The Cadillac ATS has been declared the 2013 Best of the Best by the Canadian Automotive Jury (CAJ), beating out 11 other finalists, which included a wide variety of vehicles available to Canadian new-vehicle buyers, including sedans, coupes, hatchbacks, SUVs, crossovers and sports and performance cars.
The CAJ is a not-for-profit organization, reportedly funded by its 12 members – a group of prominent Canadian automotive journalists working in print, radio, television and online media coast to coast.
The CAJ’s Best of the Best finalists don’t exclusively focus on a specific model within a family of vehicles or only “all-new” models, and they include the reigning Best of the Best winner from the previous year, which is an automatic finalist.
CAJ chooses its finalists based on the following criteria: style, design (exterior and interior), ride and handling, performance, ergonomics, comfort, space, cargo capacity, fuel efficiency and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
One of the key criteria is market significance – what the car will do to change things for both the automaker and the automotive market. The CAJ says the ATS marks such a massive shift for Cadillac, and General Motors as a corporation, that it will have a trickle-down effect on the entire entry-level luxury car market.
The organization also praised the ATS for having “one of the best interior designs regardless of make or cost,” and scored it high for its style, the choices it offers potential customers (such as engine choices), and its ride and handling balance.
For 2013, the finalists included four Europeans (2012 winning Audi A7, the Porsche Boxster and 911, and the Volkswagen Golf R), four Japanese (Honda Accord, Mazda CX-5, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ), three domestics (the ATS, as well as the Buick Verano and Ford Fusion) and one Korean (Kia Rio).
The final four were pared down to the ATS, Accord, Rio and CX-5.