The finalists for the 2013 New Zealand Car of the Year are a mixed bag of contenders which include three SUVs, a sports car, a luxury vehicle and, for the first time, an electric offering
The NZ Automobile Association and NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild (NZMWG) will announce the Car of the Year at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland on December 5.
Members of the guild who have driven the top 10 cars will independently rank each of them on a number of elements including value, design and quality – the best of which will become the 2013 New Zealand Car of the Year.
The top 10 finalists for NZ Car of the Year are:
• Ford Kuga
• Holden Volt
• Holden Commodore
• Hyundai Santa Fe
• Lexus IS
• Subaru BRZ
• Subaru Forester
• Volkswagen Golf
• Volvo V40
AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks says SUV sales account for about 30% of the new vehicle market in New Zealand and three are represented in the top 10 with the Ford Kuga, Hyundai Santa Fe and Subaru Forester.
“SUVs are a rapidly growing segment in our new car market so it’s positive to see they are well represented in the top 10 line up,” Ms Stocks says.
At the opposite end of the scale is the Holden Volt.
“This is the first time an electric vehicle has been considered as the top car in any competition in New Zealand. While the Volt isn’t a cheap option, it provides another factor for Kiwi motorists to consider when they’re looking at a new car which is important.”
Once a relatively expensive European option, the Volkswagen Golf is on the market with a sharp entry-level price of $32,250 becoming an affordable option for many.
Safety is a feature of the Volvo V40 which is the first new car to have a pedestrian airbag as standard equipment.
“The other Holden spot in the top 10 belongs to the large car stalwart Commodore, which has an extensive new range and a vastly improved premium quality aura.”
Last year’s New Zealand Car of the Year was the Toyota 86 sports car and this year its sibling, the Subaru BRZ is in the running.
Rounding top 10 out is the Mazda6, a favourite family and fleet car which now has the brand’s Skyactiv fuel-efficient technology on board and also a diesel option.
NZMWG President David Linklater says guild members have lot to consider as they make their selection.
“Each of the finalists is worthy for a raft of reasons and selection of the final winner is likely to come down to some very specific factors,” Mr Linklater says.
“Regardless of the outcome, what is good to see is the wide range of choice that Kiwis have this year with value, quality and also safety.”
Alongside the New Zealand Car of the Year, members of the guild will also vote on the best in class in nine categories:
• Small car
• Compact car
• Medium car
• Large car
• Small/medium SUV
• Large SUV
• Sports/Performance car
• Luxury car
The safest car for 2013 will also be announced at the December 5 event based on Australasian New Car Assessment Programme crash test analysis.