The Mazda3 is the 2021 Canadian Car of the Year for the second consecutive year while the Genesis GV80 earned Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year honours Tuesday, as selected by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).
Korean nameplates dominated the field, picking up four nominations — two in each category. The Mazda3 managed to knock off the Genesis G80 and Kia K5 (formerly the Optima).
The fourth generation Mazda3 was redesigned for 2019. It won Canadian Car of the Year award in 2020, the first year it was eligible. Most recently, Mazda introduced the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo.
"The Mazda3 has always been a core model in our lineup that reflects our philosophy and brand strengths, and this award once again shows that our dedication to designing and crafting the very finest is paying dividends,” Mazda Canada CEO David Klan said in a statement.
This year marked the first time Genesis has won the utility award. The GV80 is the first Genesis SUV
The six finalists qualified from among the eight category winners AJAC announced on Feb. 20.
The Genesis GV80 beat the Kia Telluride and the Nissan Rogue in the Utility of the Year category.
The awards are typically handed out during the opening ceremonies of the Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS) in Toronto, which was cancelled this year due to the public health measures dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
AJAC said it anticipates a CIAS next year and a return to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in February 2022.
The Canadian awards process is different than most. The awards are open to all vehicles available for purchase; newly designed, recently refreshed vehicles and those carried over from the previous year. Votes were collected from journalists across the country.
More than 250 vehicles were eligible for evaluation this year.
Results from AJAC journalist member ballots are audited by international accounting firm KPMG and remain under wraps until the moment the envelopes are opened.