Toyota's latest sportscar, the 86, has been named Car of the Year by the New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild.
The 86 topped voting across 10 finalists assessed by the guild, a partner for the first time with the Automobile Association in the awards this year.
The 86 also picked up the sports/performance award.
Toyota New Zealand chief executive Alistair Davis was delighted to accept the prestigious Peter Greenslade trophy, which marks the contribution of the late, highly respected New Zealand motoring writer.
Davis said the 86 was created to bring the fun back to driving, which evidently resonated with the panel of 36 guild journalists who drove the vehicle before casting their votes.
"Toyota's aim is to produce cars that meet the needs of our customers, and the continued success of the 86 reflects an appetite in the New Zealand market for a sports car designed to stimulate all five senses," he said.
"The vehicle is now a significant part of Toyota's sports car heritage, thanks to the dedication of those who joined forces to design and produce it."
Guild president David Linklater described the 86 as 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."
A series of best in class awards were also announced, selected by guild members from the range of new vehicles currently on sale in New Zealand.
Winner of the small car class was the Suzuki Swift, while the compact car title went to the Ford Focus.
The medium car class was won by the BMW 3 Series, and the Skoda Superb won the large car class. The luxury car class was won by the BMW 5 Series.
The small/medium SUV Class was won by the Mazda CX5 which was earlier named the AMI Insurance NZ Autocar car of the year, and the BMW X5 won the large SUV class.
The Toyota 86 took out the sports/performance class, and the utility class was won by the Ford Ranger.
The safest car class was won by the BMW 3 Series, which scored the highest overall score in the ANCAP new car crash assessment in 2012.
- Taranaki Daily News