Toyota's new 86 sports car has been judged New Zealand's Car of the Year by the country's leading motoring writers and commentators.
The first car to receive the country's ultimate motoring accolade under a new arrangement, which has seen the Automobile Association join forces with the New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild to make the award, the 86 has also become the first Toyota to take the title since the 1991 Corona.
David Linklater, president of the New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild, says ''the Toyota 86 is a fantastic, affordable, rear-wheel drive, spacious sports coupe. It provides a high level of performance and safety, and starting at $41,986 it is very good value for money''.
It was one of 10 finalists for the Car of the Year award, which is open to new car models launched in New Zealand during the 12 months prior to September 30, 2012. The others, in alphabetical order, were the BMW 3-series, Ford Ranger, Honda Civic Euro, Hyundai i40, Mazda BT-50, Mazda CX-5, Range Rover Evoque, Subaru Impreza/XV and Toyota Prius C.
In recognition of the win, Toyota New Zealand will be awarded the Peter Greenslade Trophy, named after the now deceased motoring editor of The Press newspaper in Christchurch, who was one of the instigators of the Car of the Year award.
A number of the finalists beaten to the top prize picked up class honours (see accompanying table).
These were awarded in conjunction with the overall title this year, and were open to all new models on sale, not just those launched in the past 12 months.
Along with class winners, a special safety award was made. This went to the latest BMW 3-series, which achieved the highest overall score in the ANCAP new car crash assessment during 2012.
NZ Car of the Year 2012
Overall winner: Toyota 86
Small car: Suzuki Swift
Compact car: Ford Focus
Medium car: BMW 3-series
Large car: Skoda Superb
Luxury car: BMW 5-series
Small/medium SUV: Mazda CX5
Large SUV: BMW X5
Sports/performance: Toyota 86
Utility: Ford Ranger
Safety award: BMW 3-series
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