Oh that Camry, such a charmer. It's so not sitting home on Valentine's Day without a date. This time it's the Canadians giving up some automotive love, handing the Camry another trophy for its burgeoning display case - the Canadian Car of the Year award from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. Going home with Good Sport stickers (or plaques or certificates or whatever they get) are the Honda Fit, Volkswagen Rabbit, Lexus ES350, Audi S8, MazdaSpeed3, Volkswagen Eos and the BMW 3-Series Coupe. What a fight that must have been. The AJAC's press release is after the jump, and all their test data and performance numbers are on their site for comparison.

The award was given out today as part of the Canadian International Auto Show, where Toyota took home three more awards, one of which wasn't Camry related. The Lexus ES350 was named the best new luxury car under $50k, while the Camry LE got Best New Family Car $22k-$30k, and the Camry Hybrid also got Best New Family Car over $30k. In the photo above, that's one proud Stephen Beatty, managing director of Toyota Canada, with his company's CCOTYs.

In case you need some ammo with which to attack/support the AJAC's decision, last year's top CCOTY was the Civic Sedan, in 2005 the Mustang, in 2004 the Mazda3 and in 2003 the 350Z. The Altima won in 2002 and the PT Cruiser took top honors in 2001.

Thanks for the tip, Peter!

TORONTO (Ontario) Wednesday, February 14, 2007 – In an early morning press conference at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the Toyota Camry Hybrid was declared the 2007 Canadian Car of the Year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

The Toyota Camry Hybrid beat nine other "best new" category winners, announced November 21st, to win the top prize. This is the first time in the awards history that a hybrid has won an overall "Car of the Year" title.

2007 CCOTY chair, Paul Williams, commented: "With manufacturers introducing an increasing number of new vehicles each year, consumers may find it harder to keep track of what's available in the marketplace, and how one vehicle differs from another. The AJAC Canadian Car of the Year program identifies and categorizes all the new vehicles each year, then subjects them to detailed testing in real-world situations. It's not a popularity contest; it's a thorough, objective and trustworthy process to help consumers make informed purchase decisions".

"We are thrilled that AJAC's members have endorsed the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid with this important award, and would like to thank the membership for their support", said Tony Wearing, Managing Director for Toyota in Canada. "As you know, the Toyota Camry is the best selling car in North America. With the launch of the Camry Hybrid, we have brought hybrid technology into the mainstream".

The Car of the Year vote results are posted to the AJAC web site for use by consumers as a resource buying guide. The results show comparisons between all 13 category winners as announced on November 21, 2006.

In addition, consumers will also find comparative test data - acceleration, braking, manoeuvrability, cargo capacity - on over 180 new vehicles representing the 65 entries in the 2007 Canadian Car of the Year Awards. The data derives from the journalists' annual "TestFest". It's a rigorous three-day team testing program that includes "real world" driving on public roads -- where consumers drive.

Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants said recently: "As car awards go I personally believe that the Automobile Journalists of (AJAC) serve our industry very well... their choices are almost always right on the mark."

Photos from today's award announcements, the November 21st category winners, and the TestFest evaluation event, are available for print and broadcast media under <Canadian Car of the Year< Photo Gallery< on the AJAC web site: www.ajac.ca.

Still looking to buy a 2006 new car? AJAC archives the comparative test data and vote results from previous years on its web site.