NZ Car of the Year 2016 contenders announced

It’s the event that celebrates the best of the best in the New Zealand motoring industry - yes, the annual New Zealand Car of the Year awards is back and today we can share the cars vying for the evening’s biggest accolade.

The top 10 finalists for 2016 New Zealand Car of the Year have been announced, along with details of the event which will take place at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre on Wednesday 7 December, and there’s something for everyone in the shortlist which was narrowed down by a panel of the country’s top automotive experts from the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild (NZMWG) and AA Motoring.

Battling it out this year for the New Zealand Car of the Year prize are:

  • Holden Spark
  • Honda Civic
  • Kia Sportage
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC
  • Skoda Superb
  • Subaru Levorg
  • Suzuki Vitara
  • Volkswagen Tiguan

Of course, not every impressive vehicle that’s been released in the last 12 months can make the cut, but AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks and president of the NZMWG Liz Dobson both agree that the 2016 list of finalists represents advances in technology and safety, and Kiwis’ ongoing love affair with SUVs which make up nearly 40% of all new vehicle sales.

“Despite it being a relatively quiet year in terms on new vehicles being launched here, there was robust debate by the panel to decide the final vehicles as all of the contenders were strong candidates,” says Ms Dobson.

“We had products that covered the spectrum, not only in categories but prices too. You just need to look at the final 10 to see the variety – there’s a $16,490 hatchback and also one of the most technologically advanced vehicles in the world.”

“It’s pleasing to see many affordable options included in the top 10 list of finalists boasting a lot of safety technology and great design,” Ms Stocks adds. “There really is something for everyone with this year’s line up.”

Voting will now open up to all members of the guild and AA judges who have driven the top 10 cars to determine the winner based upon a number of elements including value, design and quality. Alongside the main award, they’ll vote for their Best in Class in a number of categories:

  • Small car
  • Compact car
  • Medium/large car
  • Luxury car
  • Small SUV
  • Medium SUV
  • Large SUV
  • Luxury SUV
  • Utility
  • Sports and performance

New Zealanders will also get their chance to have their say when voting for the Car of the Year People’s Choice award, sponsored this year by, opens on 1 November. In addition, the Safest Car for 2016 will be announced at the event, based on Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash test results.

Find out more about the finalists and the categories on the official Car of the Year website, and follow the AA on Facebook so you don’t miss out on your chance to vote for your favourite in November, and be in to win some great prizes.

Pictured above, the 2016 New Zealand Car of the Year top 10 finalists take their marks on the track at Ellerslie Racecourse, each with a strong chance of taking trophy. From left, Kia Sportage, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda Civic, Mazda CX-9, Holden Spark, Suzuki Vitara, Subaru Levorg, Mercedes-Benz GLC and the Skoda Superb.

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