Compare New Cars in New Zealand at Canstar Blue. Kia, Mitsubishi, Audi, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda, BMW and Ford were compared on Overall Satisfaction, After Sale Service, Driving Experience, Point of Sale Service, Reliability and Value for Money.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Our review compares new cars on customer satisfaction, so you can find out what other Kiwis think about the compared brands before you go ahead with a purchase. Think of it as like asking hundreds of your closest mates which car brand they think is best!
Canstar Blue surveyed 890 Kiwis who had bought a new car from a dealership in the past three years for their feedback on their purchase.
Respondents rate their satisfaction with their new car brands from zero to ten, where zero is extremely dissatisfied and ten is extremely satisfied. Brand satisfaction was rated by respondents on the following criteria:
The winning brand is the one that receives the highest Overall Satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall Satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The brands rated in this survey are listed below in order of best overall satisfaction.
Find more information on our Most Satisfied Customer methodology.
The winner of Canstar’s 2023 Most Satisfied Customers Award | New Cars, Kia scores perfect ratings across every category. It’s a remarkable feat that sets Kia well out in front of every other car brand in our research. Indeed, Kia is the only new car brand to score a top 5-Star rating in any category.
Kia sells a wide variety of models, from the small Picanto (from $23,990) and Stonic (from $24,990) models, through to the large Carnival people mover (from $59,990) and Kia’s flagship EV6 (from $76,990) , a top-of-the-range luxury electric car.
However, most of Kia’s models are mid-range affordable SUVs that offer true value and come packed with the latest tech and safety features. These vehicles include:
Also popular are the Kia Cerato sedan (from $31,990) and the Rio (from $25,990), an affordable hatchback.
NB: All prices correct as of 08/02/23 + ORC.
Mitsubishi earns 4 Stars for Overall Satisfaction, a rating it repeats in every other category, except for After Sales Service, for which it earns a 3-Star rating.
Mitsubishi’s SUV range has grown over recent years to include the ASX, Eclipse Cross and Outlander, which all feature in the top 10 selling cars in NZ for 2022: Outlander (No.1), Eclipse Cross (No.5) and ASX (No.7).
While the Mirage, a compact city SUV, is the cheapest vehicle in Mitsubishi’s range, the ASX and Eclipse Cross both also deliver mid-range value for money.
The cheapest ASX model starts at under $30,000 and features 18 inch alloy wheels, active stability and traction control, a rear view camera, an 8-inch infotainment unit and keyless entry.
German luxury car manufacturer Audi scores consistent 4-Star ratings in all but one category in our award ratings. Despite the performance nature of many of its vehicles, it scores a 3-Star rating for Driving Experience.
Audi has a wide range of models for drivers to get excited about. The A range includes sleek sedans for the city, while Audi’s Q range offers spacious SUVs.
If something sporty is more your style, Audi’s RS line, including the R8 Coupé V10 performance quattro, has racing in its genes. Audi also offers a large choice of 12 different electric and hybrid vehicles.
Toyota receives glowing praise from its consumers. It earns 4 Stars for Overall Satisfaction, a rating it achieves in all but one category. For After Sale Service, Toyota scores a 3-Star rating.
Toyota has long been a favourite on Kiwi roads, thanks to established models such as the Corolla and Camry. Last year, its RAV4 model was No.2 on the list of top-selling cars, while the dependable Corolla placed at No.9.
More recently, Toyota has become best known for its dependable SUV and 4WD models. These include the mid-range Yaris Cross, C-HR, Corolla Cross and RAV4 models, as well as the high-end Land Cruiser, Highlander and Prado.
Many of Toyota’s models also come in hybrid form.
While Mazda earns strong 4-Star ratings, including for Overall Satisfaction, it’s clear that the new car brand is let down by its customer service. For both After Sale Service and Point of Sale Service, it earns 3-Star Ratings.
Mazda is well known for its Mazda2 (small hatch), Mazda3 (medium hatch/sedan), and Mazda6 (large sedan/wagon), plus its iconic CX range of SUVs, which starts with the small CX-3 and expands through the medium CX-5, to the large CX-8 and CX-9 models.
However, Mazda’s range also incorporates the Mazda EC MX-30 SUV, the company’s first EV/hybrid vehicle, two MX-5 roadsters and even a ute, the BT-50.
For fans of the CX range, Mazda is soon to launch its CX-60, a hybrid/plug-in hybrid.
Nissan earns a mix of 4- and 3-Star ratings. It earns its top ratings for Overall Satisfaction, in addition to Driving Experience and Point of Sale Service.
Nissan has some quirky cars in its range, including the Juke, a small SUV, and the Z sports car. And while the Nissan Leaf was an early electric car icon, it’s now largely overlook by Kiwi EV consumers, who have plenty of other options when it comes to cool electric vehicles.
Where Nissan’s strength lies is in its medium to large SUV options. These include, the Qashqai, X-Trail, Pathfinder, Patrol and X-Trail models.
Oh, and let’s not forget the Navara ute, available in single or twin cabs!
Although it doesn’t score one of the highest Overall Satisfaction ratings, it’s clear that Suzuki owners are more than content with their new car purchases. Across the board, Suzuki earns a consistent set of 4-Star ratings.
Over the past decade, Suzuki has won Canstar Blue’s New Car award four times, more than any other car brand, which is a testament to the customer satisfaction the Japanese car brand delivers to Kiwi consumers.
Its current range of vehicles is led by the ever-popular Swift. The fourth highest-selling car in NZ last year, the Swift is an affordable and zippy runaround that is available in three models, including a hybrid and Sport model.
Also perfect for the city is the super-compact Ignis SUV and the cool Jimny compact 4×4. While those looking for a more family friendly, spacious SUV have the Vitara and S-Cross models to choose from.
Although it is the majority owner of the Kia Corporation, Hyundai doesn’t manage to reach the same heights with its own set of consumer ratings. However, a near clean sweep of 4-Star scores is still impressive; the South Korean car company only earns one 3-Star rating, for After Sale Service.
Hyundai is a leader in electric cars, and has two EVs in the top-10 selling electric vehicles in NZ: the Kona EV and Ioniq 5. However, the Kona also comes in petrol, while the company’s medium SUV, the Sante Fe, also comes in hybrid form.
For hatchback lovers, Hyundai has two cars, the i20N and the i30, which comes in three models. While the Palisade offers a large, luxury SUV, with a price tag to match!
Honda is one of three brands in our ratings that is let down slightly by its customer service. For both After Sale Service and Point of Sale Service, it earns 3-Star Ratings. In every other rated category, it earns 4 Stars.
Honda sells a limited range of new cars: the small Jazz hatch, the medium HR-V SUV and larger CR-V SUV. And, of course, there’s the iconic Civic, which is also available as the sporty Type R. And if you’ve a big family, or just need more seats, Honda’s range also features the Odyssey.
Despite being a luxury European car marque, BMW is the only brand in our ratings that doesn’t manage to earn at least one 4-Star rating. In all categories, it is awarded 3-Stars by its customers.
A BMW used to be one of the three Bs all Kiwis aspiring for the high life wanted to own, along with a boat and a bach. However, in recent years, BMW has somewhat lost its crown of Teutonic auto excellence to Audi. However, BMW still sells a huge range of cars here in NZ, covering EV, hybrid, petrol and diesel models.
The main range spans the number 1 to 8, and covers mainly sedans and coupés. For NZ’s favourite type of car, the SUV, you need to look to BMW’s X Series. And if you want more speed and handling, BMW’s M range of sporty vehicles delivers power and performance … at a price.
Rounding out our New Car Award ratings is Ford. Despite being the manufacturer of NZ’s favourite ute, the top-selling Ford Ranger, it earns our lowest Overall Satisfaction Rating, but does earn one 4-Star rating, for Point of Sale Service.
Ford might make the top-selling ute in the country, but Ford cars are a rarer sight on our roads. The Focus is the company’s only dependable family hatch, and is available in three models.
The rest of the cars in Ford’s range are all SUVs: the small Puma, mid-size Escape (available in hybrid/plug-in hybrid) and Mach-E EV, plus the medium Everest 4WD.
Not all brands in the market qualify for our ratings (based on minimum survey sample size), but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. Here are more brands to check out before buying a new car:
The Mercedes-Benz range covers sedans: the C- and S-Class and the electric EQE and EQS; SUVS: 12 models, including the electric EQ vehicles and the G-Class models; C- and E-Class coupés, three cabriolets/roadsters and two people movers.
Needless to say, none are priced to appeal to the budget conscious.
The reborn MG marque is a hit in NZ. The petrol MG ZS was the sixth most popular new car in 2022, and the electric version, the MG ZS EV, was even more popular: No.4 on the top-selling list.
MG’s range covers just three types of car: the MG3, the MGZS (three models, including the EV) and the MGHS (available as plug-in hybrid). All MG cars are very competitively priced and represent great value for money, especially the EVs.
Skodas used to be rare sights on NZ roads, but that’s all changed, in part due to the Czech automobile manufacturer, which is part of the Volkswagen group, replacing Holden as the NZ police’s major car supplier.
Its hatch models include the Fabia and Scala, while its wagons include the Octavia and Superb. It has two smaller SUVs: the Kamiq and Karoq, plus the large Kodiaq.
Subaru is famous for its all-wheel-drive vehicles – including the iconic sporty Impreza and WRX models – plus its SUVs: the compact XV, the mid-size Forester, and larger Outback.
While the Forester and XV are already available as hybrids, later this year Subaru is launching its first EV, the Solterra.
Tesla only sells four models: the S, 3, X and Y. But despite lingering supply chain issues, two of its vehicles made the top 10 of all new car sales: the Model 3 in 10th place and the new SUV Tesla Model Y in third, behind the RAV4 and Outlander.
They were the only electric cars, or hybrids, to feature in the NZ new car top 10 in 2022, which shows that Tesla is succeeding in its push to ensure EVs are the future of driving.
Volkswagen sells a huge range of cars and trucks here in NZ. While its Golf and Polo models are iconic small city cars, its SUV range covers the luxury Touareg, compact T‑Roc and the popular Tiguan and bigger Tiguan Allspace.
It also sells a range of people movers, a California campervan, the Passat wagon, and is launching a new range of EVs, the ID4 and ID5, to stand alongside its existing plug-in hybrids, which cover the Touareg, Golf, Tiguan and Passat models.
There are many things to consider when purchasing a new car, but our research highlights a few key considerations.
In our general consumer research, nearly half of respondents (42%) say that a car’s basic functionality is a main concern. And this is reflected in what our consumers say are the two biggest drivers of their satisfaction with their choice of car: how it drives and its reliability.
Of course, nowadays, the driving experience delivered by a car covers things like smart safety features, Bluetooth and phone connectivity, as much as the actual driving experience of accelerating, braking and steering.
And for the consumers in our survey, these factors are much more important than just Value for Money:
Listed above are the top-rated cars, as ranked by Kiwi consumers, in Canstar Blue’s 2023 Award. But here are the top-selling cars, electric cars and utes for 2022. Numbers sold shown in brackets.
|2022’s Top Selling Cars|
|1 Mitsubishi Outlander (9104)|
|2 Toyota RAV4 (5863)|
|3 Tesla Model Y (4226)|
|4 Suzuki Swift (3932)|
|5 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (3657)|
|6 MG ZS (3377)|
|7 Mitsubishi ASX (3372)|
|8 Kia Sportage (3111)|
|9 Toyota Corolla (2790)|
|10 Tesla Model 3 (2781)|
|2022’s Top Selling Electric Cars|
|1 Tesla Model Y (4226)|
|2 Tesla Model 3 (2781)|
|3 BYD Atto 3 (1685)|
|4 MG ZS EV (1106)|
|5 Polestar 2 (818)|
|6 Hyundai Kona EV (814)|
|7 Kia EV6 (683)|
|8 Hyundai Ioniq 5 (483)|
|9 Peugeot 208 (358)|
|10 Kia Niro (332)|
NB: This list includes total electric vehicles (BEV) only, petrol-electric hybrids (PHEV) are not included.
|2022’s Top Selling Utes|
|1 Ford Ranger (11577)|
|2 Toyota Hilux (9787)|
|3 Mitsubishi Triton (6136)|
|4 Nissan Navara (1989)|
|5 Isuzu D-Max (1862)|
This report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce began his career writing about pop culture, and spent a decade in sports journalism. More recently, he’s applied his editing and writing skills to the world of finance and property. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.
Car’s safety rating impacts choice of car: 52%
Warranty and after-sales service impacts choice of car: 50%
Fuel economy impacts choice of car: 48%
Know costs of running their car: 45%
Functionality is main consideration in choice of car: 42%
Colour and styling important factors in choice of car: 41%
Bought car with cash: 36%
Cost and availability of parts important factors in choice of car: 36%
Used finance to purchase new car: 30%
Next car purchase will be an electric/hybrid car: 27%
Phone connectivity big consideration in choice of car: 27%
Believes car you drive makes statement: 22%
Car’s speed and performance are main concerns: 21%
Price only put-off when considering buying an electric/hybrid car: 20%
Are a single-car household: 17%
Regards car as status symbol: 11%
Bought an electric/hybrid due to clean car discount: 6%
Average number of cars in household
Plan to reduce number of cars in household
Most important car features
|Speed & performance||9%|
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Where do you get information when buying a new car
Canstar Blue surveyed 5108 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from respondents who had bought a brand new car from a dealership in the last three years. In this case, 890 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 by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criterion.
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