It’s AA DRIVEN Car Guide New Zealand Car of the Year time again! We’ll be awarding wins in 11 different categories, acknowledging the overwhelming preference for all things SUV but also with a focus on eco-cars and technology.
There are Small SUV, Medium SUV, Large SUV, Passenger, LCV, Clean Car HEV/PHEV/BEV, Sports and Performance, Luxury and Safety categories, not to mention the outright AA DRIVEN Car Guide NZ COTY – which will of course be one of the top three cars chosen from those categories.
We continue the programme this week by announcing the finalists in the LCV (that's utes and vans) category.
Top three LCVs of 2023
Light commercials are workhorses in origin, but here in NZ it’s a really broad segment, because utes are so popular as dual-purpose or lifestyle family vehicles.
It should not surprise to see the Ford Ranger among the finalists; it was of course not just the top LCV of 2022, but also the overall winner of the AA DRIVEN Car Guide NZ COTY last year.
Ranger continues to be a benchmark ute, bringing much of the comfort and technology of SUVs and passenger vehicles into the LCV class – while still providing fleet customers with excellent load-carrying and 4x4 ability.
We’ve been very happy to reacquaint ourselves with Ranger this year: everything from the limited-edition Wildtrack X just launched to the outrageous Raptor, which came along too late to be included last year; it brings even more colour to Ranger for 2023.
How can the Volkswagen Amarok compete with the likes of Ranger? Easy: it’s made from Ranger underneath, with VW developing its own truck from the Ford’s platform and powertrains.
We love the way the German brand has made this ute its own: very little that you can see or touch is carried over from the Ford, and VW insisted on its own state of tune for the suspension, giving Amarok a unique dynamic character.
VW also has its own distinct model lineup, with work and lifestyle versions topped by the off-road-oriented PanAmericana and more luxurious road-focused Aventura – both dressed to kill and highly desirable.
But it can’t be all about 4x4 driving and trays. We’ve also been charmed by the Peugeot Partner van this year, which combines impressive loadspace and versatility with a brace of efficient powertrains that fit beautifully with small businesses wanting an urban delivery vehicle with genuine eco-credentials.
There’s a petrol model that features Peugeot’s energetic 1.2-litre three cylinder engine, but the company also offers a pure-electric version for the ultimate in green LCV motoring.
After you have shared your opinion on light commercial vehicles why not vote in our AA DRIVEN Car Guide NZ Car of the Year Peoples Choice award to go into the draw to win $5000 of fuel/charge credit below.