Kiwis looking to fill up ahead of a big drive over the holidays and summer break will be glad to hear the petrol pump war is heating up and gas prices are being slashed.

On Thursday and until noon yesterday, Gull knocked 20c off petrol for 24 hours, taking prices for 91 octane as low as around $1.56 a litre.

The sale caused line-ups at the pumps as Kiwis looked to take advantage of the offer.

Z spokesman Jonathan Hill said yesterday that prices for Z petrol had dropped nationwide by 3c on all petrol grades, fuelling the petrol price war.

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Mr Hill said the decrease reflected falling global prices.

Independently owned Z stations - around two-thirds of those branded Z - were able to set their own prices, he said.

A Z station in Kumeu yesterday had prices at $1.629, while a Caltex in Waimauku was offering $1.639.

Global oil prices - already at low levels - slumped further in the past few days to below US$35 a barrel.

US inventories have continued to surge while global demand has remained subdued.

Meanwhile the kiwi dollar, which affects the price New Zealanders pay at the pump, has risen back above US67c.

AA petrol spokesman Mark Stockdale said Kiwis should make the most of the prices because they may not stay that low for long.

"Clearly there is some pretty heavy competition going on and it may not last. Lots of people are going to be travelling in the next week or so and if they need to fill their car up, now is the time to do it."

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Mr Stockdale said it was hard to say whether prices would fall any further. If people saw a price they thought was a bargain, they should fill up and make the most of it.

Customers should be prepared for some queues at petrol stations this weekend, he said.

"If you need to fill up, maybe head out earlier to avoid that."

Driven names Mazda SUV car of year

Driven's Car of the Year issue. Photo / Driven
Driven's Car of the Year issue. Photo / Driven

Driven

magazine has named the Mazda CX-3 as its car of 2015, picking it from the largest new vehicle segment in New Zealand: SUVs.

This year Kiwis have embraced SUVs - from compact crossovers up to large off-roaders - which claimed 34 per cent of the new vehicle market.

Driven's motoring editor Liz Dobson said there was tough competition for the top award with a number of car companies launching impressive SUVs this year, including Volvo making a comeback with the XC90, Audi's Q7 and Ford's all-new Everest.

But the compact crossover CX-3 covered a number of important aspects, said Dobson, not only affordability but a high level of safety features that were usually only found in expensive European SUVs.

"The Mazda CX-3 was picked by Driven's judges not only because of its styling and performance but because of such safety features as reversing cameras and parking sensors," said Dobson.

"In the top-model CX-3s there is blind spot monitoring, which alerts you in your side mirrors about undetected vehicles, plus rear traffic alert for when you're reversing from a parking space and a car is approaching from either side of your vehicle."

The CX-3 was priced from $31,195 for the front-wheel-drive petrol version but Mazda also covered the diesel and all-wheel-drive demands, which also impressed Driven's judges, said Dobson.

In today's Weekend Herald, Driven also names its top vehicles across several categories - from small cars to luxury sedans, large SUVs and commercial models - plus its pick of the best motorbike of the year.