This year’s New Zealand Car of the Year award finalists are a mixed bag covering nearly every corner of the market.
The New Zealand Automobile Association and New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild (NZMWG) will announce the Car of the Year at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland on December 9.
Members of the guild and AA judges 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 2015 New Zealand Car of the Year.
For the first time the public will also have a say with the New Zealand Car of the Year Peoples’ Choice award.
The top 10 finalists for the New Zealand Car of the Year are:
- Audi Q7
- BMW i3
- Ford Mondeo
- Hyundai Tucson
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Mazda CX-3
- Mazda MX-5
- Subaru Legacy/Outback
- Volvo XC90
AA motoring services general manager Stella Stocks says the top 10 line up this year is broad.
“Last year’s top 10 was dominated by SUVs, but over the last 12 months a much wider range of vehicles has been launched. This means that while the SUV segment continues to grow strongly, it’s getting a real run for its money in the accolade stakes,” she says.
However, SUVs still feature strongly among the finalists with the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Hyundai Tucson and one of the smallest in the class, Mazda’s CX3 – a reflection this segment in New Zealand continues to grow.
“The real standout with all of these vehicles is the quality they bring to the market, right across the range. Consumers are becoming very spoiled for choice with new cars, regardless of their price point.”
One brand is a real contender for the top award with three models in the line-up with the Mazda2, Mazda CX3 and Mazda MX5 all vying for accolades against the other seven.
“That one brand is so strongly represented in the top 10 shows it knows how to impress and is targeting a range of markets very well,” Ms Stocks says.
While not yet mainstream, the BMW i3 electric vehicle was described by the top 10 selection panel as a real game changer and Ms Stocks says people should expect to see more of this type of vehicle in a range of classes enter the awards in later years.
The Ford Mondeo and Subaru Legacy/Outback come from the same category, but each takes a different approach in the medium/large car segment.
Last year’s New Zealand Car of the Year went to the Mazda3.
Alongside the main award, members of the guild will also vote on the best in class in a number of categories:
- Small car
- Compact car
- Medium/large car
- Luxury car
- Small SUC/crossover
- Medium SUV
- Large SUV
- Luxury SUV
- Sports and performance
The safest car for 2015 will also be announced at the December 9 event based on Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash test results.
Also, the New Zealand Car of the Year People’ Choice award will be announced. From November 1, the public will have a chance to vote for one of the top 10 finalists both on AA’s Facebook page and website.