The Best Cars to Buy in Canada in 2021

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Canadian Car of The Year Awards for 2021

Each year, the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) conducts a survey on all of the best cars to buy in Canada. Members of AJAC performed hundreds of test drives on new models to assess their technologies and determine which particular model was the best in its class. In this article, we’re going to list all of the top vehicles in each class as judged by AJAC and provide details around each award-winning vehicle. 

2021 Winner's List

Best Mid-Size Car: Mazda 3
Best Large Car: Kia K5
Best Mid Size Premium Car: Genesis G80
Best Small Utility Vehicle: Subaru Crosstrek
Best Mid-Size Utility Vehicle: Nissan Rogue
Best Large Size Utility Vehicle: Kia Telluride
Best Midsize Premium Utility Vehicle: Genesis GV80
Best Pickup Truck: Dodge Ram 1500

Best Mid-Size: Mazda 3 (MSRP: $24,500)

AJAC Scores (out of 10): Exterior Styling (8.4), Interior styling (8.4), Quality (8.4), Handling (8.3), Steering (8.2), Safety (7.9), Ride Comfort (7.7)

The Mazda 3 won both the 2021 Mid-Size Car of the Year award as well as the Canadian Car of the Year award for good reason. It’s known to have spectacular handling and steering for a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine that came new with the 2021 model Mazda 3. With a premium interior design, it’s no wonder the Mazda 3 is one of the best cars to buy in Canada in 2021. 

Best Large Car: Kia K5 (MSRP: $29,595)

AJAC Scores (out of 10): Exterior Styling (8.5), Interior styling (8.1), Quality (8.0), Handling (7.8), Steering (7.8), Safety (8.5), Ride Comfort (8.0)

The Kia K5 was introduced in 2021 and was formerly known as the Kia Optima. The name changed wasn’t the only thing Kia changed about this model, they revamped the design, added a new engine and gave the option of different transitions and all-wheel-drive. If you’re looking for some extra kick, the K5 GT model features a 290 horsepower turbocharged engine. 

Best Mid Size Premium Car: Genesis G80 (MSRP: $66,000)

AJAC Scores (out of 10): Exterior Styling (8.7), Interior styling (8.9), Quality (8.6), Handling (7.9), Steering (8.0), Safety (8.6), Ride Comfort (8.4)

The 2021 Genesis G80 was a complete redesign from its previous years. It features new and improved technology and a turbocharged engine. The option of an all-wheel-drive G80 is available in both the 2.5T or 3.5T versions, making navigating on Canadian winter roads much easier. With a premium interior and exterior design, the Genesis G80 is one of the most eye-catching vehicles on the road. 

Best Small Utility Vehicle: Subaru Crosstrek (MSRP: $23,795)

AJAC Scores (out of 10): Exterior Styling (7.8), Interior styling (7.4), Quality (7.8), Handling (7.4), Steering (7.7), Safety (8.3), Ride Comfort (7.9)

If you’re an adventure-seeking person with a knack for driving on rough terrain, look no further. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and all-wheel drive, the Crosstrek is the perfect vehicle to get you through rough road (or dirt) conditions. Until 2021, the Crosstrek was known to have a weak engine, but for the 2021 model they upgraded their engine with a 2.5L, 182 horsepower engine.

Best Mid Size Utility Vehicle: Nissan Rogue (MSRP: $28,798)

AJAC Scores (out of 10): Exterior Styling (7.7), Interior styling (7.9), Quality (7.9), Handling (7.6), Steering (7.7), Safety (8.2), Ride Comfort (7.9)

It’s no wonder that the Rogue is Nissan’s best-selling vehicle. In 2021, Nissan introduced the completely redesigned Rogue which has a sleek exterior design. It has Nissan’s ProPilot Assist which is Nissan’s full set of driver-assisted features like adaptive cruise control and a slick navigation system. The Rogue comes in four trim levels that all feature the same 2.5L 181 horsepower engine. 

Best Large Utility Vehicle: Kia Telluride (MSRP: $41,195)

AJAC Scores (out of 10): Exterior Styling (8.4), Interior styling (8.4), Quality (8.3), Handling (7.6), Steering (7.4), Safety (8.1), Ride Comfort (8.0)

Since its debut in 2020, the Kia Telluride continues to impress Canadian’s with its 2021 model. The Telluride is Kia’s biggest SUV, comfortably seating 8 passengers. The Telluride is known for its smooth driving experience. With a luxury interior, the latest technology and a 3.8L, 291 horsepower engine, it’s no wonder the Telluride won this award. 

Best Premium Utility Vehicle: Genesis GV80 (MSRP: $48,900)

AJAC Scores (out of 10): Exterior Styling (8.5), Interior styling (9.0), Quality (8.7), Handling (7.7), Steering (7.6), Safety (8.6), Ride Comfort (8.5)

The GV80 is Genesis’s first luxury SUV, not a bad start for their first luxury SUV ever eh? All GV models are serious about their technology, with the GV80 featuring a 14.5-inch touchscreen on the dash and an 8-inch digital gauge cluster display. An awesome part of the digital display is that it shows nearly 3-dimensional navigation prompts. The GV80 comes in three trim levels, all of which feature turbocharged engines.  

Best Pickup Truck: Dodge Ram 1500 (MSRP: $54,295)

AJAC Scores (out of 10): Exterior Styling (8.2), Interior styling (8.3), Quality (8.1), Handling (7.1), Steering (7.3), Safety (7.6), Ride Comfort (7.7)

For the past three years, the Dodge Ram 1500 has won the Full-Size Pickup Truck of the year award. The Ram 1500 sets the bar high in terms of technology, comfort, interior material quality and towing abilities. It features a 12-inch touchscreen that shows performance readouts for both off-road and on-road driving. One of the coolest features of the Ram 1500 is the trailer reverse control system that steers the truck into which parking spot you direct it to. There are four different trim level options available, each featuring a different but powerful engine. 

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