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Mercedes-Benz A-Class: AA Driven NZ Car of the Year winner detailed

The all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback has been awarded the most prestigious motoring award, AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year.

Announced at a motor industry event in Auckland on Wednesday, the A-Class took out the inaugural award after a panel of judges tested the top 10 vehicles over two days at Pukekohe

The top 10 were: Holden Commodore, Hyundai’s i30N, Kona and Santa Fe, Kia Stinger GT, Mazda CX-8, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Subaru Forester, Suzuki Swift Sport, and Volvo XC40.

Driven’s editor at large, Liz Dobson, was chief judge and said the Mercedes won as “this hatchback is truly ‘A Class’ ahead of the rest”.

“It’s easy to see why it has won AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year 2018. It has a price tag, sci fi technology and a fuel-efficient engine that will impress. Winning the most prestigious award in this country is sure to lure new buyers to the brand,” she said.

Mercedes-Benz New Zealand executive general manager Ben Giffin said: “We are honoured to be presented with this important and prestigious award. This accolade confirms that the new A-Class is not only the technology leader in its segment, but possibly across the entire automotive market.”

The AA was focused on safety, and the A-Class had shown its true strength in the real world safety tests by achieving the highest recorded Vulnerable Road User Protection rating from the Australasian vehicle safety testing organisation, ANCAP.

“This vehicle represents the future of our brand, and demonstrates everything learnt in our companies 132 years of innovation,” he said.

For AA motoring services general manager, Stella Stocks, the awards mark the culmination of a comprehensive voting process.

“The criteria for what we believe will form the country’s most comprehensive awards means that the vehicle must have been launched into the New Zealand market between October 1 last year and September 30 this year and be available for sale to the public.

“Each of the top 10 finalists vying for Car of the Year was put through its paces in a comprehensive trial both on the road and at the Pukekohe Park Raceway with all judges scoring from the driver’s seat. The results speak for themselves, giving buyers the definitive answers they’ve come to expect from the AA,” said Stocks.

The Hyundai Kona EV took out the Best in Class EV honours, with a choice that’s being heralded as the family friendly electric SUV with real-world battery performance. “From the start, Hyundai realised it was onto something very special when it launched the EV version of the Kona compact SUV, and it is proven right with this win,” Dobson said.

The Safest Car for 2018 is likely to be a popular choice for Kiwi motorists, with the Toyota Corolla taking top spot.

“It’s not just the car buyers who benefit from the safety elements in a vehicle, all of us have a stake every time a new car starts rolling on the road. The Safest Car Award is calculated with data from the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP). I’d like to congratulate Toyota for this recognition,” said Stocks.

More than 53,000 Kiwis voted in the People’s Choice Award, making it the biggest public motoring vote, with the Suzuki Swift Sport a clear favourite for its cutting edge technology, turbo performance and design.

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