10 NZ car of the year finalists
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Ten vehicles will duke it out to be named as the first AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year.
The finalists for the prestigious award were named this week, with the winner being announced in December.
The 10 models are the Holden Commodore Calais-V wagon, Hyundai i30N hatch, Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, Hyundai Kona compact SUV, Kia Stinger sportback, Mazda CX-8 SUV, Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch, Subaru Forester SUV, Suzuki Swift Sport hatch, and the Volvo XC40 compact SUV.
A panel of nine motoring journalists selected the top 10 vehicles, with the criteria being that the new models had to be on sale in New Zealand from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018. Chief Judge and Driven’s Editor at Large Liz Dobson said the quality of each of the vehicles considered by the panel was impressive.
“Each of the top 10 contenders deserves its place on the list,” she said.
“The Holden Commodore wagon is a new take on a Holden icon with unprecedented levels of safety and a brilliant driving experience. Hyundai’s i30N was a pitch perfect first attempt, while the Santa Fe has a huge and impressive list of safety features for potential buyers looking for a family vehicle.
“The Kona may be Hyundai’s first compact urban SUV, but its technology and looks made it seem like it’s been part of the model line-up for years. “The Kia Stinger is slickly styled, quick off the mark and well-priced and feels like the sequel to Australia’s ocker rear-wheel drive sports sedans that we never had, while the Mazda CX-8’s first sign of feel-good is when you start its 2.2 litre turbo-diesel engine a refined, frugal unit delivering 140kW/450Nm and mated to a six-speed automatic.
“The Mercedes-Benz A-Class takes aim at the premium hatchback segment with enhanced safety featuresand segment leading infotainment systems, while the latest Subaru Forester delivers on its boast to upgrade your fun with its revitalised new 136kW engine and more efficient CVT gearbox.
“Suzuki deserves praise for raising the bar by delivering a well-balanced compromise between driving fun and everyday practicality with its Swift Sport, while Volvo’s first entry into the crowded premier compact SUV market with the XC40 is roomy and practical and a quiet cruiser on the motorway,” Dobson said.
AA motoring services general manager Stella Stocks said the next stage of judging is part of what makes the awards the country’s most comprehensive.
“Each of the top 10 finalists is put through its paces in a rigorous trial both on the road and at the Pukekohe Park Raceway with set exercises that see all judges scoring from the driver’s seat. To top it off, for the first time Kiwis will be able to see what went on in the testing process with video content from the trials and behind the scenes interviews with the judges.
“We are confident that the AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year Awards will give the definitive answers on which car has truly swept all competition before it, and provide motorists with the sage advice they’ve come to expect from the AA,” Stocks added.
Driven will profile each of the Top 10 models over coming weeks, with the announcement of a winner on December 12.