The year 2020 was unprecedented and very different from what we once knew as the norm.
Amidst all of the year’s events, your friendly neighbourhood auto writers at DoubleClutch.ca Magazine were hard at work testing all of the new vehicles that the industry was building, for our Annual Awards.
Automakers had to modify the way they got cars into our hands. There were some delays including a full shutdown in our offices for nearly an entire quarter, but we were fortunate to have almost every new production vehicle make it into our hands for careful evaluation. As always, we considered a multitude of factors including design, performance, efficiency, safety features, comfort, technology, and overall value when considering each and every car.
We did drive fewer cars in 2020, and as a result the categories have been modified to reflect what’s truly important to you, the reader and consumer. We’d like to sincerely thank you all for your continued support; the loyalty of our readership allows us to continue creating content on a daily basis. Below is a list of the vehicles that we deemed extraordinarily special, and worthy of the awards they have been given. Clicking on the name of the vehicle within the Annual Awards listing will take you to our full road test.
We thank you again, and hope you and yours are staying healthy, happy, and safe. And now, on to the vehicles!
Crossover of the Year: 2021 Nissan Rogue
The new Rogue has made a name for itself, as in just one redesign it has immediately gone from the bottom of an extremely competitive segment right to the top. The platform is all new for 2021, and Nissan has given Rogue all of the technology it needs to not only keep up, but establish a position at the top of its class. The new generation is two-row only, with the optional third row having gone the way of the dodo bird, but the Rogue has made leaps and bounds in refinement, safety, and overall comfort.
Premium Crossover of the Year: 2021 Land Rover Defender
Perhaps one of the most anticipated new vehicles this year, the Defender is exciting both on and off the beaten path. It exhibits all of the capability that today’s off-roading enthusiasts want, and all of the refinement and comfort that the average luxury SUV consumer is looking for. The Defender is incredibly good to drive, and is a refreshing retro entry to the market that looks and feels like nothing else on the road. We’re excited to give it this accolade, and see more of them populate the streets of North America.
Premium Car of the Year: 2020 BMW M340i xDrive
Completely redesigned for the 2019 model year, the current 3-series (G20) is a pretty good sports sedan in four-cylinder form. The six-cylinder M340i, however, changes the game. The B58 engine is also seen in the Toyota GR Supra, and is one of our favourite engines currently available. This car has impeccable driving dynamics, superb comfort, and all of the tech today’s enthusiast needs. It lacks a manual transmission, but the ZF eight-speed is good enough that the average buyer won’t notice. These cars are seeing four-second 0-100km/h times, which means the M340i will demolish just about anything in its price range in a line, too.
Performance Car (under $50,000) – 2020 Honda Civic Type R
The Civic Type R is no stranger to our Annual Awards list. Since its introduction in 2017, it has seen numerous accolades from us as well as our colleagues – despite the way it looks, this car is just about perfect for today’s purist buyer. This year, the Type R got a few minor tweaks that make it just that much more livable, without compromising any of the special bits that make it special in the first place. The 2.0-liter turbo-four still puts out just over 300 horsepower, and a six-speed manual transmission is still the only available gearbox. With a sticker below $45,000, the Type R is our favourite performance car below $50,000.
Performance Car (over $50,000) – 2020 Aston Martin Vantage Coupe
Yeah yeah, we know – an award to a car north of $200,000, but hear us out. The current Vantage isn’t just beautiful, and definitely shouldn’t be eliminated from consideration because of its Mercedes-AMG heart. This is the only supercar in its category today that’s available with a manual transmission. It boasts superb driving dynamics, a breathtaking rear profile, and a customization program that allows buyers to personalize their Vantage. Plus, it has plenty of character, which is another feature we have truly taken for granted in this age of electrification and the expectation of autonomy.
Truck of the Year – 2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
The Jeep Gladiator is just plain cool; it’s quite literally a Wrangler with a longer wheelbase and a truck bed. It has quickly become a cult classic after only being on the market for a short period of time. The Mojave model ups the ante and boasts the claim of being “Desert-rated”, which means a unique suspension, reinforced frame and axles, and everything else we expect from the regular Gladiator. Our tester was equipped with the manual transmission which, again, sets the Gladiator aside from its other rivals. It was a unanimous pick as our Truck of the Year.
Green Vehicle of the Year: 2021 Porsche Taycan 4S
We were definitely Taycan by surprise after just a few minutes behind the wheel of this one. The Porsche Taycan has changed the electrified game by telling the public that an electric car doesn’t have to be a penalty box. It drives like a legitimate performance car with the added benefits of the EV life. Its price point is the Taycan’s only downside, but if sales numbers of Porsche’s other models are any indication, buyers will absolutely flock to it regardless. The Porsche Taycan is another unanimous pick as our Green Vehicle of the Year.
Car of the Year: 2020 BMW M340i xDrive
Amidst all of the criticism around BMW‘s latest fascias and massive grilles, somehow it’s a Bavarian sports sedan that takes away our most coveted award. The M340i’s overall driving dynamics and well-rounded personality make it our pick as the car to have this year. Its road manners are underrated, and with features like wireless Apple CarPlay, available performance exhaust, and some of the best headlights in the business, it’s a true favourite throughout this year’s Annual Awards.