TORONTO -- The Chrysler Pacifica is the 2018 Automobile Journalists’ Association of Canada’s (AJAC) Utility Vehicle of the Year, while the Honda Accord took home top honour in the car segment.
The awards kicked off the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto on Thursday.
Despite having three vehicles named finalists, Mazda failed to capture an award in either category. The Pacifica beat Mazda CX-5 and the Mazda CX-9, while the Accord beat the Mazda 3 and Volvo S90/V90.
The Accord also won the 2018 North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show back in January.
The tenth generation Accord is “virtually new from the ground up,” according to the automaker.
Honda Canada sold 13,504 Accords in 2017, down 2.5 per cent from the year before.
Chrysler sold 6,190 Pacificas in Canada last year, nearly three times the number as it did in the previous year. The automaker has finally phased out the Town and Country minivan, the vehicle the Pacifica replaced.
While accepting the award on stage, Fiat Chrysler Canada Vice President of Marketing William Levasseur said he was particularly proud of the Pacifica’s win because it’s built by about 5,000 Canadians at the automaker’s Windsor Assembly Plant.
FCA Canada President Reid Bigland echoed those sentiments in a statement.
“There’s an extra air of significance, when one of our homegrown products wins a domestic award,” Bigland said.
He also said the award "provides important third-party validation" of the Pacifica's quality.
Voting was expanded this year to include all new vehicles available to Canadian buyers, and not just those vehicles new to the market. Previously, only vehicles that were totally redesigned or equipped with all-new technology — and only vehicles manufacturers would pay to enter in the awards — were considered. That wasn’t the case this year. For the first time, nearly 100 of AJAC’s voting journalists were able to score vehicles against their direct competition, whether they were all-new for 2018 or returning popular models.
“These vehicles were evaluated alongside every vehicle that that can be purchased in a Canadian dealership,” Mark Richardson, president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, said.