It’s deja vu from Mazda, as its popular roadster takes the New Zealand Car of the Year title – for the second time.
After months of selecting, driving, assessing and collating by the voting panel, the New Zealand Car of the Year title has been won by the new Mazda MX-5, sixteen years after the original version of the car took the same award.
The annual award is New Zealand’s most significant and respected automotive accolade and is won as the result of considerations made by the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild. The Guild represents all of New Zealand’s main automotive media outlets, including its daily and weekly newspapers, the major monthly car publications and several websites, as well as radio and television channels.
The New Zealand Car of the Year title is New Zealand’s premier car award and the only one without affiliation to specific media groups or organisations.
Lined-up against ten other worthy finalists, the Mazda roadster was a dominant winner, clearing out from the rest by a significant and irrefutable margin. The other finalists were the BMW 3-series, the C4 from Citroen, Ford’s Focus II, Hyundai’s Sonata, the Land Rover Discovery III, the Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz’s CLS, the Mitsubishi 380, Nissan’s Murano, and the Suzuki Swift.
In recent years, the title has been taken by a series of family sedans. Last year it went to the Nissan Maxima, which followed Honda’s Accord Euro, the Mazda 6 and before that Ford’s Mondeo. The MX-5 repeated its 1990 New Zealand Car of the Year win after Guild members rated all eleven finalists on criteria which included performance, design, ride and handling, safety, value for money and environmental care. Each machine was driven and assessed on the journalists’ home turf so that similar ‘real life’ conditions could be applied to every finalist.
The New Zealand Car of the Year award – to be presented to Mazda New Zealand – consists of the Peter Greenslade Trophy, which uses a Nardi steering wheel as its centrepiece.