Three electric vehicles are among the 10 finalists for New Zealand’s most prestigious automotive award.

Candidates to secure this year’s New Zealand Car of the Year are, in alphabetical order:

  • Audi e-tron
  • Ford Focus
  • Holden Acadia
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Jaguar I-Pace
  • Mazda 3
  • Mercedes GLE
  • Peugeot 508
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Toyota RAV4

The e-tron, I-Pace and Model 3 all run purely on battery. The New Zealand Car of the Year is voted on by the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild – professional automotive journalists who test the vehicles in their home environments around the country.

DriveLife is one of very few motoring magazines in New Zealand that have more than one Guild member; Fred Alvrez is both a full member and Guild Secretary, Rob Clubley is a full member, and John Galvin is Friend of the Guild.

The expert commentators have previously acknowledged the growing importance on electric vehicles in New Zealand, having given the honour to the BMW i3 in 2015.

“Simply having three electric vehicles in the top 10 shows how far this technology has come, and how much New Zealand has embraced it,” New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild president Richard Edwards says.
“Even so, with seven other incredible vehicles in the top 10 they have a challenge ahead.”

The award’s winner will be decided by 21 voting members and announced live on TVNZ One’s Seven Sharp programme in December.

Now in its 31st year,  New Zealand Car of the Year is the country’s most prestigious motoring award, being a truly independent award without commercial ties. The present titleholder is the Subaru Forester.

Criteria span how the vehicle performs its intended role; its styling, interior design and accommodation; fit, finish and quality; ride and refinement; performance; road-holding and handling; value for money; active and passive safety and environmental responsibility.

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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