Mazda3 takes NZ Car of the Year

Mazda3 takes NZ Car of the Year

Caption: Mazda’s Maria Tsao

Caption: Stella Stocks, Mazda NZ’s Maria Tsao and Liz Dobson

Caption: Stella Stocks, Mazda NZ’s Maria Tsao and Liz Dobson

The Mazda has claimed the New Zealand Car of the Year title – awarded by the Automobile Association and NZ Motoring Writers Guild – at an event in Auckland tonight.

The car beat nine other finalists to the take out the ultimate award – which is voted on by members of the guild and AA motoring experts.

NZMWG president Liz Dobson told AutoTalk choosing the top ten was a difficult task for the guild and the AA.

“It took a very long time to get down to that top ten,” says Dobson. “It just shows how strong the New Zealand vehicle market is.”

Dobson also noted the success of the Mazda3 in light of the growing dominance of SUVs.

“Since its launch here, guild members have been impressed with the Mazda3 and it’s sure to be a popular choice with the New Zealand buying public.”

To make their decision the judges considered styling, performance, handling, economy, comfort, interior design, build quality and finish, practicality, value for money and the importance X-factor.
AA Motoring Services general manager Stella Stocks says the Mazda3 was a worthy winner.

“The Mazda3 is a very deserving winner and its place at the head of the top 10 finalists is likely providing little surprise to many,” Stocks says.

“With the Mazda3 we have an outstanding all-rounder with a wide model range and some great safety technology.”

The Mazda3 also took out the Best in Class Compact Car award ahead of other top contenders the VW Golf and Ford Focus.

Mazda3_CUT019_MME_UK_HIGH_5HB_SH_SOUL_RED_revision02

Separate to the selection of the New Zealand Car of the Year for 2014, the judges voted on nine vehicle categories – from small car to luxury SUV – with a 10th category going to the safest car, an award provided to the vehicle that receive the highest Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) rating for both crash test performance and pedestrian safety between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014.

The class results were:

Best in Class results:
Small car: Honda Jazz
Compact car: Mazda3
Medium/large car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Luxury car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Small/medium SUV: Mazda CX-5
Large SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
Luxury SUV: BMW X5
Sports/Performance car: BMW M3 and M4
Utility: Ford Ranger
Safest car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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The top 10 finalists for the New Zealand Car of the Year 2014 were:

Mazda3
Honda Jazz
Nissan Qashqai
Nissan X-Trail
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Toyota Highlander
BMW M3 and M4
Jeep Cherokee
Range Rover Sport

-Check out AutoTalk magazine tomorrow for event images

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