Driven Car of the Year: SUV and commercial

Hyundai Santa Fe Elite
Hyundai Santa Fe Elite

SUV of the year
WINNER:
Hyundai Santa Fe

With its ever-improving range, aggressive market strategies and a public obviously eager give the once-ridiculed Korean machines a fair go, Hyundai is almost unstoppable in New Zealand.

It cemented its place at the sharp end of the market earlier this year with the release of its updated Santa Fe SUV, it proved that it while it already had a winner, it could still do better.

The 2013 Santa Fe is about as well-mannered as you can get on the road, but doesn't completely give away its off-road chops, either. The range stretches from its excellent 2.2 diesel 4WD Elite Limited with diff lock and hill decent control which Driven tackled the lofty Benmore Dam road in the South Island in, and down to a 2WD 2.4 petrol.

- Matt Greenop

COMMERCIAL VEHICLE of the year
WINNER:
Ford Ranger Wildtrak

Ford Ranger Wildtrak. Photo / Ted Baghurst
Ford Ranger Wildtrak. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Limited supply has made Ford's flagship Ranger model, the Wildtrak, something of a rarity since launch in late-2012. While the mainstream range is clocking up big sales numbers, the top-of-the-range Wildtrak version has not really made its presence felt until now.

But it has completely lived up to expectations. Ranger is already known as a groundbreaking ute - certainly the most car-like ute on the road, but without sacrificing workhorse toughness and proper off-road credentials.

Wildtrak is no less rugged than any other Ranger, but ramps up the SUV-like attributes to great effect: dressed-up exterior, leather seating with sporty orange detailing, sat-nav and even a reversing camera.

Love the roller-cover on the tray as well. It looks neat and tidy when closed, but rolling it back still gives you full use of that massive tray.

This is a top truck in every respect.

- David Linklater

- NZ Herald

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