The Mazda3 has been named the New Zealand Car of the Year at an event hosted by the AA and the NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre this week.
The compact car beat the nine other finalists to take the ultimate award which included a pack of six SUVs, a small and large car and a performance car.
Members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild (NZMWG) and AA motoring experts voted on the list of finalists to produce the Mazda3 as the eventual winner. To make their decision the judges considered styling, performance, handling, economy, comfort, interior design, build quality and finish, practicality, value for money and the importance X-factor.
AA Motoring Services general manager Stella Stocks says the Mazda3 has become a Kiwi favourite with a wide range of models to suit a broad range of motorists.
“The Mazda3 is a very deserving winner and its place at the head of the top 10 finalists is likely providing little surprise to many,” Ms Stocks says.
“With the Mazda3 we have an outstanding all-rounder with a wide model range and some great safety technology. It’s also a mainstream car that carries an air of desirability because of many features and creature comforts that would normally command a premium price tag.”
Mazda New Zealand managing director Andrew Clearwater commented: “This award is a credit to the Mazda team in Japan who have created a vehicle that ticks all the boxes, from design and safety through to performance and technology.
“It is our top selling model in New Zealand because it has the features and comfort that you would normally expect to find in more expensive vehicles.”
The Mazda3 also took out the best in class compact car award ahead of other top contenders the VW Golf and Ford Focus.
Separate to the selection of the New Zealand Car of the Year for 2014, the judges also voted on nine vehicle categories – from small car to luxury SUV – with a 10th category going to the safest car, an award provided to the vehicle that receive the highest Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) rating for both crash test performance and pedestrian safety between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014.
This year, the safest car was the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Best in Class results:
• Small car: Honda Jazz
• Compact car: Mazda3
• Medium/large car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
• Luxury car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
• Small/medium SUV: Mazda CX-5
• Large SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
• Luxury SUV: BMW X5
• Sports/Performance car: BMW M3 and M4
• Utility: Ford Ranger
• Safest car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The top 10 finalists for the New Zealand Car of the Year 2014 were:
• Honda Jazz
• Nissan Qashqai
• Nissan X-Trail
• Mercedes-Benz C-Class
• Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
• Toyota Highlander
• BMW M3 and M4
• Jeep Cherokee
• Range Rover Sport