It’s Car of the Year season again, when New Zealand’s motoring experts unite to decide which vehicles are top in their class and ultimately decide the winner of the 2018 AA Driven New Zealand Car of The Year Award. We thought we’d reflect on why the ŠKODA Kodiaq was the 2017 winner, and catch up with them to see what impact winning the top prize has had.

What’s so special about the Kodiaq?

Let’s first look at how this European vehicle is placed in the market. The SUV class that the Kodiaq belongs to is a popular category with many options - which makes winning that much sweeter. The Kodiaq is a generous-sized 7-seater, has a large boot capacity, 9-airbags, clever tech like Smartlink+ phone connectivity, and standard features like parking sensors, Emergency Braking System, and Rest Assistant. What wraps this vehicle in a great package is the value for money starting price of $42,990.

But what actually makes a vehicle COTY material?

Last year the common thread for the winner was family-friendly, 5- star safety, segment popularity, technology advancement while at an affordable price point. The Kodiaq ticked all those boxes and some.

Speaking about the Kodiaq, the 2017 COTY judges said it was “more refined than many luxury SUVs, with great design ideas, packaging and price points… It makes the brand come of age and reach critical mass; its family- friendly features are indeed simply clever.”

AA Motoring Services GM Stella Stocks said: “ŠKODA has presented the world with a great all round vehicle. While it’s clearly been built with the family in mind, the Kodiaq’s configuration, spaciousness and technology ensures the market has an affordable versatile choice that will endure.

“SUVs remain the most popular segment in the Kiwi motoring market and ŠKODA’s entry into the 7-seater space with the Kodiaq, which also has a 5 star safety rating from ANCAP means we’re well served by the brand.”
What difference winning made for ŠKODA

A ŠKODA representative said winning the Car of the Year title for Kodiaq enabled them to really land ŠKODA’s first SUV and use it as a launching pad for the rest of the ŠKODA SUV family being released over the coming years, including the Kodiaq SportLine and the new mid-sized Karoq SUV launched earlier in the year.

They in fact saw a spike in Kodiaq sales in January which they attribute a number of these to winning New Zealand Car of the Year in December 2017. The Kodiaq made up 50% of sales in January; the highest peaking month for Kodiaq sales. For 2018 the Kodiaq is their number one selling model and makes up 35% of all ŠKODA sales.

Success on a global scale

This success has been echoed in Europe, with the Kodiaq being awarded Auto Express 2018 Large SUV of the Year, What Car's 2017 Best Large SUV award and TopGear Magazine Family SUV of the Year.

The 2018 AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year Awards

This year, the AA and Driven have joined forces to drive forward the premier AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year, which will pinpoint the country’s Car of the Year and Best in Class as judged by the country’s finest motoring journalists and the AA, with winners announced at a cocktail event in December.

This year there’ll be a comprehensive trial for each car of the year finalist both on-road and at Pukekohe Park Raceway, which gives the judges the opportunity to score from the driver’s seat.

Keep an eye on or for announcements of the finalists, information about the People’s Choice Award powered by Driven, and further details.

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