Spoilt for choice in crossover/SUV/utes

Last updated 07:07 23/10/2012
The VW Amarok.

BEAUT UTE: The VW Amarok .

Mazda's new CX-5
ROBERT CHARLES Zoom
Mazda's new CX-5
Honda's new CRV.
Fairfax NZ Zoom
Honda CRV: New model has a much chunkier and more solid appearance than the previous rather effete design.
The BMW XS M50d at Owaka Golf Club.
ROB MAETZIG/Fairfax NZ Zoom
The BMW XS M50d at Owaka Golf Club.

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Autocar Car Of The Year

VW Golf completes NZ awards double Countdown to our car of the year Mazda CX-5 wins top NZ car award New Zealand Car of the Year time Plenty of compact car class action Spoilt for choice in crossover/SUV/utes Luxury segment lookers More action in medium/large car range Performance car performers Small car hopefuls

Another extremely busy year for this sector.

The bold new Colorado from Holden debuted, as did Mazda's BT-50, which was introduced just after our cut-off date last year.

For physical size, if not quite engine displacement, the Colorado is almost as big as the mighty Ranger which won the overall 2011 AMI NZ Autocar Car of the Year title.

Speaking of cee-cees, Nissan came out and trumped them all for torque and cylinder count with a wide-boy Navara V6 turbodiesel.

And then VW trumped the Navara's seven-speed auto with its eight stage unit in the Amarok.

Mazda released its first full SkyActiv offering, the CX-5 crossover, with both petrol and dieselpower, while Honda countered with a new CR-V. Both ranges include a front-drive derivative starting the right side of $40k.

It's ditto for the facelifted Koleos, which has its 2WD variant priced at $37,990. For the same money, Peugeot kicked off its ASX-based 4008 range with a front-drive variant.

Yet another new 2.0-litre entrant, Subaru's second-generation XV, is better looking this time round, and of course, sports none of that front-wheel-drive only nonsense.

VW also launched a new Tiguan TSI variant, with turbo petrol power and a two tonne tow capacity, priced under $50k.

There was plenty of heavy metal in the luxury/executive off-roader sense as well, the most glam being Rangie's Evoque. Being the lightest, it's the best-driving Range Rover yet.

Not quite as evocative perhaps was the compact Q3, launched by Audi and available as a lone 2.0-litre diesel model, costing $9k less than an Evoque.

And on the value front, Volvo introduced a front-drive XC60 that undercuts similar-sized European metal for price but is still a well-rounded offering.

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There was plenty of higher-end action, too.

Jeep delivered a much improved Grand Cherokee SRT8; Mercedes a new ML, kicking off with the impressive 2.1-litre turbodiesel; and BMW introduced a new tri-turbodiesel X5, which virtually eliminates lag and helps propel it to 100 kmh in just 5.5 seconds.

* Autocar and Stuff motoring readers also have a chance to choose their best vehicle and win a $500 Z card at the same time. Simply Click here to enter and you could win enough fuel to keep you motoring through summer.

- NZ Autocar

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