TORONTO — The Jaguar I-Pace and Kia Stinger are the Canadian utility and car of the year, according to journalists who voted on the awards.
The winners were revealed Thursday to kick off the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto.
The I-Pace made history on a couple of fronts. It is the first all-electric utility vehicle to win the award and it’s assembled on contract by Magna Steyr, a subsidiary of Canadian parts giant Magna International.
The Stinger beat the Kia Forte and the Volvo V90 R-Design. The I-Pace won over the Mazda CX-5 and the Hyundai Kona.
Members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada gave the I-Pace 854 votes. The Mazda CX-5 received 802 and the Hyundai Kona 792.
The Stinger received 821 votes, the V90 got 789 and the Forte 778.
The I-Pace was also named the best overall vehicle. It was Jaguar Land Rover Canada’s first overall win.
Jaguar Land Rover Canada said the vehicle was highly anticipated by the luxury automaker’s customer base.
Magna CEO Don Walker was pleased with the win.
"“Congratulations to Jaguar on being selected for this honour. The I-Pace is a great vehicle and we’re proud to support Jaguar with our complete vehicle expertise," he said in a statement.
I-PACE ‘THE FUTURE’
“Since arriving in showrooms in December, they’ve basically all been pre-sold,” he told Automotive News Canada. “Everything we’ve ordered have been right out the door. The sales projections are right where we expected.”
Lindo decline to provide specific numbers or forecasts, but the automaker sold 27 in December and another 16 in January.
“There’s a bit of a wait, but people have been ordering them ahead of time,” Lindo said. “If you want one, you can get one pretty quickly.”
Lindo said the interior and exterior design stands out. He called the vehicle’s acceleration “incredible.”
“It is a very unique vehicle,” Lindo said.
It is built on a new aluminum architecture that packages its 90kWh lithium-ion battery, under the floor between the two axles. The arrangement allowed Jaguar to design a car with a short hood, roomy cabin and a more aerodynamically efficient squared-off rear end.
The I-Pace uses an electric motor on each axle to give the car four-wheel-drive. The combined power output is 394 hp, giving an acceleration time of 0 to 97 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in 4.5 seconds.
Lindo called the all-electric vehicle “part of the future.”
“Interiors are very important. We put a lot of care into those,” Lindo said. “The I-Pace has a very Jaguar feel, but it really is a look at the future.”
KIA IN ‘PREMIUM TERRITORY’
Michael Kopke, director of marketing for Kia Canada, said he immediately texted his colleagues with the news and said "they were going crazy."
“This is a real testament to where we’ve come and where we’re going. A lot of styling from Stinger made its way into Forte. To have them both up there — big brother and little brother, if you will — is a real honour,” Kopke said. “And to be in rarified company with Volvo is a real compliment to where we’ve come from and where we’re going.
“We’ve stepped in and pushed into that premium territory. We still deliver a value story; it’s just a different value story.”