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New Cars | 2017 Brand Reviews & Ratings - Canstar Blue

New Car Brands

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Compare cars in New Zealand with Canstar Blue.  Suzuki, BMW, Ford, Holden, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota were compared on value for money, point of sale service, after sale service, reliability, driving experience and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2017 award for cars

Most Satisfied Customers | Suzuki

Manufacturer of New Zealand’s most popular hot-hatch, the Swift, Suzuki, takes pole position.

Suzuki sweeps the board

Kiwis love their cars and other than a house, buying a brand new car is about the biggest purchase that we can make.  At the time this report was written (June 2017) there was in excess of 3,338,000 passenger vehicles on our roads with 42,800 of them being less than six months old, helping to give New Zealand one of the highest cars per capita ratings in the world.

So what is it we love about our cars and why is the trend of buying brand new steadily climbing?

It’s true that buying a brand new car, rather than used, is going to cost you a lot more, but there’s quite a bit to consider about what that extra cash is getting you.

When buying new it’s important to set your budget and identify what you absolutely need from your new car, and from there it’s a lot easier to narrow the field down to the vehicle that is going to be right for you.  New cars can offer advantages such as the latest technology, safety features, comfort, choice and availability.  You can walk into a dealer and tell them what you’re after, rather than looking at an auction site or car yard to see what they’ve got.  You also have the ability to negotiate, set financial terms and maybe even get a few additional extras thrown in.  Importantly, warranty cover and manufacturer’s guarantees can save you a few bucks if anything goes wrong in the first 12 months (although with a new car you’d hope it didn’t).

What people rate about their new car

Canstar Blue recently surveyed 878 people to find out how they rated their car buying experience.  New Zealand’s top selling brands, Toyota and Holden, both earned a respectable four stars for overall satisfaction, but it was Suzuki who left its rivals standing as it took five stars not only for overall satisfaction, but for every category we rated.  Here’s how they did:

Reliability.  One of the main reasons people buy new is that they don’t want to buy someone else’s problem. No one likes the sight of the dashboard lighting up with various shapes and symbols because unfortunately, that usually means it’s going to take a fair amount of money to make them go away.

Suzuki, Hyundai and Kia all rated five stars for reliability.  Mazda, Toyota, BMW, Holden and Nissan rated four stars, and Mitsubishi and Ford rated three stars.

Driving experience.  There’s nearly 100,000km of open road in New Zealand so you want to make sure that wherever you are going, your journey is a comfortable one.  Newer vehicles come with all the mod-cons such as built in sat nav, Bluetooth, and parking cameras as well as enhanced safety features that can minimise the chances of you getting hurt in the unfortunate event of an accident.

Suzuki was the only manufacturer to be rated five stars for driving experience.  The remainder of the field registered four stars with the exception of Mitsubishi and Ford who both registered three.

Value for money.  Earlier we talked about identifying what you want in your new car and this is where it comes into its own.  Whether you are paying for your new car outright or taking out finance, you want to know you’re getting bang for your buck.  Most dealers are open to negotiation when it comes to price or throwing in a few extras to sweeten the deal, but they only offer value if they are good for you.  No good getting a tow bar added if you have nothing to tow, or a top of the range sat nav system if you only drive local.  When it comes to deals, remember you are in the driving seat.

Once again Suzuki was awarded the sole five star accolade in this category with Mazda, Hyundai, Toyota, Kia and Holden receiving four stars.  BMW, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Ford all received three stars.

Point of sale service.  We can all talk about the colour of the paint work, comfort of the interior and advantages of those little extras, but when it comes to words such as cylinders, valves and balance shafts, most of us are lost.  This is where the knowledge and expertise of a great dealer comes in.  They should be able to answer your questions, convert technical jargon into easy-to-understand information and you should be able to walk away feeling satisfied and confident in the knowledge you know what you are buying.  

Suzuki, Hyundai and Kia came out top with five stars in this category.  Mazda, Toyota, BMW, Holden and Honda received four stars and Nissan, Mitsubishi and Ford each received three.

After sale service.  All of your excitement may be focused on your lovely shiny new car, but you still want a strong relationship with your dealer after you drive off the forecourt.  As you get to know your new vehicle you may have a few additional questions you want to ask, or one or two niggling little problems you would like fixed, all much easier to sort if you have a good after sales relationship with your dealer.  Check out what support is available before you sign any contracts.

Overall satisfaction winner Suzuki was rated a maximum five stars here too.  The rest of the fields achieved a four star rating apart from Nissan, Mitsubishi and Ford who were each given a three star rating.

A few additional extras to think about…..

In addition to the insights from our survey, here are a few more things to bear in mind before you buy a new vehicle:

  • Ongoing costs such as servicing (European and American models tend to be more expensive than Asian).
  • It’s a given that you should have it with a new car but get some quotes before you buy.
  • Finance – You’re not obliged to take out finance through your dealer so shop around, there might be a better deal for you with another lender.
  • Compare the same car at different dealers – prices or incentives may differ.
  • There is always a deal to be done!

Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 2,500 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results New Zealanders who have bought a brand new car from a dealership in the last three years– in this case, 878 New Zealanders.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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