The 2016 New Zealand Car of the Year top 10 finalists take their marks on the track at Ellerslie Racecourse. From left: Kia Sportage, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda Civic, Mazda CX-9, Holden Spark, Suzuki Vitara, Subaru Levorg, Mercedes-Benz GLC and the Skoda Superb.
Two images of the Subaru Levorg 2.0GT-S
Subaru’s all-new turbocharged Levorg is already making an impact and has been named a New Zealand Car of the Year finalist today, despite only being on sale in the country’s showrooms for under three months.
The performance sports wagon was announced as one of 10 finalists after a judging panel of New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild (NZMWG) members, plus New Zealand Automobile Association (NZAA) representatives made the decision about the front-runners this week.
Members of the NZMWG and the NZAA who have driven the top 10 cars will independently rank each of them on a number of elements including value, design and quality – the best of which will become the 2016 New Zealand Car of the Year.
The winner will be announced at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland on December 7.
The Subaru Levorg, which went on sale for the first time in New Zealand in mid-July, has already established itself as a popular car with Kiwi drivers - no doubt helped by its reputation as the spiritual successor to the much missed Legacy GT wagon.
Subaru of New Zealand Managing Director Wallis Dumper says that the Levorg is a real driver’s car that still allows Kiwi families to enjoy all their outdoor activities.
“The Levorg model specification we chose for the New Zealand market is the 2.0GT-S and it is already contributing positively to Subaru of New Zealand’s overall sales. It is easy to see why, because Levorg offers style and sophistication within a sports wagon package that allows plenty of room for sporting equipment. Throw in its classy trim, leading-edge technology plus the Subaru All Wheel Drive experience and it makes sense that Levorg is attracting a wide cross-section of buyers.”
“In a short space of time Levorg has already far exceeded the previous Legacy GT sales. In fact, it has exceeded Legacy GT and WRX hatch sales so we know it truly is the sports car you can actually use for sports,” Mr Dumper says.
NZAA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks says the top 10 line up is a good representation of the market, from an entry level choice right through to the luxury end.
“It’s pleasing to see many affordable options included in the top 10 list of finalists boasting a lot of safety technology and great design. There really is something for everyone with this year’s line up,” Ms Stocks says.
Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre Direct Injection engine, the Subaru Levorg is priced at $56,990 (RRP) and has an independent maximum five-star rating for occupant safety from the respected Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) - in line with the entire Subaru new car range in New Zealand.
The NZMWG president, Liz Dobson, was impressed with the variety of vehicles in the top 10.
“Despite it being a relatively quiet year in terms of new vehicles being launched here, there was robust debate by the panel to decide the final vehicles as all of the contenders were strong candidates,” Ms Dobson says.
Alongside the main award, NZMWG members will also vote on the best in class in a number of categories:
- Small car
- Compact car
- Medium/large car
- Luxury car
- Small SUV/crossover
- Medium SUV
- Large SUV
- Luxury SUV
- Sports and performance
The safest car for 2016 will also be announced at the December 7 event based on Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash test results.
The public also has the chance to make its pick with the New Zealand Car of the Year People’s Choice award. From November 1, the public can vote for one of the top 10 finalists both on NZAA’s Facebook page and website and earn a chance to win a 10-day Pacific Islands cruise for two.
The New Zealand Car of the Year People’s Choice award will also be announced on December 7.