Voted for annually by more than three dozen established motoring journalists, each of whom is a member of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild, the award is the country’s most comprehensive. It is also the most respected by the car industry itself, being the embodiment of the opinions of experts representing every automotive medium.
This includes the motoring sections of the country’s major daily and weekly newspapers, several automotive websites, car and lifestyle magazines, and a number of radio and television outlets.
Over several months, the Guild’s Car of the Year committee has assembled its shortlist of finalists, which has been selected from all new models launched in New Zealand during the 12 months prior to 1 November 2008.
The cars on the 2009 shortlist are:
- Alfa Romeo MiTo
- Audi Q5 – (read road test)
- BMW 7-series
- Ford Fiesta – (read road test)
- Kia Soul – (read road test)
- Mercedes E-Class – (read road test)
- Mazda3 – (read road test)
- Nissan Qashqai – (read road test)
- Subaru Legacy/Outback – (read road test)
- Volkswagen Golf – (read road test)
- Volkswagen Scirocco – (read road test)
- Volvo XC60 – (read road test)
The vehicle that emerges from this list to be selected early in the New Year as the 21st New Zealand Car of the Year will have been tested at length by voting Guild members on roads throughout the country. As well as its performance and handling, the facets under consideration will include the car’s suitability for the task for which it was designed, its value for money, ease of operation, fuel economy, and build quality, along with its level of home comforts and safety accoutrements, and yes, even how good it looks.
Every vehicle is scored out of 100 by each voter, and the Guild’s winner will take the title of New Zealand Car of the Year only after thousands of separate voting decisions have been collated and assessed.¨¨The distributors of the winning car will be awarded the Peter Greenslade Trophy, named after the now deceased motoring editor of The Press in Christchurch, who was one of the instigators of the Car of the Year award in the late 1980s.
The current holder of the New Zealand Car of the Year Award is the Ford Falcon, Other recent winners include the latest Mazda 2, Porsche Cayman, Mazda MX-5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and previous-generations of the Honda Accord Euro and Ford Mondeo.