The Mazda 3 has been voted number one at the 5th annual Best of the Best awards for 2014, the Canadian Automotive Jury announced Thursday.

The 2014 Mazda 3, which sells for a base price of $15,995, accounts for 30 per cent of Mazda’s worldwide sales.

Automotive writer at the Globe and Mail Petrina Gentile, says one of the vehicle’s strongpoints is its available safety technology.

“A lot of times, if you want to get into blind spot monitoring, that’ll warn you of vehicles in your blind spot, you have to go into a premium brand, and it’s quite expensive,” Gentile told CTV’s Canada AM. “But now that technology’s trickling into more affordable cars.”

And for fellow jury member Graeme Fletcher of the National Post, “stunning style and great practicality” made the Mazda 3 a winner.

“They’ve got a full suite of sky-active technologies, which brings fuel efficiency and better ride and handling,” Fletcher told CTV’s Canada AM. “In the end, you’ve got a great little vehicle, and they’ve managed to make it fuel efficient without killing the fun of the drive.”

The award is an annual automotive award of excellence, based on design, ride and handling, performance, ergonomics, comfort, space, cargo capacity, fuel efficiency and noise, and vibration and harshness.

Gentile said the jury members test-drive the vehicles for a week “to see what it’s like when we take the kids over to hockey practice, and go grocery shopping, so we really actually see how it fits into our lives.”

The winner, announced at the Montreal Auto Show, was presented with an Inuit soapstone carving of a polar bear donated by the North West Company’s Inuit Art Division.

The not-for-profit organization is independently funded by 11 jurors, all veteran automotive journalists, including Petrina Gentile, David Booth, Jeremy Cato, Benoit Charette, Greame Fletcher, and John LeBlanc.

The Mazda 3 beat out 11 other finalists, including:

  • Jaguar F-Type
  • 2014 Chevrolet Corvette
  • Audi RS7
  • BMW 4 Series
  • Cadillac ATS
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Infiniti Q50
  • Kia Forte
  • Mazda 6
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA
  • Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid