The MG4 compact hatchback has claimed the 2023 New Zealand Car of the Year title, the fifth EV in a row to claim the prestigious independent award.

The first all-electric range to be launched in New Zealand by MG, the MG4 is the first of a raft of new-generation products heading our way from the now Chinese-owned brand with an English heirloom name.

When it first launched here the MG4 line-up comprised four two-wheel-drive variants, with a key differentiator being different-sized battery packs ranging from 51 to 77kWh, along with a progressively more powerful electric motor matched to the larger batteries. The MG4 line has since been augmented by a dual-motor, four-wheel-drive performance flagship, the 320kW/600Nm MG4 XPower.

The New Zealand Car of the Year is selected by members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild, the professional body for motoring media from around the country.

“Even before the extraordinarily powerful flagship version arrived, the MG4 was making waves here, not only amongst the buying public but also amongst the country’s professional motoring journalists,” says the Guild’s President, Robert Barry.

“As far as the MG brand is concerned, this model has ushered in a new era of fully contemporary design, on the company’s first all-electric vehicle platform, and with leading-edge battery technology that gives 77kW battery version in particular an outstanding real-world range.

“We have all admired the design, technology, and practicality of the MG4, but how it drives has also impressed the motoring writers. Part of its dynamic charm comes from the mainstream variants being rear rather than front-drive; this combines with the low centre of gravity and excellent weight distribution achieved by the positioning of its battery to give a crisp handling balance,” he says

Arek Zywot, MG New Zealand Country Manager, says the company is beyond thrilled that New Zealand Motoring Writers Guild members have deemed the MG4 worthy of Car of the Year success.

“We’re deeply honoured to receive this award for the MG4, which I consider to be a great recognition of our hard work and dedication to creating the best product on the market. It is a groundbreaking new model for the MG marque and is indicative of the future direction of attainable, electrified motoring. It has proven itself on the world stage as an international multi-award-winning model and it is now receiving similar accolades here in New Zealand.

“I challenge anyone who thinks electric vehicles are boring to take a drive in the MG4, I know it can change opinions and certainly made a positive impression on Guild members across the country,” he said.

The prestigious award, now in its 36th year, was announced live on Seven Sharp by presenters Hilary Barry and Jeremy Wells.

DriveLife went to the launch of the MG4 in Sydney, and recently reviewed the MG4 Essence.

Candidates for this year’s award, in alphabetical order, were:

  • BMW i7
  • Cupra Born
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Hyundai Ioniq 6
  • Lexus RZ
  • Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan
  • MG4
  • Nissan X-Trail
  • Peugeot 308
  • Skoda Enyaq

The Guild’s voting members tested the vehicles in their home environments across the country – important for providing a ‘real world’ result. They assessed the finalists on a specified range of criteria spanning 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.

The list of previous Car of the Year winners can be found here.

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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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