All last week I was testing cars.
So what else is new? I test cars all the time.
But last week was the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Car/Utility Vehicle of the Year Test Fest, where we bring all the new cars, trucks, SUVs and Crossovers to one location so journalists from across the country can evaluate them in order to choose the best new vehicles in each of several categories, and the overall Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year.
We've been doing this for three decades, and to our knowledge, there is still no other program anywhere in the world that is so comprehensive, where such a broad range of journos - over 100 this year, our most ever - can drive so many vehicles back to back, on the same roads, under the same conditions, for a proper apples-to-apples comparison.
That 'one location' was slightly different this year. For several years now, we've been at the Niagara Regional Airport near Niagara on the Lake. For reasons about which I am not 100% certain, we shifted down the road a little to The Legends of Niagara Golf Course, which provided ample space for all these vehicles, and access to a number of local roads to try them out.
The lack of a true high-performance track was a bit of an issue; a complex slalom course was set up to allow us to expose any handling deficiencies.
We had expected animals-walking-two-by-two weather all week; we did have a few showers and it was cold and windy at times.
But for late October?
We'll settle for that.
The category winners will be announced in early December, the overall winners at the Canadian International Auto Show next February.
I apologize for not blogging daily from the event, as I had planned to do. Our on-site Internet connection was a bit iffy at times, there were just too many cars to test, and we also had the third appearance of the AJAC Troubadours, a rock 'n' roll band consisting of journalists and car company personnel for which I was, among other things, lead Cat Herder.
There just didn't ever seem to be any time.
I'll fill you in with tidbits over the next few days, plus we'll have full coverage in Wheels as the week progresses.