Car Buyers' Guide: Five top selling cars of 2016
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1. Ford Ranger
Last year was the year of the ute and none came close to threatening the sales success of the Ford Ranger.
The Ranger was the top-selling commercial vehicle every month in 2016, as well as being the top-selling model outright on multiple occasions, finishing the year with 8478 registered units.
In 2016 the Ranger received a new face with input from Ford Australia engineers. The transformation went deeper than the skin and included new features previously only expected in passenger cars, making the Ranger more appealing to a wider audience.
The entry XL model comes equipped with reversing camera and sensors, moving to the top of the line Wildtrack Ranger, one of the class leaders in ute appointment with adaptive cruise control, lane keeping system and forward collision alert.
Inside you’ll find soft touch materials, dual zone climate control, an 8-inch touch screen, Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system, satellite navigation, adaptive cruise control and enough sensors to successfully park in a congested city.
The new model is also quieter, smoother, and has fine handling – all the while consuming slightly less fuel then the previous version.
But the Ranger is still a ute; the 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel upholds the workhorse credentials, able to tow 3500kg braked without issue.
2. Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla sold 6274 units sold in the year, underlining its top status with private, business, and fleet vehicle buyers in New Zealand.
Renowned for its affordability and reliability, the Corolla is a staple of New Zealand’s motoring appetite. Available as a hatchback, sedan or wagon, the Corolla can meet the motoring requirement of the masses, with a plenty of space for the whole family and the latest infotainment and safety technology.
The hatchback is available in four models, the entry level GX and GLX, and two grades of Levin Corolla, the SX and top spec ZR.
There are three sedan models starting with the GX, the mid-range GLX and range topping ZR model with one wagon model available new in New Zealand, the GX.
A hybrid Corolla is now available too, claiming official fuel economy figures of 4.1l/100km, ensuring the model’s relevance in a future car market becoming more electric every month.
3. Toyota Hilux
To discuss the Hilux we have to acknowledge the elephant in the New Zealand car market room – the Ford Ranger. Though 6187 units and third top-selling vehicle shouldn’t sound like pain, Toyota New Zealand are after the crown.
Competition is great for two things in the marketplace: innovation and consumers. It means Toyota threw all the bells and whistles it could into the 2016 Hilux.
There are 21 Hilux models on sale in four specification grades, all available in two- or four-wheel-drive; all achieved a five star ANCAP safety rating.
S and SR variants are aimed towards the working ute market, with the SR5 and SR5 Limited serving the premium ute market with bigger 18” alloy wheels, leather interior and more electronic gizmos – including Toyota’s first six-speed intelligent manual transmission, a system that automatically rev-matches gear shifts for smooth running.
It’s no longer king but don’t for a moment think the Hilux has lost any of the power. The turbocharged diesel 2.8-litre engine is good for towing 3.5 tonnes while meeting Euro 5 emission standards.
4. Holden Colorado
The Colorado was revitalised inside and out in 2016 - most notably with a new nose and interior. Improvements were also made to the chassis, resulting in better ride comfort, cabin quietness and handling.
The 2016 Colorado also gains the Holden MyLink system with colour touch screen, auto headlights, LED daytime running lights, seven airbags and electric power steering standard across the range.
The top of the range LTZ and Z71 trims add a new level of safety and convenience with Front Park assist, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, tyre pressure monitor, power folding exterior mirrors and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.
Holden realise, to be popular in the ute segment, they have to be more car-like than trade-orientated. With the latest improvements, don’t be surprised if the Colorado begins to nip at the heels of the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.
5. Toyota RAV4
Toyota was one of the pioneers of the medium SUV segment – now one of the biggest in New Zealand – with the RAV4. Like the Corolla, the RAV4 has retained its popularity across the decades.
The 2016 model was a step up in terms of technology, handling and cabin comfort over the previous version.
A reputation for reliability and new features like dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, keyless entry, auto diming high-beam headlights and new colour options have kept the RAV4 atop the highly competitive SUV segment.
Parking is no longer a chore in SUVs thanks to rear parking assist sensors and reversing camera, both standard with the RAV4.
The 2016 model’s cabin is a pleasant place to spend time and the front seats are comfortable over long journeys; the back seats can fold up revealing 577 litres of space when you need to haul a major amount of gear.
The entry model is a front-wheel-drive GX, working up to a choice of petrol or diesel engines with all-wheel-drive in GXL or Limited trim levels.