We would like to say thanks to Dave Moore for not only giving up half an hour every Wednesday morning to talk with Mark Sainsbury, but also his online contribution. His blogs have proved very popular - as will today's one. Dave looks at his cars of the year for 2016.
CARTALK - Overall Car of the Year and Large SUV of the Year - Mazda CX-9
Brilliantly executed from top-to-tail, the new Turbo SkyActiv four cylinder CX-9 out grunts its previous much bigger V6, is easier on the planet and its occupants, and asks less money for the privilege.
So much better than anything else in its segment, while being able to replace some other unrelated segment leaders to boot for the same or less money, the CX-9 is a remarkable achievement. This winning seven-seater comes from a company that this time last year won our 2015 award with the two-seater MX-5. Impressive stuff.CARTALK - Green Initiative of the Year - Plug-in Used Prius
By refettling Plug-in Prius IIIs at the Thames Signature Class operation, Toyota has done what the Government couldn't do, and that's making EVs an affordable alternative - from $35,000.CARTALK - City Car of the Year - Holden Barina Spark
With a new platform, more modern styling and a powertrain with CVT that really gives the model some real Spark at last, Holden has surprised with its first new car of 2016 - Great value from $16,000.CARTALK - Small Car of the Year - Renault Zoe
Judged purely on driving and living with a car, the segment has nothing better than this wee sweetheart, which proves that EVs can be stylish and fun, what a pity we have no incentive schemes to help us afford them.CARTALK - Compact Car of the Year - Honda Civic
Dynamically and mechanically brilliant, the Civic has grown into a real beauty. As well as a sporting 1.5-Turbo, the sedan starts with a 1.8-atmo engine with a compelling starting point of $29,990.CARTALK - Large Car of the Year - Skoda Superb
As the Falcon and Commodore die, the Superb, in three-box and wagon forms has better interior space, dynamics, equipment and safety, six engine choices, 4x4 option and a smaller price tag. A no-brainer.CARTALK - Hybrid Car of the Year - BMW 225xe
BMW's first transverse FWD gains electric RWD, takes five big passengers and their gear, and provides performance akin to a Golf GTi with just-over 2.1L/100km fuel economy. Plug-in is cheaper than any EV too.CARTALK - Executive Car of the Year - Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Expand the brilliant C-class by about 15 per cent and you have the new E-Class, which sets new standards in terms of quality, kit, performance and refinement, not to mention sheer joy of ownership - from $99k.CARTALK - Luxury Car of the Year - Volvo XC90
In replacing the best in the segment (its own predecessor) the all-new XC90 is the first crossover from anyone to beat the usually indefatigable Range Rover at its own game. Cheaper too with the industry's best stereo.CARTALK - Compact SUV of the Year - Kia Sportage
Starting at under $30k the new Sportage is the prettiest, best-made and most affordable car in its segment. Owners of the cheapest won't feel short-changed, either. Very clever, safe and well-sorted car.CARTALK - Mid-sized SUV of the Year - Volkswagen Tiguan
With, chiselled styling and 150kg lighter over all with the MQB platform, the VW starts at the same price as the old car while offering more gear, better performance and a chassis worthy of a hot-hatch.CARTALK - Performance Car of the Year - Ford Focus RS
Using the Mustang's hot 330 horsepower Ecoboost engine driving all four wheels, the Focus RS is probably the quickest stock, point-to-point street car on the planet. The Mustang ran it AWFULLY close!CARTALK - Sports Car of the Year - Porsche 718 Boxster
With its new family of turbo fours replacing the larger previous flat-sixes, the 718 is a joyously biddable car that's also quicker. Nothing comes close to the 718 which can break the hearts of 911-owners.CARTALK - Convertible of the Year - Holden Cascada
The GM Opel built Cascada four-seater is based on the Astra platform and offers arguably one of the most exciting affordable cars on the market, with real room for four, a mid $40ks sticker, a power roof and what a looker!CARTALK - Light Commercial of the Year - Renault Kangoo EV
Proving that deliveries can be fun too, the Kangoo EV can make calls at every DIY store in Christchurchand and still have 2/3 charge left over. Fewer compromises than you'd expect and easy to use too.CARTALK - Failure of the Year - A tie between the governments Road Safety and Emissions policies
Our road toll's running at more than 36% up on 2013's, and there's no incentive at all to go for clean or electric vehicles. What exactly have Mr Key’s various transport ministers been doing during his three terms? We can’t blame it all on poor Mr Bridges, though flying around the world to ‘research’ driverless cars and EVs look good on the surface.