The countdown to a major New Zealand car of the year award is under way.
The AMI Insurance NZ Autocar Car of the Year will be named at an awards dinner in Auckland on December 11 and although there are slightly fewer new-car introductions this year, there are still plenty to compare.
In terms of sector popularity, smaller cars and utes/SUVs/crossovers continue to rule in New Zealand.
There was a bit more activity than usual in the medium/large-car category this year, and thankfully, there were plenty of performance cars to keep us excited.
These awards have been running for over 15 years and last year's supreme winner was the grunty Ford Ranger ute, while previous winners include the VW Polo, BMW 120d, Ford Mondeo, Land Rover Freelander and the VW Passat.
The supreme winner will be chosen from a final list of six, with the winner of each being chosen from these categories - small, compact, medium/large, crossovers/SUV/utes, luxury and performance/roadsters categories.
Section winners will be named on December 11 ahead of the supreme winner's naming.
Judges will decide these section winners over the next few weeks before taking the six finalists for a two-day shakedown/judging cruise around the upper North Island.
Long-time judge Peter Louisson said the six finalists would be scored by the respective judges "with a weighted score sheet so we can reasonably compare one category with another".
"Top points scorer wins, though most judges will not be aware of the winner until gong night."
* 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