The crew at DRIVEN assessments a whole bunch of automobiles in a typical 12 months. However 2021 was removed from typical, with 107 days of Covid-19-induced lockdown for Auckland which means our day-to-day driving was severely restricted. Nonetheless, we managed to evaluation 117 automobiles this 12 months and judging by the readership of these tales, there was an enormous urge for food amongst our viewers for information of latest steel and tales of the open highway.
Every year we like to tell and entertain ourselves by figuring out the highest 10 most-read opinions; it is a fantastic snapshot of what actually resonates with you on the market. So with out additional ado, right here we go (and click on on the headlines if you wish to learn the total tales).
HYUNDAI IONIQ 5
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 was DRIVEN’s most learn evaluation of 2021 – much more spectacular when you think about that it was revealed proper on the finish of the 12 months.
The title is acquainted, however the Ioniq 5 is among the new breed of Battery Electrical Automobiles (BEVs) that pushes us into the long run with ever-increasing velocity.
There’s huge curiosity in all issues BEV in New Zealand because of the Authorities’s Clear Automotive Low cost (a number of Ioniq 5 fashions are available beneath the $80k cap), however we’re unsure this new Hyundai wanted the good thing about that to seize individuals’s curiosity.
It is a gorgeous, high-tech machine in and out.
To view all electrical Hyundais listed on DRIVEN, click on right here
In reality, we judged it totally on the $100k-plus variants once we awarded it our Luxurious Automotive of the Yr for 2021. The Ioniq 5 additionally made it into the highest three for the general prize within the AA DRIVEN NZ Automotive of the Yr.
TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 300
There was a lot pleasure over the all-new Land Cruiser 300 (alternative for the legendary 200-series) when a single preview automobile arrived in NZ for media drives. The large information for this large 4×4 was the demise of the beloved V8 turbo diesel, however as a replacement comes a 3.3-litre V6 that gives much more grunt.
To view all Toyota Land Cruisers listed on DRIVEN, click on right here
Not accessible on the time was the a lot talked-about GR Sport model, and whereas we would like to say we have examined it since, we’ve not had the prospect because of extreme provide shortages of the brand new mannequin all-round. However we’ll do it in 2022, we promise!
FORD RANGER RAPTOR
Kiwi patrons merely cannot get sufficient of the Ford Ranger and this is the proof. Our evaluation of the adventure-focused Raptor wasn’t even revealed in 2021: it was really the most well-liked evaluation of 2020, however stored on rolling by means of 2021 to make it into the highest three for this 12 months.
Curiosity has been excessive in all issues Ranger for a lot of causes. The looming Clear Automotive “feebate” scheme put the main target firmly on standard diesel one-tonners and whereas many ute-makers had been hampered by provide shortages this 12 months, Ford NZ managed to maintain Rangers rolling out of Thailand and onto NZ-bound ships, pushing it to new gross sales highs.
To view all Ford Ranger fashions listed on DRIVEN, click on right here
Ranger will probably be large information once more in 2022, with an all-new mannequin on the way in which.
SUZUKI JIMNY SAFARI
The Jimny is a kind of SUVs that defies logic. It is unashamedly old-school, places off-road capability approach above on-road consolation and dealing with and shuns a lot fashionable know-how. It is also completely lovely any approach you take a look at it.
So it makes little sense in a 2021 context, however for the explanations above it will get a free go from each critics and the shopping for public. All of us find it irresistible.
To view all Suzuki Jimny fashions listed on DRIVEN, click on right here
Any excuse to drive one is okay, however on this case it was the Safari limited-edition mannequin, which introduced a tasty array of additional package for a $3k premium over the usual mannequin. Guide solely, not a contact display in sight.
TOYOTA HILUX DOUBLE CAB
One other top-performing ute story from final 12 months that is carried by means of to 2021. Twenty twenty was a giant 12 months for Hilux, with a brand new mannequin that strengthened the core values of the mannequin and glued loads of the niggles. Lastly a worthy Ranger rival.
To view all Toyota Hilux fashions listed on DRIVEN, click on right here
Our story gathered collectively drive impressions of each double-cab mannequin examined and we argued that the very backside (workhorse SR) or very prime (kitted-up however nice worth SR5 Cruiser) had been the locations to search for your new Hilux.
TOYOTA GR YARIS
No shock to see our AA DRIVEN NZ Automotive of the Yr general winner on the listing. The GR Yaris was really one of many first automobiles we examined this 12 months again in January, however we stayed hooked on Toyota’s small surprise proper by means of the 12 months.
It is a hero mannequin for Gazoo Racing’s road-car enterprise, but it surely’s additionally a novel sizzling hatch, a technical powerhouse, good worth for cash and endlessly entertaining on any highway… at any velocity.
VOLKSWAGEN GRAND CALIFORNIA 600
Our second large story on the Volkswagen Grand California 600 got here alongside at simply the fitting time, as lockdown restrictions began to carry for Auckland and other people had been dreaming of hitting the highway for summer season.
To view all Volkswagen Grand California fashions listed on DRIVEN, click on right here
However the large Cali stays a superb machine irrespective of how far you are going, or in what context. Based mostly on VW’s full-size Crafter van, it is a full manufacturing unit effort that turns this mild industrial right into a self-contained luxurious residence on wheels.
Yet one more Toyota, proving simply how excessive public curiosity is in NZ’s primary model. Previously a enterprise/rental stalwart, the new-gen Highlander faucets into fashionable tastes completely by placing the emphasis firmly on hybrid energy all through the vary (though you may nonetheless have the standard petrol-only V6 if you’d like).
To view all Toyota Highlander fashions listed on DRIVEN, click on right here
One other Toyota with a giant ready listing, the Highlander serves up critical household seven-seat area with top of the range and memorable frugality.
MAZDA MX-30 TAKAMI
The MX-30 is a landmark automobile for Mazda: its first mass-market BEV, though the pure-electric Takami mannequin has since been joined by a light hybrid mannequin.
We had been deeply impressed by the MX-30’s individualistic type, sense of high quality and the emphasis on driving dynamics: when it comes to energy supply, steering, trip and dealing with it is one of the vital polished mainstream BEVs available on the market.
Sure, individuals just do hold coming again to ute tales. This was the ultimate report of a Triton long-term check that we began again in 2019; we lived with a GLX-R mannequin and lined every thing from the city commute to seashore life and towing.
To view all Mitsubishi Triton fashions listed on DRIVEN, click on right here
The decision? In contrast on capability and worth in opposition to the competitors, Triton makes a compelling case for itself.