Honda’s Accord Euro is the 2003 New Zealand Car of the Year. The four-door sedan came out tops in the annual award voted on by members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild, a group composed of more than 35 journalists who review cars for newspapers, magazines, the Internet and the broadcast media.
The NZ Car of the Year, which has been awarded for the past 16 years, is the country’s premier and only independent car award. It has no affiliation to any specific media outlet or organisation, but is arrived at by consensus.
The Accord Euro was judged best among a strong and varied field of contenders. Cars which challenged it strongly included the Nissan 350Z, the accomplished new BMW 5-Series, the Mazda RX8, the Subaru Legacy and the Porsche Cayenne.
“NZ Motoring Writer’s Guild members rated the 2.4-litre Accord Euro highly for its mix of good performance, comfort, good fuel economy, vice-free and agile handling, top drawer ride quality and excellent build quality,” says guild president Mike Stock.
“It also won out strongly on active and passive safety, and on value for money. The Honda provides a winning blend of attributes and high quality at an extremely attractive price. Honda’s no-haggling, no discounts, one-price-for-all pledge should also ensure good retained value and resale prices, adding to the Accord Euro’s value for money.”
The Accord is the latest in a distinguished line of mid-sized sedans to win the NZ Car of the Year award. Last year it went to Mazda’s 6 sedan and wagon, and the year before was awarded to Ford’s Mondeo wagon and sedan.
Guild members assessed new model cars introduced to the NZ market between January and December 2003. They rated the cars on criteria that included performance, design, ride and handling, safety, value for money and environmental care.
“The democratic voting process, with experienced car critics from throughout the country – and from a range of age groups – participating ensures a consensus of opinion is achieved,” says Stock. “And the fact that the award is not affiliated with any particular publication or organisation means that it is absolutely free of commercial influence and is reached without fear or favour.”
The actual award, the Peter Greenslade Trophy, will be presented to Honda New Zealand. The handsome trophy uses a Nardi steering wheel as its centrepiece. The late Peter Greenslade was a founding member of the guild and a fierce defender of its independence.
As motoring editor of the Christchurch Press, he was one of New Zealand’s best and most respected writers on cars and motor sport.