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ajac testfest

The Hyundai Veloster won Best New Sports/Performance Car Under $50,000 in the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada's TestFest 2012 Canadian Car of the Year Awards in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Friday, October 28, 2011.Michelle Siu

After testing 57 new models, more than 70 members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada – including Globe Drive contributors Bob English, Ted Laturnus, Michael Bettencourt, Dan Proudfoot and Richard Russell – have selected the best new cars for the 2012 model year.

From the 11 category winners, the Canadian Car of The Year and the Canadian Utility Vehicle of The Year will be determined; the two will be unveiled at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto in February.

The 2012 category winners are: (Please click on the photos below for more information about the cars nominated in each category)

Best New Small Car under $21,000: Hyundai Accent

Accent on bang for the buck

*****

Best New Small Car over $21,000: Hyundai Elantra

The price of excellence

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Best New Family Car under $30,000: Kia Optima LX

Look how far South Korea has come

Best New Family Car over $30,000: Kia Optima Hybrid

*****

Optima leads a hybrid trifecta

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Best New Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350 4Matic Sedan

Benz is the best, barely

*****

Best New Sports Performance (under $50,000): Hyundai Veloster

Style, stuff and price trumps power

*****

Best New Sports Performance (over $50,000): BMW 1-Series M Coupe

BMW leads German hit parade

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Best New Prestige: Mercedes-Benz S-Class S350 BlueTec 4Matic

A Benz built for comfort not for speed

***** Best New SUV-CUV (under $35,000): Dodge Journey

Journey gives the most for the least

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Best New SUV-CUV ($35,000-$60,000): Volkswagen Touareg TDI

Touareg is two good

*****

Best New SUV-CUV (over $60,000): BMW X3

BMW X3: style over function