The latest Ford Fiesta has been judged New Zealand’s Car of the Year by the country’s leading motoring writers and commentators.
Breaking new ground as the first small Ford to be offered in all major markets around the world, the new Fiesta was launched internationally in late-2008, and has been available here since early-2009.
In reaching their decision to award the Fiesta the country’s top automotive accolade, members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild assessed both the manual and automatic transmissions of the five-door machine.
As well as performance and handling, the facets under consideration included suitability for the task for which the Fiesta is designed, its value for money, ease of operation, economy, along with its level of home comforts, quality of finish, safety accoutrements and visual appeal.
“The areas in which the Fiesta makes its strongest impression are surely its stand-out styling and superb handling dynamics and refinement,” said Guild president John Oxley.
That said, the Fiesta’s qualities run deep in many other areas as well: Its equipment list, for example, includes features that many will be surprised to find as standard in this class such as voice-controlled Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB and 3.5mm auxiliary audio inputs, steering wheel-mounted audio system controls, cruise control and a security alarm system.
Its safety credentials are also impressive for the supermini class, including dual front and side airbags plus a knee-bag for the driver and electronic stability programming. It holds the maximum 5-star occupant protection rating from the European NCAP crash testing.
All these aspects of the Fiesta have been considered by the NZ Car of the Year judges, with one of the most important aspects of their assessment being the fact that is conducted by experiencing the car in a broad range of local conditions.
“A major point of difference with this award is that it embodies the opinions of professionals in their field from across the country, each of whom has assessed the car on roads in their own region,” Oxley said.
“The car that comes out winner must, as the Fiesta so clearly does, excel from many different perspectives, and in a range of Kiwi-specific conditions.”
The Fiesta was one of a dozen finalists for this year’s New Zealand Car of the Year award, which is open to new models launched in New Zealand during the 12 months prior to November 1 2009. The others, in alphabetical order, were the Alfa Romeo MiTo, Audi Q5, BMW 7-series, Kia Soul, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Mazda3, Nissan Qashqai, Subaru Legacy/Outback, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Scirocco and Volvo XC60.
Recent past winners of the title, which is now in its 22nd year, have been the Ford Falcon (2008), Mazda 2 (2007) and Porsche Cayman (2006).