It’s finally here; that time of year where our editorial team is finally ready to reveal the results of our Annual Awards testing. This past year, we have road tested well over 200 vehicles, carefully evaluating over 50 different parameters and variables for each one of them. In order to qualify for these awards, the vehicle needs to be tested and reviewed during the 2018 calendar year. We then went on to rate each of these factors and put all of this together to bring forward the winners of every segment. This year, we have modified some of the categories to remain as relevant as possible to the constantly evolving automotive landscape, in order to bring you the most comprehensive information we possibly can.
When it all comes down to it, the below vehicles are the most deserving of the win in each category, and really are some of the best vehicles you can buy today. Each year brings with it new entrants and constantly developing technology, and this in turn presents us with new experiences and challenges. We thank each and every one of you for the support that allows us to do what we do and bring you the latest and greatest in automotive news, road tests, and of course, photography. We hope you all have an amazing holiday season, and we look forward to sharing more motoring adventures with you over the coming year!
Design of the Year: Acura NSX
The Acura NSX is not only a technological accomplishment for the brand; it’s a design marvel as well. The stunning lines, aggressive wheel design, and the meticulously detailed cabin all come together to make for a vehicle considered beautiful unanimously around our office. This car is one that garners looks anywhere it goes, and represents the very best that Acura currently has to offer. Read the full review here.
Best Compact: Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Toyota introduced the brand new Corolla Hatchback earlier this year, and it’s the first iteration of the TNGA-based Corolla to go on sale in North America. The car looks great and is even better to drive, with a tight chassis and a genuinely enjoyable six-speed manual transmission. Toyota’s SafetySense active driver aid suite is on board, and features such as LED lighting are standard equipment. One challenge remains a high load floor in the rear cargo area, but this is a very small oversight on an otherwise phenomenal vehicle. This is the best compact car we tested in 2018, and was the runaway winner of this award. Read the full review here.
Best Sedan: Honda Accord
Collectively, our team of writers and editors is asked by friends and family which car they should buy on a weekly basis. Many of these people aren’t car people in any way, nor do they care about a sporty driving experience or power numbers. Almost exclusively, the answer to this question as of late has been the Honda Accord. This latest generation was released in 2017 as a 2018 model year, and the Accord was also a finalist for Car of the Year. It has an excellent interior, buttery smooth powertrains, and safety features that all come together in a package that’s a few notches above everything the Accord competes with. Honda batted out of the park with this one. Read the full review here.
Best Sports Car (under $50,000): Mazda MX-5
The word “Miata” basically spells out “Miata is always the answer”. This year, Mazda gave the MX-5 a mid-cycle refresh that gave it a much-needed power bump but also balanced out the entire package. The 180-horse rating is still under that magic 200 number, but the updated MX-5 makes for a sporty package that no other car around its price point can deliver. The MX-5 is just as happy commuting to work every day as it is on the canyons over on the west coast, and it’s a gem on the racetrack as well. This is a do-it-all sports car that provides more smiles for the dollar than just about anything else. Read the full review here.
Best Sports Car (over $50,000): Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE
In an age where turbocharging is very prevalent, the one consistency between this Chevrolet Camaro and the Mazda MX-5 immediately above it is that they are both naturally aspirated. The immediacy of a naturally aspirated motor in a traditional sports car simply cannot be beaten, and the track-focused nature of the Camaro SS 1LE only exemplifies this. The 1LE package adds a bunch of go-fast goodies and also lightens up the car, and our test vehicle featured a six-speed manual transmission paired to the V8, making glorious noises. The Camaro is not only the best muscle car currently available, but one of the best affordable sports cars too. Read the full review here.
Best Supercar: Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster
Drama, fuss, and character. The Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster really is a dream car, unattainable for the vast majority of people. It’s also the subject of posters, dreams, and an entire lifestyle dedicated towards the legendary Italian brand. While we’ve tested sharper and more advanced supercars (including Lamborghini’s own Huracan Performante), the Aventador S stood out to us for the exotic appeal that it brought. Never before has a car we have tested attracted this much positive attention from people of all ages, both for visual appeal as well as the noises it’s capable of making. Read the full review here.
Premium Car of the Year: BMW Alpina B7
Anything bearing the “Alpina” name already gives off the vibe of subtle exclusivity, but this year’s Alpina B7 Exclusive Edition only adds to this. A select number of these vehicles have been brought to the Canadian market, in very carefully selected colours. This is not just a rare car, but one that represents a level of luxury that is unmatched at its price point, and in the flagship luxury segment. The Alpina’s twin-turbocharged V8 also delivers the same horsepower number as BMW’s M5, but in a much more understated manner more suited to its personality. Read the full review here.
SUV/Crossover of the Year: Chevrolet Traverse
While we do get very technical and carefully evaluate every vehicle we test, our magazine places emphasis on enthusiast-friendly vehicles. When the new Chevrolet Traverse first arrived at our office for testing, we were extremely surprised at just how well this latest model drives. Its handling is characteristic of a much smaller vehicle, and the steering is fun; a word we have never used for a three-row sport-utility-vehicle before. The new Traverse brings with it a host of technology as well as practicality, making it one of the better buys in the crossover world. Read the full review here.
Premium SUV/Crossover of the Year: Volvo XC40
The premium subcompact crossover class has appeared within the last few years, and growth of this segment has been nothing short of rapid. Volvo’s XC40 is the best application when considering all of the players, and really is the crossover that most buyers need. Volvo’s classic Scandinavian design is at play here inside and out, and a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder gives the XC40 all of the power it needs. It also has the best driving position in the class and exterior dimensions that allow it to be easily driven and parked almost anywhere. Read the full review here.
Truck of the Year: GMC Sierra
This year has brought changes to almost all of the major truck players. Ford introduced a diesel engine to their F-150, and both General Motors and Ram brought all-new 1500-series trucks to the market. The GMC Sierra brings with it never-before-seen features in a light truck, including the MultiPro tailgate, a CarbonPro bed, and much more. The powertrain to have is the 6.2L V8 mated to a 10-speed automatic, which delivers excellent fuel economy for a truck thanks to cylinder deactivation. This is the truck to have this year, and if your wallet allows for it, spring for the luxurious Denali trim. Read the full review here.
Green Car of the Year: Chevrolet Bolt EV
With the Ontario government having eliminated green vehicle rebates midway through 2018, this segment experienced a significant amount of changes. The Tesla Model 3 finally arrived, but the price point makes it unattainable and no longer the value proposition it was initially marketed to be. Until some of 2019’s new players go on sale, the Chevrolet Bolt EV with its 383-km range is a very usable electric vehicle and one that has enough flexibility for the active lifestyles of most Canadians. This one is easy to drive, and looks great too. Read the full review here.
Car of the Year: Genesis G70
The G70 has been winning awards left, right, and centre. Each of these awards is well-deserved; it has been far too long since a genuinely simplistic sports sedan was available on sale. The G70 also remains the only car in its segment to offer a manual transmission with a rear-drive configuration, and that very model also comes equipped with a mechanical limited-slip differential and Brembo brakes. The chassis is extremely well-sorted and the interior, while lacking in rear-seat space, has enough room for the class. The G70 is the one car that had us raving nonstop about its amicable personality and solid driving dynamics. Finalists for this award were the Mazda MX-5 and Honda Accord. Read the full review here.