Feature article

Family-friendly Honda wins top NZ Car of the Year award

These are the top-rated cars recently announced in the 2023 NZ Autocar Car of the Year awards.

4 March 2024

In case you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, we’ve got you covered with the top-rated cars recently announced in the 2023 NZ Autocar Car of the Year awards

If you own a Honda CR-V, be proud. The Family Car of the Year for 2023 was the new Honda CR-V and it also won overall Car of the Year. The SUV was described by NZ Autocar as, ‘a highly competent vehicle, doing most things in an accomplished fashion.’ It made us laugh, the car was also said to have ‘few annoying traits,’ because that’s important, isn’t it?

No, but seriously, NZ Autocar judges the 2023 CR-V as the complete package –it’s good value, a decent drive and dependable, they say. And you have a choice of three models in the range including a seven seater option, handy for shuttling the water polo team around.

And it works for both city types and for rural drivers.

Ready for some tech details? The CR-V has all the conveniences needed for everyday life, it’s got an efficient conventional ICE powertrain and there’s a hybrid model for buyers who are hot on keeping their car’s emissions down.There are lots of driver-assistance features which will help keep you and your family safe and connectivity is all sorted, keeping things simple for you busy types. And there’s a level playing field for all buyers which is nice. Honda has a price promise which means everyone pays the same and there’s a big warranty thrown in for peace of mind.

And if the Honda CR-V doesn’t light your fire, here’s a list of the other category winners to choose from and their best features, according to NZ Autocar.

Other NZ Autocar Car of the Year Class winners

Luxury - Lexus RX

The RX is the best all-round Lexus. The all-hybrid line-up blends power and efficiency for refined, easy progress. It’s impressively styled while the cabin has lashings of quality. It’s practical, highly specified, and there’s a big Lexus after sales care package.

Most Electrifying - BYD Seal

The Seal is a polished combination of comfortable, quick and well specified. The styling is slick, and the cabin is high quality. To drive, the Seal is refined, a model of smoothness, which adds to the quality feel of the car. The Performance version is rapid too, impressing with its effortless progress.

Ute - Volkswagen Amarok

The new Amarok is a capable work truck, yet it’s as refined as an SUV to drive. The engines are well-mannered and always deliver more than enough torque for the job. It does fine work both on- and off-road, and is more versatile than ever. Inside, it’s rather flash for a ute and there’s a heap of safety gear onboard.

Eco Car of the Year - Hyundai Kona Hybrid

The hybrid is the pick of the new Hyundai Kona range. This hybrid works just as well out of town as it does in the city, helping lower your emissions profile. Kona is a quiet, refined ride and there are plenty of safety items included. The new, bigger model is now more practical too.

Best value - MG4

The MG4 has become one of New Zealand’s best selling electric cars thanks to its value proposition. It’s good to drive, is well specified, has a five-star crash rating and there’s a generous seven-year warranty.

Bang for Buck - MG4 Xpower

This AWD electric car offers supercar-baiting performance for a fraction of the cost. It has a grin-inducing amount of thrust, yet it’s quite refined considering the performance and price. The MG4 Xpower is stupid quick and it’s good value, especially when it comes to running costs.

Most Dynamic - Cupra Born

This is an electric car that delights on the handling front. The set-up conspires to be an enthralling drive; it almost comes across as mid-engined in terms of its balance. It’s also a handy compact offering that’s great for the city.

Urban Car Of The Year (CoTY) - BYD Dolphin

Dolphin impresses with its thoroughly decent quality, a high-level fit out and a comfortable character. It’s practical too. There’s BYD’s Blade battery tech, road noise is minimal and the motor is muted. Plenty of safety items on offer too.

Most desirable - Audi Q4 e-tron

Chances are, a lot will like the look of this new Audi, and it’s a spacious, easy-to-drive electric vehicle, with all the conveniences and enough luxury to justify the price. Those looking for a premium EV should consider the Audi Q4 e-tron.

Performance - Porsche 911 GT3 RS

The 911 GT3 RS is the epitome of performance, everything about it honed to achieve the absolute maximum from the package. This is a hardcore machine but it’s also a dream drive. It’s expensive but RS models tend to hold their value well.

Bike of The Year (BoTY) - Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650

This retro-original cruiser is a peach, it’s keenly priced and is learner-legal. The engine delivers decent low rev action, the vibes are well-controlled and the bike’s easy on gas. Handling is confidence-inspiring and the Super Meteor 650 covers all the bases well.

FYI on the NZ Autocar COTY awards.

To be eligible for the awards, vehicles need to be new models introduced in the past 12 months and reviewed by NZ Autocar in full. They are judged on overall value, specification and level of after sales service. Dynamics are important, as is performance but these must be balanced with the impact on local air quality. Safety is vital, as is practicality - the car has to be user friendly.


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.