Motoring News

2022’s top 10 new cars so far: SUVs and Utes still lead, but for how long?

We are over halfway through the year, and with the second round of the Government’s Clean Car Discount introduced on 1 April 2022, the automotive industry has seen quite a segment reshuffle. A combination of rising living costs, high fuel prices, continued vehicle supply constraints and a weakening New Zealand economy has seen a decline in new car sales over the past six months after the record setting 2021.

At the end of June 2022, the Motor Industry Association (MIA) data revealed that 82,092 new vehicles were sold so far this year, down three per cent on last year’s total of 84,669 units.

The Mitsubishi Outlander is the top selling new model in New Zealand with an impressive 4,914 registrations. This equates to 8.7 per cent market share in the new passenger vehicle segment. The Ford Ranger (first place last year) sits in second place with 4,896 registrations and 19 per cent market share of the commercial vehicle segment, and the Toyota Hilux comes in at third with 4,786 registrations and 18.6 per cent of the commercial vehicle market share.

In terms of brand performance, Mitsubishi is leading the way with 13,770 new vehicle registrations, followed by Toyota with 12,911 and Ford with 6,563.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) were up a massive 345 per cent last year and although hampered by the availability of stock, still up an impressive 178 per cent so far this year. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) have also grown in popularity as fuel prices continued to rise, up a whopping 482 per cent.

Despite the rise in BEV and PHEV sales, Utes and SUVs remain popular among Kiwi motorists and still make up the top five spots for new vehicle registrations. However, it is worth noting that the first quarter sales and the second quarter sales looked very different as the Clean Car Discount came into effect.

Top 10 bestselling New Zealand new vehicles

1. Mitsubishi Outlander: 4,914 units

Outlander PHEVsml

The Mitsubishi Outlander is the bestselling new car overall so far this year. Last year the Outlander was New Zealand’s top-selling passenger car and had recently been joined by a new and improved plug-in hybrid electric cousin – the Next Generation Outlander PHEV. Our Motoring experts at the AA recently had the opportunity to try it out, you can read what they had to say here.

The Next Generation Outlander PHEV has greater EV and combined range with updated styling and features across the range. With petrol models priced from $33,990 + ORC, it is easy to see why it is New Zealand’s favourite seven-seat SUV.  

2. Ford Ranger: 4,896 units

NextGenRanger Wildtrak Front 3QTR static 1

The Ford Ranger remained the top selling vehicle for 2021 with an incredible 12,580 registrations, however the majority of these were prior to the Clean Car scheme coming into effect. So far this year, the popular Ranger remains the most popular light commercial vehicle but has been overtaken by the Outlander for overall top spot.

Early this year Ford introduced the next-generation Ford Ranger claiming to be the most versatile, and capable Ranger yet, with significant leaps forward in technology, safety and capability across the range.

The next-gen Ranger is a tough, smart and versatile truck – the perfect partner for businesses, family lives and adventures. Prices range from $46,990 RRP for the XL 4x2 Chassis Cab, through to the top of the range Raptor priced at $89,990 RRP.

3. Toyota Hilux: 4,786 units


The Toyota Hilux is an icon in New Zealand that has been evolving for decades. Always running a close second behind its rival, the Ranger, when it comes to light commercial vehicle sales. The latest version impressed the AA DRIVEN NZ 2021 Car of the Year judges enough to win the Light Commercial Vehicle (ute/van) category.

The latest line up includes the revised 2.8-litre turbo-diesel and while automatics dominate, Toyota remains committed to manual as a choice for many models. Prices range from $29,990 TDP for the Single Cab to $62,990 TDP for the SR5 Cruiser.

4. Mitsubishi Triton: 4,462 units

IMG 1700 mitsubishi triton jm 19

Like its rivals, the Triton is a ute designed to work hard and play hard. Powered by an advanced, efficient 2.4-litre diesel engine there are a variety of models to choose from.

Our AA Motoring Experts reviewed the Triton back in early 2021, you can read what they had to say here.

Prices range from $33,990 + ORC for the Single Cab to $45,990 + ORV for the Diesel Double Cab.

5. Toyota RAV4: 2,845 units


The Toyota RAV4 was a star of the AA DRIVEN NZ Car of the Year awards back in 2019, and was voted top Medium SUV again for 2021, which demonstrates what a strong contender the RAV4 is when you consider what a crowded and competitive market segment this is.

It’s made even more popular with the addition of hybrid technology as an option, and a model tailored for off-tarmac use - the Adventure. With a full suite of Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) equipment standard on every model, it is no wonder the Toyota RAV4 continues to be a popular medium SUV choice for Kiwis.

6. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: 1,897 units


The Eclipse Cross delivers what all buyers have come to love about its larger sibling, the Outlander, but in a smaller package and, as always with Mitsubishi, it’s available at a very competitive price point.

Last year the Eclipse Cross was the third most popular compact SUV, not quite as popular as its sibling the ASX. This year it has caught up to take the third podium spot overall, not just in the compact SUV segment. With the inclusion of the PHEV variant, it is eligible for the Clean Car Discount rebate of $5,750 making it even more attractive.

With six options to choose from the Eclipse Cross starts at $35,990 + ORC for the Turbo Petrol. Our AA Motoring Experts had the opportunity to review the Eclipse Cross in 2021, you can read what they had to say here.

7. Suzuki Swift: 1,835 units

Swift Hybrid

Suzuki continue to duke it out with the bigger SUVs and utes with their ever popular small hatchback, the Swift. Suzuki have been popular for their stylish and reliable compact cars in the New Zealand market for many years and the Swift has consistently featured in the top 10 line-up for sales of both new and used compact cars.

Earlier this year our AA Motoring Experts reviewed both the GLX Hybrid and the GL Auto models. The consensus was that the Swift is an eco-friendly fun hatchback that delivers amazing fuel efficiency and low emissions.

Suzuki have a wide range of Swift variants that are all eligible for the Government’s Clean Car Discount programme that entitles them to a rebate of up to $3,160.

8. Kia Sportage: 1,721 units

Kia all new Sportage

Since its launch late last year Kia have experienced unprecedented demand for the all-new Kia Sportage LX Urban, no doubt thanks to it hitting the New Zealand market with a very sharp entry price. Price and good looks make the Sportage a competitive contender in the mid-sized SUV range.

Its impressive styling has been compared to the brand's popular new EV6 electric vehicle. There are eight models in the Sportage range, starting with the sharply priced LX at $39,990 + ORC.

Our AA Motoring Experts had the opportunity to review the Kia Sportage LX Urban earlier this year, you can read what they had to say here.

9. MG ZS: 1,617 units


The MG brand has been making a statement in the New Zealand market in recent years, with stylish and well-appointed newcomers like the ZST and the MG3. The ZS includes an extensive line up of options starting with the entry model ZS 1.5-litre Excite, an affordable compact SUV starting at $24,490 driveaway.

The flagship ZST range includes four variants priced from $27,990 driveaway. There is an electric model available too, which has been praised as the most affordable BEV on the market. There are two options available, the Excite from $49,990 driveaway and the range topping Essence from $52,990 driveaway. Plus, the new ZS EV continues to be eligible for the Government’s Clean Car Discount.

10. Hyundai Kona: 1,523 units

2021 Kona Electric

The Kona Series compact SUV includes an extensive range of petrol, performance, hybrid and pure electric options. The Electric II has become a popular addition to the line up, praised for its impressive range and cutting-edge design. It is available in two battery sizes (39kWh or 64kWh) with a WLTP claimed range of 305km and 484km respectively.

Last year our AA Motoring team reviewed the Kona over an extended period, giving the team the opportunity to test the range with everyday commuting from a full charge, you can read more here.

Prices range from $35,990 + ORC for the Series II petrol options, from $69,990 for the performance Series N model, and from $46,572 + ORC for the Hybrid Series II options. The Kona Electric Series II is priced from $69,990 + ORC and sneaks in under the cap for the Government’s Clean Car Discount, meaning you get the $8,625 rebate.


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