been improved and have aged very gracefully, with this latest 718 Cayman offering a near-perfect weight balance and driving dynamics that remind enthusiasts that purity is very much alive. Our specific test vehicle was equipped with all of the good stuff, including a six-speed manual transmission; though opting for the optional seven-speed PDK dual-clutch box would not be a poor decision by any means. Read the full review here.
Best Sports Car (over $100,000): Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
Though it starts well below $100,000, our Grand Sport test vehicle was a highly optioned example. The current Corvette is an exceptionally well-executed sports car, worthy of any and all awards it has earned. The Grand Sport is the model to have, bringing most of the Z06’s capabilities to the regular naturally aspirated vehicle. Complete with a seven-speed manual with up and down-shift rev-matching, the Grand Sport was very popular in our office, especially when factoring in the smiles-per-dollar it delivers. Read the full review here.
Best Luxury Car: Genesis G90 3.3T
Genesis is pulling off what Lexus pulled off in 1989 with their LS 400 luxury sedan. The G90 is the flagship in the new sub-brand under the Hyundai umbrella, and delivers everything a true luxury sedan should. Materials are all extremely high quality, and the new twin-turbocharged 3.3L engine is buttery smooth. The G90 is only an entry point for this new brand, but is a passageway into a new direction altogether. Read the full review here.
Best Performance Sedan: BMW M550i xDrive
The new 5-series itself isn’t a revolution of any sort, but the M550i trumps competitors such as the Genesis G80 Sport and the Mercedes-AMG E 43 as a solid choice in the performance sedan segment. Depending on which source you trust, the horsepower rating sits at 455, and the driving dynamics are exactly what one would expect from a performance-oriented BMW. Read the full review here.
Best Compact: Honda Civic Hatchback LX
Honda’s Civic has earned itself plenty of recognition as a perennial favourite in the compact segment. This award doesn’t necessarily recognize the entire model line, but more specifically the LX Hatchback, which at $21,690, provides many standard features not commonly seen within the segment. Also at this price is the 1.5L turbo engine only seen in higher trim levels of the Civic sedan. Read the full review here.
Best Sedan: Honda Accord 1.5T
This was a tight race between the Accord and the 2018 Toyota Camry. Both sedans offer considerably more than their predecessors did, but the Honda’s more conservative styling and ergonomic interior edged it forward in our voting. For 2018, the Accord ditches its V6 in favour of a 2.0L turbo-four, but remains the only car in its class to offer a manual transmission on the more powerful engine. Read the full review here.
Best Truck: Ford F-150 Raptor
The Ford F-150 has made many advances this past year, including the announcement of a diesel powertrain with best-in-class fuel economy. 2017 also marked the redesign of the fire-breathing Raptor, which replaced its huge V8 with a twin-turbocharged V6. Despite armchair critics cursing this move, the F-150 Raptor is the most capable out-of-the-box pickup truck Canadians can buy, and is solid fun to spend time in both on and off the beaten path. Read the full review here.
Best Green Car: Chevrolet Bolt EV
With each passing year, more electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles get added to the automotive world. The Bolt EV exceeded all expectations and was essentially a “mic drop” situation in the direction of Tesla, who has yet to deliver the Model 3. The Bolt offers versatility, 380+ km of real world driving range, and a comfortable cabin that is by no means a penalty box. It’s also genuinely fun to drive and is very well packaged. Read the full review here.
Car of the Year: Honda Civic Type R
Also the subject of some controversy, the Civic Type R is certainly not the prettiest face in any room. In fact, it was called ugly by more than one writer on our team, but still managed to take home the crown at this year’s awards. It almost redefines the hot hatch, with driving dynamics that make it more livable on-road than the Ford Focus RS and more involving than the Volkswagen Golf R. This is also a car that does things no front-drive car should be able to do, and “enthusiasts” criticizing it for being front-drive need to experience it for themselves before forming an opinion. Read the full review here.