A pack of SUVs dominate the top finalists for the 2014 New Zealand Car of the Year.
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 4.
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 2014 New Zealand Car of the Year.
The top 10 finalists for the New Zealand Car of the Year are:
· Honda Jazz
· Nissan Qashqai
· Nissan X-Trail
· Mercedes-Benz C-Class
· Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
· Toyota Highlander
· BMW M3/4
· Jeep Cherokee
· Range Rover Sport
AA Motoring Services General Manager says Stella Stocks this year’s top 10 line up reflects both a continuing growth in the SUV segment and an intensive year of new model launches within the industry.
“The six SUVs in the top 10 cover a big range from the relatively mainstream vehicle like the Nissan Qashqai to the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which uses cutting-edge technology to provide excellent fuel efficiency alongside the luxurious Range Rover Sport,” Ms Stocks says.
Also included on the top 10 list from the SUV segment are the Nissan X-Trail which offers five or seven seats and two or four-wheel drive; the Toyota Highlander which maintains strong sales showing there is still a place for a large petrol-powered SUV; and, the Jeep Cherokee boasting a highly practical interior while maintaining a bold style with four and six cylinder options.
Ms Stocks says the inclusion of the Mazda3 in the line-up will surprise few as it is an excellent all-round vehicle offering a wide model range popular on roads throughout New Zealand.
The top 10 selection panel say the new Honda Jazz is “head and shoulders” above the previous model and offers some new specifications including satellite navigation and a reversing camera while providing as much cargo space as a small SUV.
Compared to previous models, the selection panel says the Mercedes-Benz C-Class brings a fresh luxurious touch easily putting it alongside its E-Class and S-Class brethren.
Rounding out the top 10 is a more fuel efficient BMW M3/M4 which offers comfortable urban car ride qualities and high performance, while being easy to drive for drivers of any skill level.
Last year’s New Zealand Car of the Year went to the Volkswagen Golf, which was noted as offering a premium European driving experience and quality at mainstream prices.
NZMWG President David Linklater says guild members and the AA will have a lot to consider with the 2014 top 10 line up.
“There is a compelling reason why each of the finalists has been included, whether it’s about bang for buck, performance, styling, quality or all of the above. The judges need to carefully consider all attributes of each vehicle and rank them accordingly, Mr Linklater says.
“Despite a large number of SUVs in our top 10, there are still excellent top new car choices for New Zealand motorists covering a range of potential uses.”
Alongside the New Zealand Car of the Year, members of the guild will also vote on the best in class in nine categories:
· Small car
· Compact car
· Medium/large car
· Luxury car
· Small/medium SUV
· Large SUV
· Luxury SUV
· Sports/Performance ca
The safest car for 2014 will also be announced at the December 4 event based on Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash test analysis.