Aside from the joys of holiday traffic, unobtainable shopping centre carparks, campervans and caravans and, of course, ill-advised zero tolerance speed limit enforcement, we really look forward to our Car of the Year deliberations.

It's an often-fiery process that pits highly opinionated car nuts against highly opinionated car fanatics and can be a hearty debate.

This year was actually a bit calmer than expected. None of the Driven team have deviated hugely from our earlier look at COTY contenders and category wins were well deserved, although several were very close calls.

The Driven Car of the Year is obviously where the glory is - but also announced this week was the New Zealand Car of the Year, which is a joint effort by the Motoring Writers Guild (of which most of the Driven team are members) and the Automobile Association. Top honours went to Toyota's 86 sportscar, which also ranked very highly in our own list - and not surprisingly, it's a beauty.


But our winner - Mazda's CX-5 SkyActiv Limited diesel - is an extremely deserving machine that has stretched the boundaries of its category and mark a serious turning point for its maker - as well as showing just how much can be achieved by setting crazy goals and then single-mindedly going after them.

On the bright side, the automotive industry is on the cusp of revolution with zero-emission demands from the green buyers, greener demands from regulators and uncompromising attitudes from car fans like all of us, who just want to drive perfection. Not much to ask, really.