Mazda’s all-new MX5 sports car is the 2005 New Zealand Car of the Year. The Mazda was chosen from a wide range of cars evaluated by members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild during 2005. It’s the second time an MX5 has won the Guild’s COTY which is New Zealand’s most significant and respected automotive accolade. The Guild is composed of almost 40 writers whose work appears in all of New Zealand’s main automotive media outlets, including daily and weekly newspapers, car magazine, automotive websites and radio and television. The New Zealand Car of the Year title is New Zealand’s premier car award and the only one without affiliation to specific media groups or organisations. Lined-up against 10 other finalists, the Mazda roadster was a dominant winner, beating the rest by a significant margin. The other finalists were the BMW 3-Series, the Citroen C4, Ford’s Focus Mark 2, Hyundai’s Sonata, the Land Rover Discovery 3, the Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz’s CLS, the Mitsubishi 380, Nissan’s Murano and the Suzuki Swift. In recent years, the title has been taken by a series of family sedans. Last year it went to the Nissan Maxima, which followed Honda’s Accord Euro, the Mazda 6 and, before that, Ford’s Mondeo. The MX5 repeated its 1990 New Zealand Car of the Year win after Guild members rated all finalists on criteria which included performance, design, ride and handling, safety, value for money and environmental care. The New Zealand Car of the Year award – presented to Mazda New Zealand – consists of the Peter Greenslade Trophy, which uses a Nardi steering wheel as its centrepiece. The late Peter Greenslade was the doyen of NZ motoring journalists and was motoring editor of the Christchurch Press. He also produced, with photographer Euan Sargison, the Shell NZ motor racing annuals of the 1960s which are now highly-prized collector’s items.