The New Zealand Automobile Association and NZME’s Driven have today revealed the top 10 contenders battling it out for the honour of becoming the AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year 2018.
This year’s AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year Awards will pinpoint the country’s Car of the Year plus Best in Class, alongside the popular publicly voted People’s Choice Award powered by Driven with winners announced at an industry cocktail event on 12 December.
A panel of judges drawn from the country’s finest motoring journalists and the AA has selected the top 10 cars, with one manufacturer making the grade as a contender three times.
In alphabetical order, the top 10 finalists for the 2018 AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year are:
Holden Commodore wagon
Hyundai Santa Fe
Suzuki Swift Sport
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. 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 features and 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,” Liz 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,” Stella added.