How the awards work

To become a finalist for New Zealand's most recognised motoring award, entrants must meet the criteria set by the New Zealand Car of the Year voting panel, made up of members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild (NZMWG) and AA Motoring specialists.

New Zealand Car of the Year

To be eligible for the New Zealand Car of the Year 2017 award, vehicles must have been launched in the 12 month period between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017. 

They must also be either all-new or a new or significantly changed platform, engine or body work.

Voting for Car of the Year

  1. A New Zealand Car of the Year committee, made up of New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild (NZMWG) members and AA Motoring experts, identified the cars that meet criteria for consideration as finalists.
  2. The panel convened on 3 October 2017 to debate and establish the 10 finalists with justification for each selection.
  3. The list of 10 finalists was submitted to a joint NZMWG panel and AA Motoring management team for ratification, before being announced to the public.
  4. Once the top ten shortlisted cars have been announced, voting opens up to all members of the NZMWG and an AA Motoring specialist, to select their winner. 
  5. Once voting closes, results are collated by the AA and the winner will be announced at the New Zealand Car of the Year awards.

New Zealand Car of the Year - People's Choice 

This award is decided entirely by the general public. New Zealanders are able to choose their favourite of the Top 10 shortlisted vehicles for Car of the Year, and the winner determines the People's Choice victor. 

Online voting for the New Zealand Car of the Year - People's Choice award opens to the general public on the first day of November and closes on 30 November. 

Only one vote per person is counted and results are collated by the AA after voting ends, with the winner announced at the awards ceremony. 

Safest Car 

The Safest Car award is awarded to the vehicle released in the past 12 months with the highest Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) safety rating. 

Best in Class categories

Any new car still available for sale in the New Zealand market as of 30 September 2017, is eligible to win in its New Zealand Car of the Year Best in Class category. 

For that reason, winners from previous years may win a Best in Class 2017 award. 

Due to the increased demand for, and presence of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in New Zealand, a new category was included in the 2017 awards to reflect the growth of this segment. 

The full list of Best in Class categories are below:

  • Micro/light car
  • Small/compact car
  • Medium/large car
  • Luxury car
  • Small SUV
  • Medium SUV
  • Large SUV
  • Luxury SUV
  • Utility
  • Sports
  • Electric vehicle/plug-in hybrid