Mercedes-Benz GLC: Win for car world's safety leader
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Elements under the skin are what won this award
The Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV was assessed as the safest vehicle on New Zealand roads this week.
It edged out the new Mazda CX-9 as the safest vehicle, as part of the New Zealand Car of the Year awards.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class luxury sedan was judged to be the safest vehicle of the year in the awards, judged by the AA and the New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild.
Cutting-edge technology alongside world-class styling and ultimate driving experience won the award, said AA Motoring Services general manager Stella Stocks.
"While the judges make their selections on a variety of elements, for me, what is under the skin of the E-Class is excellent," said Stocks.
"Mercedes-Benz is a world leader in safety technology and it hasn't held back from ensuring this car is one of the safest on the market today, packed full of features to both avoid crashes and maximise occupant safety."
The E-Class sedan brought a nod to the future with a range of semi-automated driving functions.
Guild president Liz Dobson said the all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is one of the most technically advanced cars on our roads.
"Mercedes-Benz says that this 10th generation E-Class has leapt forward two decades with its technology. Having driven it extensively at the global launch, in Australia and on New Zealand roads, I have to agree," she said.
The New Zealand Car of the Year was selected from a shortlist of new models released to the market between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. The finalists were: Holden Spark, Honda Civic, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-9, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Skoda Superb, Subaru Levorg, Suzuki Vitara, and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Stocks said that rather than being judged, the safest car is assessed, and based on its Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash test performance, pedestrian protection, safety assist and crash avoidance technology.
The GLC had taken the trophy, just ahead of the Mazda CX-9.
Safety is becoming an increasingly important element in purchaser's minds, Stocks told Driven.
"If there's one thing that sums up new car safety, it's quality," Stocks says.
"While manufacturers don't all offer the same level of safety technology on all new cars, standards across the board are consistently rising and continuing to improve. These days, irrespective of what kind of vehicle a motorist needs, there are very safe options available."
Alongside the Car of the Year award were 10 best in class categories.
In these, the judges could select from any new car available for sale new in New Zealand today, which meant the winner could be an older model vehicle the judges' felt remained the best, despite the release of newer cars in the category.
The Best in Class 2016 winners
Small car - Holden Spark
Compact car - Honda Civic
Medium/Large car - Skoda Superb
Luxury car - Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Small SUV - Mazda CX-3
Medium SUV - Volkswagen Tiguan
Large SUV - Mazda CX-9
Luxury SUV - Volvo XC90
Utility - Ford Ranger
Sports/Performance - Ford Mustang GT
Safest car - Mercedes-Benz GLC