Cutting-edge technology alongside world-class styling and an ultimate driving experience has helped the Mercedes-Benz E-Class to pole position at the 2016 New Zealand Car of the Year awards tonight (Wednesday 7 December).
Alongside nine other top 10 finalists for the coveted award, the E-Class was a clear winner after votes submitted by the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild and the AA were collated.
AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks says the E-Class offers up the next wave of technology as standard outside of its very visible and refined attributes.
“The E-Class is one of those vehicles that stands out on the road, pretty much in any environment.
Since Mercedes-Benz launched the all-new E-Class earlier this year, it’s made a clear impact in this market. While it’s one of the more expensive cars on the market and not for everyone, the E-Class remains a very deserving winner,” Ms Stocks says.
“While the judges make their selections on a variety of elements, for me, what is under the skin of the E-Class is excellent. Mercedes-Benz is a world leader in safety technology and it hasn’t held back from ensuring this car is one of the safest on the market today, packed full of features to both avoid crashes and maximise occupant safety.”
Ms Stocks says the E-Class also brings forward a nod to the future with a range of semi-automated driving functions.
New Zealand Motoring Writer’s Guild president Liz Dobson says that the all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is one of the most technically advanced cars on our roads.
“Mercedes-Benz says that this 10th generation E-Class has leapt forward two decades with its technology, and having driven it extensively at the global launch, in Australia and on New Zealand roads, I have to agree,” says Ms Dobson.
“But it’s not only the outstanding passive and active safety features that make this car a winner, it also has a cabin and front dash that is futuristic, while the exterior styling make it a head turner.”
Ms Dobson said the E-Class was a stand out from an impressive line-up of contenders with the Guild members, who cover all media and are based around New Zealand.
The New Zealand Car of the Year was selected from a shortlist of new models released to the market between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. The finalists were:
• Holden Spark
• Honda Civic
• Kia Sportage
• Mazda CX-9
• Mercedes-Benz E-Class
• Mercedes-Benz GLC
• Skoda Superb
• Subaru Levorg
• Suzuki Vitara
• Volkswagen Tiguan
Also, the safest car for 2016 was announced at the awards. Rather than being judged, the safest car is assessed based on its Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash test performance, pedestrian protection, safety assist and crash avoidance technology.
Like last year, ANCAP remains on a pathway towards alignment with Euro NCAP testing protocols, which will be reached in 2018. This means slightly different protocols are still used for crash tests conducted in Europe compared with ANCAP in this part of the world, which makes assessment of the safest car challenging when standards are very high.
In 2015 joint winners were announced – the Volvo XC90 and the Hyundai Genesis – because it became impossible to separate them.
This year it remained a close race but, by a thin margin, the Mercedes-Benz GLC has taken the trophy, just ahead of a strong performance by the Mazda CX-9.
“If there’s one thing that sums up new car safety, it’s quality,” Ms Stocks says.
“While manufacturers don’t all offer the same level of safety technology on all new cars, standards across the board are consistently rising and continuing to improve. These days, irrespective of what kind of vehicle a motorist needs, there are very safe options available.”
Alongside the Car of the Year award are 10 best in class categories. In these, the judges can select from any new car available for sale new in New Zealand today, which means the winner can be an older model vehicle the judges’ feel remains the best, despite the release of newer cars in the category.
The Best in Class 2016 winners are:
• Small car – Holden Spark
• Compact car – Honda Civic
• Medium/Large car – Skoda Superb
• Luxury car – Mercedes-Benz E-Class
• Small SUV – Mazda CX-3
• Medium SUV – Volkswagen Tiguan
• Large SUV – Mazda CX-9
• Luxury SUV – Volvo XC90
• Utility – Ford Ranger
• Sports/Performance – Ford Mustang GT
• Safest car – Mercedes-Benz GLC
“The judges were truly spoilt for choice this year and it is to the manufacturers’ credit that selecting winners for each of the categories is so difficult,” Ms Stocks says.
“If the selection process for the judges is difficult, then it means that consumers really do have plenty of outstanding options to choose from.”