AA and Motoring Writers announce Car of the Year

The Automobile Association and the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild have tonight announced the winner of the prestigious New Zealand Car of the Year award, and the 10 vehicle class and safety award recipients.

New Zealand Car of the Year - Toyota 86

David Linklater, President of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild, says "the Toyota 86 is a fantastic, affordable, rear wheel drive, spacious sports coupe. It provides a high level of performance and safety, and starting at $41,986 it is very good value for money."

The winner was selected from a list of ten finalists voted on by Members of the Guild. To be eligible for selection the vehicles had to be launched onto the New Zealand market between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012, and test driven by more than half of the 36 Members of the Guild who comprised the voting panel.

The Toyota 86 received the uniquely shaped Peter Greenslade trophy. This has been presented to the winner of the Guild’s annual award since 1988 and recognises the memory and contribution of the late Peter Greenslade, a highly respected New Zealand motoring writer.

Small Car - Suzuki Swift

Stella Stocks, AA general manager for motoring services, says "the Suzuki Swift designers produced a car that is fun to drive, safe and affordable to own."

Compact Car - Ford Focus

"The Ford Focus offers sharp handling, brisk performance and a level of quality beyond that which a compact car is entitled to provide," says Ms Stocks.

Medium Car - BMW 3 Series

"The modern looks of the BMW 3-series gives it the road presence it deserves," says Ms Stocks.

Large Car - Skoda Superb

"The Skoda Superb is innovative, practical and it has a well thought out design which makes it a car that is hard to beat," says Ms Stocks.

Luxury Car - BMW 5 Series

"The 5-series redefines the benchmark in this sector with its top notch build quality, classic BMW lines and outstanding driving dynamics," says Ms Stocks.

Small / Medium SUV - Mazda CX5

"Mazda’s CX-5 leads the pack with its KODO - Soul of motion - design cues and futuristic SKYACTIV technology," says Ms Stocks.

Large SUV - BMW X5

"BMW’s X-5 offers elegant looks and a dynamic driving experience which provide it with the X factor," says Ms Stocks.

Sports / Performance - Toyota 86

"Toyota’s sporty 86 has sublime handling and is quick enough to be entertaining," says Ms Stocks.

Utility - Ford Ranger

"Ford’s Ranger is big and tough as well as delivering exceptional road comfort to put it ahead of the pack," says Ms Stocks.

Safest Car - BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3-series scored the highest overall score in the ANCAP new car crash assessment during 2012. "BMW doesn’t disappoint and keeps the vehicle’s occupant safety on top of its priority list," says Ms Stocks.

The recipients of the Best in Class awards were selected from the entire range of new vehicles currently on sale by the Members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers Guild.

Ms Stocks says "it is essential that motorists have access to independent information to assist their decision making when buying new vehicles. The Best in Class awards recognise excellence in value for money, performance, handling, comfort, fit for purpose, style, economy, interior design and build quality. Motorists buying any one of these award winning vehicles can be assured they have chosen one of the very best vehicles currently on the market."

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