Hyundai Elantra named 2012 Canadian Car of the Year

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The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) announced the Hyundai Elantra won 2012 Canadian Car of the Year honours during a press conference at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto Thursday.

The Elantra was selected as the winner from a group of three finalists that included the Hyundai's Accent and the Kia Optima.

“The all-new Elantra was simply the single most important new vehicle that Hyundai has ever launched,” said Steve Kelleher, president and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.

“The Elantra competes in Canada's critical compact segment, so for it to win Canadian Car of the Year is vindication for all the effort Hyundai designers and engineers invested into the project. We wanted to bring Canadians a new take on the compact sedan; one with great style, quality, safety, and incredible fuel efficiency. So, we couldn't be more proud that AJAC agreed it should win Canada's highest automotive award.”

Each year AJAC names the best new cars in eight categories following an intensive one-week event known as Test Fest.

From these eight winners, three finalists are selected before the highest-rated vehicle is chosen as the overall “Canadian Car of the Year.”

Last October, the Accent, Elantra, and Veloster were named Best New Small Car under $21,000, Best New Small Car over $21,000, and Best New Sports/Performance Car under $50,000, respectively. With three wins, Hyundai took home more AJAC Canadian Car of the Year category awards than any other manufacturer.

The Volkswagen Touareg TDI was named the 2012 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year at the same conference. The Touareg TDI had previously won the Best New SUV/CUV ($35,000 to $60,000) class when the category winners were announced in October 2011.

John White, president of Volkswagen Canada, said the award was a tremendous honour.

The announcement of Elantra's Canadian Car of the Year victory comes just over one month after the car was named the 2012 North American Car of the Year during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. As the Genesis luxury sedan earned both titles in 2009, this marks the second time in four years that a Hyundai vehicle has won both awards back-to-back.

With sales of 44,930 units, the Elantra was the second best-selling passenger car in Canada during 2011. Further bolstering the nameplate's appeal, Hyundai Canada announced that a two-door Elantra Coupe and five-door Elantra GT hatchback will join the line-up this summer.