From the Ed­i­tor

NZ Autocar - - Contents - KYLE CAS­SIDY

You blink and an­other year has whizzed past. Peter, my­self and our merry band of con­trib­u­tors had around 170 ve­hi­cles to drive and ride over the past 12 months, and as we have done for the past 22 years, we gath­ered the best of those to­gether for a fi­nal test to crown the over­all AMI In­sur­ance NZ Au­to­car Car of the Year. It was a big­gie this year, the Volvo tak­ing it out con­vinc­ingly. Read all about it start­ing on page 32, and also our Bike of the Year (page 94). As men­tioned ear­lier, we also an­nounced the win­ner of the in­au­gu­ral AMI In­sur­ance safety award (page 40).

It was a year where the SUV grew ever more pop­u­lar. You only have to look at the line-up of fi­nal­ists for ev­i­dence of that. We once won­dered why we both­ered to take SUVs along on Car of the Year (the orig­i­nal Out­lander springs to mind) but now it’s hard to ig­nore them with their pro­lif­er­a­tion through­out the mar­ket. They are prac­ti­cal, do-it-all sorts of ve­hi­cles and they’ve im­proved dy­nam­i­cally over the years, the best of them ca­pa­ble of lap­ping the ’Ring in un­der eight min­utes. Hard to be­lieve but true.

Speak­ing of eight, it was those ma­chines with an octet of cylin­ders that pro­vided some the high­lights for me this year. Those with a V8 proved to be the fastest, loud­est and scari­est ex­pe­ri­ences, and also in­duced the most grins per litres con­sumed. Par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive given how much V8s love a drink. There was the Porsche 918 Spy­der clock­ing 290km/h at Phillip Is­land, and the crazed KPM-en­hanced 450kW Club­Sport, as friendly as an axe mur­derer that one. The Hell­cat was, well, a hel­luva ride, and the good old Aussie bat­tlers from Holden, HSV and Ford put a lot of per­for­mance on the ta­ble for the dol­lars asked.

But in say­ing all that, two four­cylin­der ma­chines truly im­pressed this year. The MX-5 (the re­cently crowned Ja­panese Car of the Year) was a real gem, a car you can im­merse your­self in driv­ing all day down roads of in­ter­est. It’s in­volv­ing, al­most de­mand­ing yet never tax­ing. And it’s cheap in the scheme of things; the 1.5L version is the least ex­pen­sive MX-5 ever.

The other four-pot­ter to amaze was our Car of the Year, the XC90. It shows what can be achieved when you start afresh, ev­ery­thing rethought around the oc­cu­pant’s needs. It’s the sim­plic­ity of it all, the crafts­man­ship and those safety fea­tures that make it a truly de­serv­ing win­ner this year.

And to the team, thanks to all our con­trib­u­tors; Rob Scott for pro­vid­ing the hu­mour and many in­sight­ful fea­tures, Stu Ow­ers for those quirky rac­ing sto­ries and Shaun Sum­mer­field for his ef­forts track­side around New Zealand and glob­ally. Not for­get­ting the long-serv­ing ex-ed­i­tor Owen, al­ways good for a dose of con­tro­versy, and our com­rades from the Fair­fax Me­dia mo­tor­ing chan­nel, Rob Maet­zig and David Lin­klater. And also to the team of reg­u­lars, Tom for the great pho­tos, Peter for the golf tips (and handy med­i­cal ad­vice), Mike for making it all look so good, Trish for pick­ing up the er­rorrs, and Gavin for keep­ing us vi­able.

Thanks also to you guys out there who keep com­ing back for a dose of NZ Au­to­car each month; we couldn’t do it with­out you. Safe trav­els ev­ery­one, see you back again in 2016.

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