The new Mazda2 been judged New Zealand’s Car of the Year by the country’s leading motoring writers and broadcasters.
The baby of Mazda’s New Zealand range, the Mazda2 has won top Kiwi honours hot on the heels of taking out the equivalent award in Japan, and finishing runner-up in the European Car of the Year title race.
In awarding the Mazda top honours, members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild gave consideration to all aspects of the car. As well as its performance and handling, the facets under consideration included 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, safety accoutrements and visual appeal.
“A major point of difference with this award is that it embodies the opinions of professionals in their field from across the country, each having assessed the car on roads in their own region,” said Guild president Jacqui Madelin.
“The car that comes out winner must, therefore, excel from many different perspectives, and in a range of Kiwi-specific conditions.”
“There is more to the Mazda2 than simply being a good all-rounder on New Zealand roads though: it has bucked the established trend towards cars becoming larger and heavier than the models they replace, yet has still managed to score the maximum five-star occupant protection rating in the stringent European NCAP crash test regime.”
“This establishes it as a car that points to a more environmentally sustainable motoring future, when vehicles will need to become lighter to deliver improved fuel efficiency, without compromising safety.”
The Mazda2, which is sold here in hatchback guise with a 1.5-litre engine, was the smallest finalist 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, 2007. It is also the first compact car to win the award in recent years. Recent past winners of the title, which is now in its 19th year, have been the Porsche Cayman (2006), Mazda MX-5 (2005) and Honda Accord Euro (2004).
The other finalists for this year’s award were, in alphabetical order, the Audi R8, BMW M3, Fiat Bravo, Ford Mondeo, Honda CR-V, Mercedes C-class, Mitsubishi Lancer, Skoda Roomster, Subaru Impreza and Volvo C30.
In recognition of the Mazda2’s title win, Mazda New Zealand 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.