New Zealand's Car of the Year is the high-selling Mazda3, according to the Automobile Association and motoring writers.
The AA and the Motoring Writers' Guild have announced the compact car as their 2014 winner this evening at Auckland's Viaduct Events Centre.
It beat nine other finalists including the Honda Jazz, which won the small car category, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which was voted both the best medium or large car and the safest car on our roads.
AA motoring services general manager Stella Stocks said the Mazda3 had become a Kiwi favourite, with a variation of models to suit a broad range of motorists.
"We have an outstanding all-rounder with a wide model range and some great safety technology," she said.
"It's also a mainstream car that carries an air of desirability because of many features and creature comforts that would normally command a premium price tag."
Motoring Writers' Guild president Liz Dobson, of the Herald magazine Driven, said the Mazda3 emerged as a clear winner despite the strong impact of SUVs on the New Zealand market this year.
She said that was because of its styling, fuel economy, numerous safety features, and value for money.
Mazda's recommended retail prices start at $32,795 for two-litre models and at $38,395 for 2.5-litre versions of the winning car.
It was the seventh highest selling new car last month, accounting for 3 per cent of the market, according the Motor Industry Association figures.
Best in Class results:
- Small car: Honda Jazz
- Compact car: Mazda3
- Medium/large car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
- Luxury car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
- Small/medium SUV: Mazda CX-5
- Large SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
- Luxury SUV: BMW X5
- Sports/Performance car: BMW M3 and M4
- Utility: Ford Ranger
- Safest car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The top 10 finalists for the New Zealand Car of the Year 2014 were:
- Honda Jazz
- Nissan Qashqai
- Nissan X-Trail
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Toyota Highlander
- BMW M3 and M4
- Jeep Cherokee
- Range Rover Sport