Notable new cars that were MIA at TestFest
Not every new-for-2013 vehicle is entered for the competition to be Canadian Car of the Year.
Not every new-for-2013 vehicle is entered for the competition to be Canadian Car of the Year. Bear in mind that automakers must pay to enter their vehicles: this year, the entry fee is about $7,900 per model, plus all the costs of bringing three examples of it to the test site at Niagara. But there are also other, more competitive reasons to skip the contest.
Here are some 2013 models that are missing, and why.
Acura ILX (manual transmission)
AJAC rules state that when there is both an automatic and a standard transmission available for the same model, the automatic must be the one that is entered. But the ILX automatic comes only with the anemic 150 hp, 2.0L-engine, while the manual comes only with the larger 2.4L-engine, which is much peppier at 201 hp.
There won’t be many of the ultra-hot Audi TTs coming to Canada, but none are here at TestFest because Audi does not participate in the Canadian Car of the Year competition.
The new Enclave will not be available to buy until early next year, so is not eligible for consideration this year. There are no units available now to test-drive, anyway.
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé
The $99,800 Coupé is considered by BMW to be a luxury car, not a performance car, but at that price the only category it could enter with a chance of winning would be “Prestige Performance”, where it would compete against the German maker’s powerful M5. So the entry was withdrawn when the original category from previous years (“Luxury over $50,000”) was cancelled for lack of other entries.
General Motors wanted to enter its full-size sedan in the “Luxury” category, but recognized that its relatively high price tag would put it at a significant disadvantage against cheaper competition. GM says it would have entered the loaded version, which is priced in the low-$60,000 range and would make it the most costly car in the category — more than twice the price of the Acura there.
There is no category for pickup trucks this year. There must be at least three vehicles to warrant a category (unless there’s a good reason for exceptions, such as with the two solely-electric cars in “City Car”) and there is no other significantly new truck on the Canadian market in 2013.
The Acadia will not be in showrooms until early next year. General Motors says the crossover will be entered for competition next year.
Hyundai Elantra Coupe
Hyundai says it did not want to divert attention from the Elantra GT sedan, already entered for Best New Small Car Over $21,000.
Now that the SUV category tops off at $60,000, there was no appropriate category for the $75,000 GL-Class SUV to be entered into. Its only alternatives would have been Best New Luxury Car, in which it would have been hopelessly expensive, or Best New Prestige and Performance Car, in which it would have competed against the Corvette and Porsche 911. So Mercedes pulled it.
The all-electric Leaf was not entered last year — the first year it was available — because there was no category that would have suited such a vehicle. Now that it would be appropriate as a City Car (a car with a range of less than 200 km), it is about to be given a redesign, so Nissan is waiting until next year to enter its revised Leaf in the category.
Porsche Cayenne diesel
Just as with the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, there was no appropriate category in which to enter the diesel-powered Cayenne. AJAC will not create a category for less than three vehicles unless special circumstances exist.
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
The hybrid-powered Jetta will not be available until early January, which is too late for consideration this year. VW says it plans to enter the car next year, as well as the Beetle Convertible that will be available next spring.