The Mazda6 has been named New Zealand Car of the Year, the country’s most prestigious and comprehensive automotive prize.
Now in its 15th year the NZ Car of the Year Award, is administered by the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild, which represents more than 30 professional motoring journalists working for more than 50 daily and specialist print titles, radio and television stations and websites around the country.
During voting for this year’s Car of the Year, Guild members assessed more than 50 vehicles released in New Zealand between January 1 and December 31, 2002.
The vehicles were rated in 10 separate areas that included performance and build quality, environmental care and value for money. During a week-long road test of each new model a total of 15,000 voting decisions were taken into consideration.
“In the end, it was the overall excellence of the Mazda6 that allowed it to emerge this year’s winner,” said NZMWG President, Rob Maetzig.
“It is a beautiful car, whether as a sedan, sporthatch or as a wagon. It is a superb combination of good looks, a spacious and well-appointed interior, excellent driving dynamics, and high level of passive and active safety.”
The Mazda6 headed off cars such as the Honda Jazz, Ford’s BA Falcon, the Holden Monaro, Mercedes-Benzs E-Class, BMW’s Mini, and the Saab 9-3.
Mr Maetzig described the Mazda6 as a highly significant car because it is the first Mazda to reflect a change of attitude towards vehicle design by the Japanese car maker.
“In recent years, much of the Mazda new vehicle fleet has been conservative. But now, the new generation Mazdas are innovative and stylish in their design – all of this encapsulated in the equally-innovative Zoom-Zoom marketing message.
“Mazda, through the international success of the Mazda6, is now receiving the praise it deserves for making that fundamental shift in attitude.
“Mazda6 has already been the recipient of many awards overseas, and from a number of respected specialist New Zealand newspapers and auto magazines. Now the Guild is delighted to give the Mazda6 this country’s ultimate motoring accolade, by naming it the official New Zealand Car of the Year,” he said.